Man, Woman, Wild
is a show about Mykel and Ruth Hawke, a husband and wife who put themselves in survival situations in the vein of shows like Dual Survival
and Man vs. Wild
. Mykel is a former Green Beret and his wife Ruth is a British actress and field journalist who goes with him to learn various survival skills. While Myke is obviously more experienced than Ruth in terms of active survival, Ruth has surprising amounts of knowledge as well. Unfortunate Implications
about the competent-man/inexperienced-woman aside, many admit that Ruth is the easiest to identify with and a refreshing change from the usual "survival show" star. Man, Woman, Wild
is at the end of its first season and had garnered a reasonable amount of fans.
This show provides examples of:
- Apologetic Attacker/Thank Your Prey: Myke apologizes to animals he or Ruth have caught before he kills them for food, and thanks them for sustaining them afterwards.
- Audience Surrogate: Ruth. Gender aside, she's an average person with average physical skills. She clearly has a harder time of things than Myke, and sometimes finds it difficult to keep her morale up in the face of physical hardship, dehydration, and lack of food.
- Badass: Mykel, obviously.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted on the health side. Ruth is a textbook example of what happens when normal people get stuck in the desert without adequate water (near-fatal heatstroke after a few hours) or swim through a freezing river three times (she threw up once due to the constant extremes in temperature).
- But damned if Ruth doesn't look good sweaty and dirty, particularly her cleava-*gets neck snapped by a hiding Myke*
- Character Development: Ruth is on the show to learn survival skills, and she learns well. Even in the beginning, she has quite a bit of general knowledge due to her time as a TV field journalist and living with a Borneo tribe while making a documentary. She's also beginning to take a more active role in the show as opposed to "stay at camp and don't do anything too dangerous."
- By the Bermuda Triangle episode, Ruth is calmly taking care of her weak, heat-exhausted husband after three days out at sea. To the point of giving him a hydrating enema because there wasn't enough clean water to drink. Myke may be the survival expert, but Ruth can pull both their weights when she needs to.
- Cool Clear Water: Averted and inverted. When they boiled water in Tasmania, it went from clear to murky brown. And Ruth said it smelled awful regardless of how it looked. When dropped on a volcanic island, Myke celebrated finding smelly, filthy-looking, sulfurous hot-water pools... because the sulfur, heat, and underground source mean the water is most likely safe to drink.
Mykel: It is safe. It is wet. It is wonderful. But man does it taste like poo!
- Double Entendre: The show is hosted by Ruth Hawke and her husband, Myke. A lot of the time she hugs or touches Myke. For the sake of humanity I will refrain from any jokes about Ruth hugging Myke Hawke. Considering Mykel was born Mykel Pierce, this means neither of them can be unaware of this.
- Follow the Leader: Clearly modeled after Man vs. Wild.
- Happily Married: For some people, this is the best aspect of the show. It's certainly the most unique one in light of the genre.
- The Heart: Ruth, both for Myke and the audience. If the show was just about Myke, people would be panning it as another Man Vs. Wild knockoff—more than they already are, that is.
- Hidden Depths: Ruth gets a lot of flack for acting like a normal person rather than a calm, experienced ex-soldier, but she's the one who came up with the show's idea and she gets better about managing her emotions as the show goes on. And whenever she can, she reads up on the local flora and fauna.
- Minored in Things That Most Actresses Have No Clue Exist: Even considering that Myke is American, how did Ruth get so familiar with American wildlife that she can identify water moccasins swimming in a murky swamp — while she's dangling seven feet up in a tree?
- Considering she has traveled a lot, it shouldn't be that surprising.
- The production's insurance rates would probably shut them down if they didn't give her a crash course on the potential dangers of the areas where they're shooting.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: An example of Nature itself delivering one, in an episode taking place in Alaska (during the spring thaw), where absolutely EVERYTHING goes wrong for Myke and Ruth (they can't find any sources of food besides tree bark, their fire goes out, their shelter, made of snow, begins to MELT, etc.). At the end of the episode, after several days without food, Myke wakes a sleeping Ruth and declares "I'm tapping out, we're done", at which point their camera and support crew kicks into full gear to get the pair fed, warmed, and airlifted out. To their credit (see Fan Dumb above), they stuck it out so long trying to play the show's premise straight that their crew sounds genuinely worried as they radio for help, and the episode closes with voiceovers from Myke, saying "Alaska whupped us", and from Ruth, who affirms "had this been a real survival situation, we'd be dead".
- Real Men Eat Meat: Averted. Myke forages as much as possible because hunting takes up a lot of energy.
- In addition to being generally less dangerous. In Mykel's own words: "plants don't fight back."
- Recycled In Space: It's Dual Survival BUT ONE OF THEM'S A WOMAN!
- Scotland: One episode takes place in the Highlands, with some Scenery Porn, when the weather allows it to be visible.
- Super Dickery: In the Tasmania episode; Mykel narrates that they are simulating a worst case scenario, as he and his wife are paddling on an inflated raft.
Mykel: Most survival situations start with some sort of traumatic event. Our scenario is; We just went out for a day paddle and the current forced us far up the coastline, when all of a sudden, unexpected like, (extremely cheerful looking, holding a kukri)we got a puncture in our raft. (Jams the kukri to the hilt into the raft. It instantly loses buoyancy and cut to a shot of Ruth losing her balance and falling into the water.)
- The Stoic: Myke, although he shows shades of Deadpan Snarker and is very affectionate with Ruth. In a twist, some people consider him a bit too level and calm—compared to Bear Grylls and Les Stroud, he's just another survival expert making a show.
- Took a Level in Badass: Myke says that Ruth is significantly more capable in the wild at the end of the season 1 finale.
- Unfortunate Names: As Joel McHale likes to point out, the show is hosted by "Myke Hawke". Say it out loud if you don't get it.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: In the desert island episode Ruth kills several Coconut Crabs on screen (which look almost like Starfish Aliens) and seems quite pleased with herself but in the Louisiana Swamp episode killing a furry possum causes her to burst into tears and we also get a Gory Discretion Shot.
- Why Did It Have To Be Snakes And Spiders?: Ruth is no friend of snakes and insects. When they were marooned on Tasmania, she wanted to check all the bushes near their shelter and when Myke said they didn't have time for "homemaking," she insisted it was "snake-avoiding."