When I found out that Morgan Spurlock had done Curiosity: I, Caveman, which took 10 people into the forests of Colorado to live like cavemen did for 10 days, I was sure this was going to be a survivor like masterpiece. As a huge Morgan Spurlock and Survivor fan I thought I had netted a slam dunk. Sadly, I have to review this one badly, cuz folks, this felt kinda like an epic fail on all fronts. I tried to like it. Really I did, there was actual straining of my like muscles until they collapsed into a disappointed pile of despair. Allow me to explain.
**Spoiler Alert**Sorry all, it’s the only way to explain, and I don’t think you’d be missing much…but ***Spoiler Alert***
So, everything started off fine with the group getting some instruction on how cavemen lived, including how to make fire, build shelter and make basic stone tools for two days before they start. Then they are let loose in the forests with a bunch of cavemen skins for clothing and no food or water. This is very un-survivor like, because at least on that show, they generally give you some kind of a water source and a bag of rice. For these poor dudes, they only seem to know that they can eat cat tails, so the obsession with food understandably starts on day one. What I don’t understand is, since food is going to be an obvious priority, shouldn’t more of the time spent prepping be about foraging from the wilderness around them? It seems a bit nonsensical to have them making tools and skip that part, but maybe that’s just me.
On day one they ate cattails (well, hoped they were cattails –since they weren’t too sure) and snails, and understandably lamented their lack of food, although one person threw their snails away (I dig it, snails are gross, even fine restaurants have to drown them in garlic butter).
Day two they caught some fish and they all said they were the best fish they ever ate – then never fished again. The rest of the time there all they could talk about was elk and meat. Perhaps fish or snails weren’t cavemany enough? (See exhibit A) You also didn’t see them eating anything but cattails and complaining about starving. Ok, there was a dead mouse and some frogs, one a lucky catch and the other a smart move- again, not to be repeated for some reason. It’s not like they were starving…oh, wait…
Now it’s been several days and they are starving, and I didn’t understand why they just didn’t eat more cattails… Sure, they only offer a few calories…but more of them would be more calories plus that nice cozy full tummy feeling, would they not? Were they also too gross? Were people just too scared that they were poison? (Although, if you didn’t get sick on them after a day or two, why wouldn’t you be chowing down on that stuff? Oh, ok, maybe they were slow acting poison. Yeah…)
Maybe it was bad editing, but you would think that if you had three or four (or any) food sources, you would, oh, I don’t know…use them? But no, they wanted an elk, so it was all about them obsessing and building tools to try and kill one since they were needlessly starving. I’m probably being too hard on them, which is easy and safe to do from my couch, munching popcorn, but it seems nonsensical to starve and dream about one big solution to your problems, when several smaller viable solutions were all around them.
They started getting desperate. People started quitting. It just didn’t make sense to me. The elk had become the white whale of obsessive focus. I tried to sympathize, I tried to tell myself that it was starvation talking and not spoiled people being picky, obsessive and glory hunting. Come on man, this was Morgan Spurlock! So, I hung in there.
Then the experts watching them decided to help them out on day four and presented them with primitive hunting tools, called atlatls and darts. Watching them use them, all I could think of was if they got close enough to use them…poor elk. And then the dread started deep down in the pit of my stomach, and it all went downhill from there because that’s exactly what happened.
I was surprised they could do it, but on day 8 (yes – two more days and they went home- they couldn’t even eat it all) they did it. And then they all stood there stunned and crying while it died. I was pretty disgusted by this point, and also, like them, somewhat horrified. It shows how much of a disconnect exists in the actual killing for meat in North America. You get hungry, you think of burgers, steak, whateves for your meaty delight, in their sanitary little packages conveniently death rattle and rolling eyes free. You don’t watch it die, and so you generally don’t feel responsible for it. These guys didn’t have that luxury, and all of them talked about how it changed them, even the guy who was a hunter.
This was no Survivor, and nothing like 30 days (although perhaps if it was 30 days they would have prepared better), and even though Morgan was there, I hated it. So, unless you want to watch people become meat obsessed cavemen who eventually kill a majestic animal with sticks and rock bits…*shudder*…just pretend this didn’t exist. I’m going to.*Shudder*