Over on the Discovery Channel, English boy adventurer Bear Grylls backflipped off a chopper into the ultramarine waters of the Pacific, swam two miles to a desert island, scaled a cliff, descended through the root system of a banyan tree, and finally found a hospitable little cove, where he subsisted for a few days on coconuts and tiny fish (MAN VS. WILD, Friday at 9 pm). A juicy turtle passed within harpoon range, but Bear courteously forwent a feast on account of the turtle’s position on the endangered-species list. Both Bear and Criss, as they go about their respective tasks, make a selection of animalistic grunts and coughs. Shinning down the coconut tree seemed particularly hard on Bear, who grimaced against the chafing bole and warned the viewer against it “as a bloke.”
Then he built himself a raft of bamboo rods lashed together with hibiscus bark and put to sea, where a pair of dead-eyed tiger sharks cruised bleakly around him for a spell. Educational stuff: did you know that waves come in sets of seven, with the bigger ones at the end? The lesbian surfers on CURL GIRLS (Logo, Monday at 10 pm) probably do. These gals ride the stallions of the sea, flirt and collide, and then wander the beach having torrid break-ups. It’s good clean fun, the sort of show in which every character is on a muscular private crusade of fulfillment: “I’m very competitive, a total bad-ass . . . ”; “I live a very creative urban life . . . .” Reality TV seems to be self-selecting in this regard, encouraging and rewarding every tendency toward blowhard individualism. Just once, wouldn’t it be nice to hear someone say, “Me? Oh, I’m useless. No idea at all. If I walk out of the door wearing matching socks, that’s a dynamite day for me.”
Now then: who caught Cormac McCarthy on OPRAH last week? I missed it, I’m afraid. Did the old buzzard simper and curl beneath the Oprah onslaught? Or did he talk like one of his books, in endless stony sentences that make the reader yearn for a comma the way a dying cowboy yearns for a waterhole? If there weren’t at least a couple of moments of skull-like severity, I’ll be disappointed. I may be reached through the usual channels (notably jparkeratphx.com).
Next week: knuckle-based unscripted drama with Oxygen’s FIGHT GIRLS. Stay tuned.
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