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Liam O'Donnell

writing for young minds

Found on the wilderness trail

August 16th, 2006 at 3:20 pm

As you know, I’ve spent the last month or doing research for my wilderness survival graphic novel. This research has included getting soaked in Algonquin Park, learning to make a fire from a pop can and lots of other fun stuff. Along the way, I’ve discovered some great resources like the Equipped To Survive website.

Equipped is packed with useful survival tips, articles and a must-listen to podcast about being prepared. And according to their recent newsletter, they’ll have their own TV cable network. ETS-TV apparently launches this fall, in conjunction with the Discovery Channel. They’ve got a bunch of shows ready to go and it looks like it’ll be a great channel. It’s the shows they have in development that are little worrying.

One show, Wings Become Adventure, takes reality TV to yet another extreme and makes Survivor seem like a school yard kids game. Contestants are dropped in the middle of the wilderness at the scene of a plane crash set up by the show’s producers and they’ve got to survive for a set period of time. Simple, right? But here’s where it gets scary. I’ll let the newsletter explain it all:

“Participants will be helicoptered into the site for their week long stay. Injuries will be simulated by binding arms, hands and legs according to a drawing made on site so that the survivors are appropriately handicapped, though they will also have to option to receive a $25,000 bonus and have the actual limbs or appendages broken for greater realism. It is expected that about half of the participants will take advantage of this option. Cirrus participants will not be required to have any such handicaps, unles they really want the $25,000.”

Could you imagine having your arm broken on purpose?! That alone is it’s own reality TV show! I’ve broken a few bones in my body, including my arm very seriously, and although I’d never want to go through that pain again – $25, 000 would soften the blow a bit. But ouch!

It reminds me of that scene in that great soccer/WW II escape movie Victory, where they break the guy’s arm so he can see the doctor. Seeing that as a kid freaked me out and everytime I broke something from skateboarding, I always thought of that scene.

As painful as Wings Becomes Adventure sounds, I think I’d watch just to see the survival skills in action and only if the contestants got a bonus for getting everyone out alive and in one piece. None of this tribal council stuff where someone is whisked away because they were too annoying or didn’t play nice with the others.

I wonder how much a contestant would get if they agreed to be mauled by a bear?

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