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David Basckin... On the Couch: Dude, You're Screwed

Dude, You’re Screwed is an appropriately titled survivor-style show with tiny flickers of originality and dare I say it, humour. Humour, which in this specific case includes laffs, is absent from survivor shows, especially ones in which naked white men are left alone on desert islands without a Man Friday or even a goatskin umbrella for shelter. 

In Dude, You’re Screwed, last week we saw a serious survivalist dropped somewhere in Alaska with only 60 hours to reach his destination. 
Like all survivor shows, isolation verging on abandonment is the big deal, given that there’s always at least one videographer right up close. 
The serious survivalist in this case is a Royal Air Force psychologist and trainer who somehow gets involved with a whole lot of retired American army types. These include a former Green Beret, a one-time Navy Seal and a glorious organic type known only as a Primitive Survivalist. He has a wild animal tooth on a thong round his neck and carries weapons made from sticks. 

The others are a lot more interesting, loaded down as they are by helicopter controllers, radio equipment and GPS. One carries an AK47 in case of bears. 
The show begins with a whole lot of hokum, in which the non-Royal Air Force fellas pretend to capture and restrain their victim. They search him for survivalist stuff he may have hidden in his clothing and find a mosquito net and if my notes are accurate, a knife. 

Bundled on to a red helicopter he’s flown from Denver to Alaska and dumped in the snow, entirely alone except for a cameraperson who documents his thoughts and actions. Unlike the naked white man on the desert island, these are full of interesting insights and survival skills for those abandoned in the tundra. 

Despite his jocular captors’ frisking, he has managed to hide various survival items on his person, including a needle, a firestick (not a match) and a second knife. The Primitive Survivalist gave him a partially consumed can of cat food while the Seal gave him |a pool cue and lipstick. Mac Russian Red, I think. 

Well, you’ll never guess what happens next. It rains, it snows, his body temperature measuring vest tells his captors that he’s gonna die, die, DIE! if he gets any colder. He doesn’t, of course. And why not? Because he’s a psychologist!
Psychologists are the Grand Masters of crypto-medicine and can do anything if they put their 190-IQ minds to it! Remember the cat food? 

Seems that the can is the real gift. He uses this as a teapot, being British. 
And what about the pool cue? Our survivalist knows a good thing when he sees it, and this good thing becomes a vital third leg as he fords an icy river. The flow is quick, the rocks are slimy. Did I mention it was raining?

The Greek Chorus of retired army men and the Primitive Survivalist worry that he may fall in and get wet all over, leading to hypothermia and death. The needle becomes a compass, the knife remains a knife, while the lipstick is made from petrol-related chemicals. Who knew? 

This means it burns like crazy and provides the vital link between the sparks of the firestick and the little wet sticks he finds in the snow. Teatime in Alaska. 
What’s not to love? 

Just one small question remains: if there are wild bears, why didn’t he get a Kalashnikov of his own?

*This column was published in the 15 June 2014 issue of the Sunday Tribune SMtv Guide*

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