Why Bear Grylls and his show “World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji” is not the vibe

Rachel Husband, Edible Arrangement

Like many a first year at Whitman, I find myself having to “ask complex questions” of the world around me because of the newly redesigned First Year Seminar. Most of the time, its trivial questions like “how does a clock work?” or “what even is physics and why are we talking about it at the same time as jazz?” 

Unfortunately, once you start asking these deep and immensely thoughtful questions, you really can’t ever stop thinking critically. So now, when I just wanna watch the “World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji” I cannot help but question the vibes it puts off.

Illustration by Lily Buller.

“World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji” is, as the title describes, the hardest race in the world, complete with grueling sections of mountaineering, sailing, biking, swimming, diving and other extreme challenges. 66 teams race over 11 days and 10 episodes to complete the course, but honestly the whole show becomes irrelevant because of the distractingly questionable performance of Mr. Grylls. 

Bear Grylls, the well-known television adventurer, spends most of the race flying around in a helicopter narrating portions of the show and meeting with teams to conduct interviews. At various points he is shown climbing up a rock cliff that the racers will eventually have to climb, too, or floating down a river on another part of the course. 

Did he climb up that entire wet, soggy cliff for a few seconds of footage? Is his performance even real? Probably not. The film crew likely had him scramble over a bit of rock and called it a day. While these scenes with Grylls comprise relatively little of the series, they taint the whole thing. If you’re going to have your TV star climb up a cliff to show how cool he is, he better have climbed up the whole damn thing. This does not pass the vibe check at all. 

I honestly may have really liked the show, but the First Year Seminar totally ruined it for me. Here’s my advice to students: Either pass on watching the “World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji” or drop out of college before they teach you how to think critically.