Bear Grylls knows what it takes to survive in the wild. He’s proven that. But can he teach celebrities how to do the same? That’s the fun of Grylls’ newest series, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, in which Grylls takes celebrities into the wild for 48-hour adventures, where they’ll jump out of helicopters, eat worms, and, if they’re Zac Efron, rappel down a waterfall.
In the premiere of Running Wild, Bear picked up Zac Efron for a two-day journey through the Catskills that could not have been more adorable if they had tried. Zac, a lifelong fan of Bear and his shows, brought with him, as Bear put it, a “boyish enthusiasm” that only reminded Bear of why he does what he does. Within minutes of the two talking about camping, nature, and the like, the men had turned into boys, and the rest was downright delightful.
The adventure started with a quick jump out of a helicopter before the men began their 40-mile journey through the mountains, during which Zac admitted that the reason he wanted to do the show—and the reason it was so fun to watch—was really just because he wanted to hang out with Bear. (Don’t we all?)
If only Zac realized that he’d literally be hanging out with bear. After a quick rappel over some slippery rocks, Zac and Bear stopped to eat a few dietary supplements—jerky and nuts—which gave viewers the first real bonding session of the trip. Zac told Bear how he got into show business and what he loves about his work. In return, we learned a fun fact about Bear: He can’t dance.
From there, Bear pushed Zac to his limit when he asked him to retrieve a dead groundhog carcass to see if it was good enough to eat. Spoiler: It was not, and Zac nearly vomited at least five times. But he did it anyway, and Bear loved Zac’s attitude. The two were fast friends, digging their hands in the mud and smelling the insides of dead animals with smiles on their faces. Before we knew it, they were sharing worms (like they were spaghetti and this was Lady and the Tramp), finding camp, eating worm omelets, and talking about Zac’s stint in rehab.
In a refreshing scene, Zac really opened up to Bear about the struggles of Hollywood, and somehow, Bear was not only the great survivalist, but he’d become a great interviewer/psychologist without even trying. Basically, there’s nothing this man can’t do. Also, nature is good for the soul. (Or maybe it was the worms?) By nighttime, the two were joking around about mixing up pee bottles and water bottles, snuggling, and even giving goodnight kisses (on the forehead).
[Insert pitch for a Bear and Zac spinoff.]
Day two consisted of some fern tea, a highly dangerous rope crawl between two cliffs, and a 150-ft. shirtless rappel to the water below. As Zac put it, the greatest trip of his life was like “camping gone crazy,” and for viewers, it was the perfect mix of compelling entertainment, sheer excitement, genuine bonding, Zac’s abs, and Bear’s accent.
If this is what we’re in for with Running Wild, we’ll go crazy camping every week.