Ed Helms is a funny guy. If you weren’t sure, Bear Grylls calls him “funny guy Ed Helms” like four times in the first two minutes of this week’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls. It was strange. So yeah, nothing against Ed Helms. He seems like a nice enough dude, but aside from that this was a pretty paint-by-the-numbers episode of Running Wild. Guest is uncomfortable with heights? Take them 9000 feet into the Rocky Mountains, naturally. Comfort zones were left, boundaries were overcome, a comedian and a woodsman forged a brotherhood in that squirrel v. man battle-arena we call the wilderness. Roll credits.
No, I think the thing to talk about here is the behind the scenes people who go into the wild with Bear and guest of the week. You ever think about them? Because if you weren’t aware, 9000 feet of elevation is really high off the ground. We get to see Bear Grylls or Ed Helms remarking that “this cliff face sure is steep and would surely kill you dead.” We do not get to see them turning to Joey Cameraguy and saying “please Joey, lean out over the cliff-face with your 300 pound camera now.”
This one goes out to you, Joey Cameraguy.
Here are the most pivotal moments of Bear Grylls and Ed Helms’ descent down Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
- I know last week my one complaint was that the show mentioned Kate Winslet was an actor so many times. Well, this episode did drop the usual “famous person’s career compared to the wild” line, which gets a pass because it was amazing. “He’s made a career out of making millions of people laugh, through TV and film,” Bear says. “But mother nature doesn’t have a sense of humor.” Oh my god, that’s great. Is it even true? Have you seen the tarsier? That thing is hilarious! Either way, Bear punctuates this fantastic statement by immediately sprinting towards a helicopter. It’s all really summed up by this picture.
- Before Ed Helms meets Bear, he inspects his camping equipment. He finds the warning “some aspects of climbing and mountaineering are hazardous. Risk of death. Do not remove this label.” Now, by some aspects they surely mean all aspects, unless they’re counting, like, looking at a picture of a mountain. Oh, and what happens if you actually do remove that label? You wake up six hours later to see this.
- As I mentioned, Ed Helms is afraid of heights. As one would imagine, 9000 foot tall mountains get him jittery something fierce. “I would say this is probably the worst place you can be if you’re scared of heights,” Bear says, referring to their general surroundings. Worried that statement is much too vague, he then straps Ed Helms to the bottom of a moving helicopter, which in every sense of the phrase is literally the worst place you can be if you’re scared of heights.
- The one thing that was interesting about this episode was that the helicopter took Bear and Ed to the top of a mountain, so all they really had to do was go down. This involves a ton of rappelling. Rappelling down mountains, funny enough, is Bear Grylls’ main source of happiness. I would bet large sums of money that he keeps pictures of himself rappelling in his wallet at all times. Unfortunately for Ed, “having zero rappelling experience” is an actual box you much check off to be on Running Wild.
- Ed Helms eventually gets over his fear / complete lack of any sort of training and gets down the first cliff-face. Bear, king of all subtly, compares this achievement to World War 1. “Some of the early stories from the First World War, from those that survived it, they said that the men that were crying beforehand were actually the men who were bravest,” he says. “Because they’re facing their fears.”
- Once down the mountain-side, the two problems become food and shelter. On the shelter front, Ed and Bear managed to construct a little home that actually looks like it would be pretty comfortable. It’s just unfortunate that it looks like what would happen if the Blair Witch was the interior decorator for Carcosa.
- On the food front, well, okay, if you’re not cool with Bear Grylls running though the forest holding a spear that he made himself before barging into a squirrel’s home and jamming that spear violently through its body, most likely in front of its squirrel wife and children, well…well then I’m not going to tell you how Ed and Bear got their food.
- I pride myself on the fact that I’ve made it through ten entire Running Wild recaps without making one “better drink my own piss” joke. Not one. You know what isn’t doing me any favors in that department? Bear getting a cut on his hand and deciding the best option is to just piss on it.
- The final obstacle Bear and Ed come across is another descent, this time using the sketchiest piece of hemp rope in the world to keep them from plummeting hundreds of feet to the ground. “This is classic Mountain Troop training,” Bear says, as I immediately delete my application for Mountain Troop training.
“Take your time,” Bear advises as Ed starts his downward slide, “because you definitely don’t want to fall off this.”
- Ed Helms successfully slides down that hemp rope right out of his comfort zone. It’s a beautiful moment. For his effort, and for the facing of his fears, Ed Helms is instantly rewarded with a ride on what appears to be an off-road go-kart with Bear Grylls, a reward I can safely say would motivate me to do pretty much anything you asked me to do.
Next week on Running Wild with Bear Grylls, we have the star of many, many Fast & Furious movies Michelle Rodriguez. I assume she came to the attention of Bear Grylls after his nightly Google-ing of the word machete.