Let me start out this week's column by saying PHEW. You see, I usually tape Man vs. Wild on my buddy's DVR, and spend my Friday nights studying in the library like most college students. Unfortunately, sometime early Saturday morning, my buddy's housemate erased the hard drive of the DVR in a drunken stupor, because he's a douchebag. Needless to say I cried for several hours afterwards, because I felt like I let you guys down.

But then some guy named "soiryx" on YouTube had the decency to post the episode on YouTube at like 4:00 Sunday morning, instead of erasing it from the DVR like an asshole. Hence the phew. Soiryx, wherever you are, thank you.

On to this week's episode! The show opens with a sweet parachute jump onto the Patagonian ice field. Supposedly it's the third largest area of continental ice in the world, behind only Antarctica and Greenland. (Speaking of which, Bear definitely needs to do an episode at the South Pole during the Winter Solstice. It's the last frontier.) The pilot of the chopper tells Bear that he's the first to ever parachute into the ice field, which delights Bear to no end. Although technically, the camera guy lands before him, so Bear is the second to ever parachute into the ice field. Whatever we'll just let Bear have his glory.

Bear describes the ice field as "Antarctica and the Himalayas rolled into one." So this place is about as unforgiving as my ex-girlfriend. Less than five minutes into the episode and we see an avalanche in the distance. This has the potential to be one of the coolest episodes in a while.

UH OH. Bear stumbles upon a crevasse field, and regales us with his personal near-death experience on Everest with one. He likens the hike across this section of ice to "tap-dancing in a mine field." For one of the first times (on camera), Bear receives help from the camera crew, tying himself to them as they cautiously traverse the icy death trap. Thank goodness, too, because Bear just fell into one up to his waist. I don't know what I'd do if Bear died. No offense to Steve Irwin, but it would probably be more tragic and badass. Wait I guess I just demeaned Steve Irwin to make my point. My bad.

Bear tells us that after Everest, he vowed never to go into a crevasse again. I'm pretty sure he did while on the glacier in part one of the Patagonia episode, but whatever. He climbs down using his rope, proclaims himself "completely screwed," then climbs back up using some fancy rope trick. Done.

We find out that the Uruguayan rugby team plane crashed somewhere near where Bear is. For those of you that don't know, they had to eat each other to survive. Bear says "and in conditions like this, you can see that really, that was their only chance of staying alive." The camera crew backs the hell away from Bear after he says this, and the next shot is from like 100 feet away.

A blizzard just kicked up, so Bear decides to build a snow cave like the one he built in the European Alps episode. We discover that Jesse Grylls, Bear's adorably kickass toddler, calls snow caves "dens." The Grylls family camping trips must be the most hardcore things imaginable. I'm picturing Bear rappelling down a cliff face with a baby in his arm while he yells at his wife to find better kindling. Then roasting beetles and snakes over their Coleman stove for dinner.

The snow den ends up about the size of a typical dorm room, complete with a slab of packed snow for Bear's bed. Pretty sweet. He wakes up in the middle of the night to pee, but naturally does it into his water bottle. Ewwww British people are gross.

The next day Bear goes trekking along a giant ridge of snow, and tells us that it's prime avalanche territory. So naturally, he climbs to the top of the ridge and tries to purposely set one off. He plants a miniature camera in the avalanche's path, and sets off a small one. He says that after being buried for half an hour, your chance of surviving the avalanche is just 30%. It takes him 45 minutes to find the camera. Then again, the camera wasn't calling for help, so I guess Bear gets a mulligan in the rescue department.

A blizzard picks up again, so Bear literally sprints down the mountain to get out of the winds. He's having a blast. Bear's still atop a small ridge and says he needs to get down to the alpine forest for his next mission. We find out that he's been carrying a freaking paraglider in his backpack this entire time. He literally takes a running start and flies himself to his next mission. DAMN that was awesome. Easily the coolest thing Bear's done since, I dunno, setting off an avalanche.

After a rough landing, we find Bear in a dense, thorny beech forest. After fighting through the underbrush for a while, he comes across a clearing. Unfortunately, the clearing is a giant peat bog. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Bear digs up a woolly mammoth from the bog and makes a shelter out of it. Actually, that would be the greatest moment in television history. But instead he just walks through the bog to another forest, where he scavenges for food. That brings us to this week's Man vs. Wild Quiz!

What will Bear have for dinner?
A) Beetle larvae
B) Worms
C) Weeds from a pond
D) All of the above

The answer, as you might expect, is D. Bear builds a fire using Old Man's Beard again. From what I heard, Bear referred to the beard as "barabarbababadario," which I guess is the indigenous name for it. Time for a commercial break.

The show returns and Bear found a stream! It was bound to happen at some point. He follows it for a bit, then the small brook takes a plunge over a 150 foot cliff. Bear decides to rappel down it, which takes him about 45 seconds. Nature really is Bear's playground.

After reaching safe ground, Bear sees a woodpecker's nest in a tree and climbs it in hope of eggs. Upon finding an empty nest, he resorts to eating some random fungus. Seems like a fair trade-off.

We get back from another commercial break and Bear informs us of his next challenge: building a raft and crossing a gigantic, freezing-cold lake. For those of you who jump at the opportunity to say that the camera crew helped build the raft: f*ck you, it doesn't matter. Besides, if they did help to build it they're terrible craftsmen, because the raft barely floats and Bear is soaking wet stranded about 200 feet from the shore because they didn't let him build it himself. He makes the difficult decision to abandon ship, and swims back to shore.

Unfortunately Bear doesn't do naked push-ups to warm back up, instead electing to lay fully-clothed next to the fire. Sorry ladies.


And that's the end of this week's episode.


Anyway, I've noticed that almost every week the comments section deteriorates into an argument over who is more of a badass: Bear Grylls or Les Stroud. I figure it's about time for me to weigh in, so here goes.

Bear is a bonafide badass. He eats live animals, rappels down waterfalls, and gives off an aura of immortality. Not to mention he's totally dreamy. Bear has a camera crew, and the absence of equipment weighing him down allows him to perform much more awesome feats of manliness.

Les Stroud is more practical and down-to-earth. He doesn't go over the top in his quest to get rescued, instead taking things one day at a time and playing his (gay) harmonica to keep his spirits high. He's a big-time naturalist, and tries to leave nature the way he found it, which means not grabbing a tree snake and biting it in half, or bludgeoning a trout to death with a piece of driftwood, or killing a rabbit by breaking its neck with his bare hands. This makes him decidedly less badass in the food department, in my opinion.

Bear receives help from his camera crew when they are afraid he might die, which is often. For example, they forced him to wear a lifejacket when floating down Amazonian rapids clutching a giant log, despite Bear's whining and pleading to do it without a vest.

Les never receives help from his camera crew, because he carries all of his equipment himself. However, he completely neutralizes this advantage over Bear by constantly whining about how heavy it is, and pitying himself. Bear never pities himself, he pities nature for being so inferior to him.

I'm slightly biased and admit to watching Man vs. Wild more often than Survivorman, but in terms of badassery, Bear wins hands-down. In terms of having a show that teaches the layperson how to survive in the middle of nowhere, Les wins, hands-down. But Man vs. Wild is a much more entertaining show, and Bear is a much more entertaining host. That's my two cents.

According to my sources, next week is a special entitled "Bear Eats." In that spirit, here's a picture of Bear biting through the spine of a live salmon, killing it instantly.



PS: Les Stroud is a pussy