Everyone knows Bear Grylls is a wild man. He’s the urine-drinking, live-snake-eating, dead-camel-sleeping nutcase that you see on TV. Bear Grylls is the real, live version of how tough you feel when you take out the trash without shoes on. On Running Wild he drags celebrities along in his adventures. He made Julianne Hough drink poop water and Courtney Cox climb cliffs off the coast of Ireland. Nothing is more impressive than his journey with the big man himself, Shaquille O’Neal. I wouldn’t want you to miss a second of it, so here are the highlights.
The show opens with Shaq riding on a train. Shaq outlines his to-do list for his adventure with Grylls. He wants to “wrap snakes around his neck” (he doesn’t) and use a “rocket launch thingy” (he does!) After much bravado, a helicopter hovers over the train and they pick Shaq up from the train. (If your wondering, the helicopter seemed to handle the transfer of a 350+ pound man’s weight quite well.) Bear and Shaq jump from the helicopter into a lake. Grylls warns them about leeches and they are on their way. To the producers dismay the leeches miss their cue and no bloodsuckers are found on the two.
It is at this moment that the writer’s of Running Wild really flex their muscles. Grylls looks straight into the camera and spits pure poetry:
“Shaq might be used to the Timberwolves and the Grizzlies on the court, but out here it’s a different ballgame.”
Put it on the Emmy reel.
As they begin their trek through the Adirondack Mountains, Shaq shows off his favorite hiking accessories–his oven gloves. For some reason, Shaq doesn’t know that he can buy large outdoor gloves on Amazon Prime. He prefers ordinary oven gloves when climbing. He notes that he has only completed “couch training” for his jaunt through the woods. (I’m assuming a lot of Gold bond was also used in his training.) Needless to say, the oven gloves don’t last long and the self-proclaimed “Black Bear Grylls” is on his way.
Throughout the whole ordeal, Shaq is extremely winded. He is usually doing one of two things, sucking wind or falling over trees. What is lacking from this episode is the guest appearances of exotic animals. Julianne Hough got to see elephants and cheetahs on her safari. Poor Shaq only gets the sad remains of an animal’s afterbirth. Grylls proudly displays the slimy, translucent placenta. Grylls casually cuts off a chunk of the potentially planted placenta and they move along.
Finally, the boys settle in for the night. Bear decides that sleeping in a pile of leaves would be the best for them. He swears by the foliages’ warmth and their waterproofiness. I’d tell Bear to make like a tree and leave if he suggested that to me, but Shaq, ever the people person, loves his leaf-bed. Shaq puts his acting career to use when he Kazaams out of the leaf pile in the morning. It’s delightful and I wish I woke up like a large genie everyday.
In the end, Shaq conquers his fear of heights. He uses what looks like dental floss to repel down the side of small cliff. Like Pat Riley and Phil Jackson before him, Bear Grylls teaches O’Neal that “There is always a point of fear, but you can do it.” Sure, that tiny cliff should seem small to such a big man, but in the end, it not how big the challenge is, it is that you overcome the challenge and that you sleep in a pile of leaves.