Since the beginning, I’ve detailed the happenings on Running Wild with Bear Grylls, a fascinating scientific study disguised as a reality show in which NBC sends celebrities into the wilderness with Bear Grylls, a nature-cyborg designed by the US government, programmed with a love for rappelling down mountains and trying to murder celebrities via the wilderness. It’s fantastic. It’s better than The Wire and Breaking Bad combined, because those shows are alright but not once during either of their runs did Kate Hudson light a fire with a tampon.
But last night’s Running Wild was a special occasion, as the president of these United States himself, Barack Obama, joined Bear Grylls in the Alaskan wilderness. And it was…suuuper disappointing? No, not really. It all depends on your expectations. This wasn’t really Running Wild with Bear Grylls, it was more Strolling at a Brisk Pace with Bear Grylls. POTUS did not rappel down any cliff faces. Not one! The whole thing was really a PSA on climate change anyway, and I’m not sure I should have expected differently. You can’t throw the president out of a helicopter. Pretty sure that’s in the Constitution. And if anything dangerous did occur, roughly 1400 Secret Service agents surrounding the film sight would have swooped in, guns drawn, anyway. Of course, the bullets would have just bounced off Bear’s titanium outer shell, and his defense mechanism would have engaged. For our sake, thank God it didn’t come to that.
Anywho, here are the most pivotal moments of Bear Grylls and President Barack Obama’s leisurely jaunt through the Alaskan wilderness.
- There was this strange theme throughout the first half-hour of the episode where everyone kept harping on the fact the president doesn’t get out enough, and that eating fish-carcasses with Bear Grylls is better than sitting around in the Oval Office. It was funny once, and then got really sad as time went on.
- In a usual episode of Running Wild, Bear usually meets his guest alone out in the wilderness by riding a meteor into Earth’s atmosphere, or something very similar. Unfortunately President Obama must be escorted everywhere by Secret Service, so he just sort of shows up at the place Bear agrees to meet. On the flip-side, Bear compromises by having a helicopter drop him off, I assume, hundreds of miles from where Obama is and running the rest of the way. From there, the show quickly becomes The Revenant.
- Speaking of The Revenant, do you remember that weird controversy where people said Leonardo DiCaprio’s character gets raped by a bear? He doesn’t, by the way, but the movie does feature a prolonged, brutal scene where Leo is attacked by a bear. Why is this relevant? Well, it was really funny to be comparing Bear Grylls to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, thinking of that awful bear attack scene, right as Barack Obama says this:
- Like I said, not much actually happens here, most likely due to the White House’s strict policy against feeding the President literal animal poop. But Bear and Barack do have a number of interesting conversations, including one about the time the Queen of England was severely unimpressed with Bear Grylls. I have to assume she would have been 100% more receptive had Bear just dropped his pants, because Bear Grylls only owns one pair of underwear.
- The only real sense of danger throughout the whole episode comes when Bear and Obama come across some bear fur (or Bear fur, it’s honestly not clear). The president asks Bear the best way to defend against bear attacks, and Bear gives him the same answer he pretty much gives in every single crisis situation. Like, “Hey Bear, how should I act if I stub my toe real hard?”
- While hiking, Bear asks Obama “you know catkin?” Now, thanks to Google I now know catkin is “a spike of unisexual, apetalous flowers.” But in the wilderness, I find it hard to believe any person and/or thin on this Earth other than Bear Grylls knows that catkin is. I’m still not even sure what apetalous means. I would’ve personally campaigned for a third term for Obama if he had been like “Oh yeah, fucking catkin? Love that stuff.”
- I’m only going to get into the climate change stuff once, but it comes up a lot this episode. There are many shots of melting glaciers. It’s all very depressing. Personally, I think this VERY SAD PICTURE of a polar bear holding its cub on a small piece of ice is more effective than this entire hour of TV, but what do I know? So, yeah. Buy a Prius. Really, I was slightly distracted by Bear doing his absolute best to focus on the important topics.
- For better or for worse, the highlight of the entire episode was Barack Obama, president of the United States, doing his best impression of your dad and not knowing how to take a selfie properly.
- While educating Obama on the water running off the melting glaciers, Bear Grylls lives out my life-long dream of saying the word “diarrhea” then making a penis shrinkage joke in a span of a minute to a US president.
- I don’t know how many “Top 10 Lists” you’ve read so far, but you can basically forget every single one of them. Because the President of the United States referencing an internet meme from like 2009 is 2015’s finest TV moment. “I suppose, in extremis, it’s something I would do if the alternative was death,” Obama says, of drinking his own urine.
- At the conclusion, Barack Obama and Bear Grylls come together for a prayer, and then the president gets back on his massive helicopter. Bear, realizing he did not have it inside his cold, metallic nature-cyborg body to attempt to make the president try and scale even one rock face, wanders back into the wilderness. It’s basically identical to the part in the Iron Giant when the robot chooses not to be a weapon anymore. I doubt there will ever be a Running Wild with Bear Grylls season three, nor do I think we’ll ever see Bear Grylls again. He’s free now.