Does a Bear go in the woods? Ewww!

By Kevin McDonough

United Feature Syndicate

Bear Grylls hosts "Man vs. Wild" (8 p.m., Discovery). The cable network describes him as a "quintessential adventurer." He’s a veteran of the British Special Forces who has climbed Mt. Everest.

On "Man vs. Wild," he survives some of the world’s most unforgiving terrain with little more than a canteen of water and the clothes on his back. Along the way, he shows viewers what to do in extreme climates and locales; what situations and critters to avoid; how to build a fire, climb out of a narrow crevice, find water and steal eggs from unsuspecting birds.

Tonight’s debut episode takes place in Utah’s Moab Desert. Bear is helicopter-dropped onto the top of a desert Mesa, just like the car in those old Chevy commercials. He then has to clamber his way down without breaking his legs or worse — getting stuck on a point where he cannot go back up or climb down.


Bear does descend in one piece, and he manages to find shelter, food, fire and water in the space of an informative hour. But 110 F heat is nothing to sniff at. As Bear explains, it can give you heat stroke in a matter of hours and kill you after a rather bad day. On the plus side, he can fry an egg on a flat rock. That beats eating them raw, like Rocky Balboa. It would be a drag to survive the desert inferno only to succumb to salmonella. Or Apollo Creed.

At one point, Bear offers a Special Forces trick that you may not want to try at home. He urinates on his T-shirt and then wraps it around his head, promising us that the evaporating liquid will help him stay cool. I have not seen every "Fear Factor," but I'm confident that this method of "air conditioning" could be a prime time first.

There was something about Bear's damp shirt that shocked me out of my TV-induced stupor. After my brain’s transmission slipped back into first gear, I reminded myself that Bear wasn’t alone at all. Nor was his life in danger. A camera and presumably a whole crew had been monitoring his adventure while creating the illusion of desperation and isolation. Given their presence and the availability of, say, a bottle of mineral water, my mind raced back to the wet-shirt trick and I wondered, "Was that really necessary?"

Cult choice

A Kansas girl (Judy Garland) rides a twister into a Technicolor dreamland in the 1939 musical fable "The Wizard of Oz" (7 p.m., TBS).

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