The new season of Dual Survival with barefooter extraordinaire Cody Lundin and super-military Joe Teti returns tonight.
But don’t get too excited.
This is one of the four shows that Cody did with Joe before Discovery’s producer fired Cody. The title is “No End in Sight — Part 1”, and has this description:
Survivalist Cody Lundin and Joe Teti are stranded in the mangrove swampts on the island nation of Sri Lanka, where they face waters overrun by crocodiles, jungles that are filled with leeches and a number of distresses elephants.
It premieres at 9:00pm EDT. There going to start showing some of last year’s shows at 5:00pm, and at 8:00pm they are showing an episode that is being portrayed as “new”. It’s clearly a reworking of the Atacama episode, with additional footage and commentary.
Discovery is really spinning the firing of Cody. You can look at a “sneak peek” of the new season here. It really tries to portray tension between Cody and Joe, and we see this (two screenshots put together by me).
That’s the teaser. And they have cherry-picked footage when Cody and Joe disagree.
Cody: Sometimes slowing down is what keeps you alive.
Joe: This is not the place or time to argue with your partner. All he’s doing is adding risk to a very risky situation.
Joe: Cody, stop! You’re compromising our mission!
They also portray Cody as the villain by picking out a time when he did a pouty-face.
Discovery does the same in their press-release about the upcoming season.
Can they make it out of one of the thickest jungles in the world? Build a shelter among glaciers and winds blowing at 50 miles-per-hour? Or navigate a crocodile infested lake without a boat? The stakes are higher than ever before and as a twist of events unravels throughout the season, one member of DUAL SURVIVAL will leave the show for good.
That makes is sound like one of the members (Cody) quits, which really pisses off Cody. He was fired for, as he puts it, “health and safety issues”. What that means is that the show was trying to make him do things he considered unsafe, and he refused to do them, both since they were unsafe, and because they were anti-survival.
It’s been clear for a while that those who run Dual Survival have been ramping it up to extremes. Even the hiring of Joe Teti to replace Dave Canterbury illustrates that.
Let me use two different words here, with a distinction I’m making up on the spot. There is “survival”, and then there is “survivalism”. To me, “survival” is what you learn at many of the survival schools, and it really is the sort of thing that one of us ordinary schmoes might have to use someday if things go wrong while we are out there. Cody is of this type. Heck, just look at his books: When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes and 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive. It’s about subtlety and blending in, using and preserving resources.
On the other hand, there is what I’m calling “survivalism”. That’s about the toys, about being badass, and conquering. That’s Joe’s shtick. You can see it in the gear and the fancy weapons. (And, I guess one could argue, the whole point of the show is to contrast “survival” with “survivalism”.) But Joe really doesn’t know, from what I can see, all that much about survival (though he picked stuff up for the show). He’s used to support. On military missions they are provided with support. Even if they don’t have active support, they are provided with all the gear they might need to support their military mission. I have my doubts, though, how he’d do in a real survival situation with minimal items on his person. What if you don’t have a knife? What if you really just get lost on a minimally-provisioned day hike?
That’s also true when something like Dual Survival is filmed. There’s a whole film crew out there, and you can be sure that the actors are getting supported. As Cody has pointed out, the shows are plotted (maybe lightly), but plotted they are, or they’d never get to show you the techniques.
And when they amp things up (clearly because they think that’s where the ratings are) the producers are also clearly making things more dangerous. Joe, in response, said
For the record, the safety of the crew and the hosts of any show are the most important issue for any production company or network. A show like Dual Survival is inherently dicey to shoot just by the sheer nature of it.
“Most important issue”? I have my doubts. If the mindset is to show how to survive, you don’t put your people into inherently dicey situations. Don’t forget, Joe lost a good friend when a different Discovery production, where safety was “the most important issue” got them killed. See 3 dead in helicopter crash on Discovery Channel reality TV set and Discovery Sued Over Reality TV Helicopter Crash. Again, if you really are for safety, you just don’t put people in those situations. You only do it if you think that the ratings require making Captain Americas out of your hosts.
Dave Canterbury, while also being badass (and he did like his toys), very clearly knew survival. After all, he’s taught classes in it at his Pathfinder School in my neck of the woods. While he and Cody would disagree, even about the relative safety of techniques, I never felt that Dave went over the edge. With Joe, even the thought of “don’t compromise the mission” shows a mindset that is in some ways anti-survival (after all, you expect that you can lose members from a military mission). If you are in a true survival situation, against nature, in reality you cannot conquer her—you don’t have the resources. All you can do, really, is bend to her and try to sneak out of her what you can to survive.
There are four episodes with Cody. The Sri Lanka one is obviously a two-parter, and the other two are in Oman and Norway.
After that they switch to a new host, Matt Graham from “Dude . . . You’re Screwed” and the True Nature Wilderness School. To tell you the truth, I’ve only watched (part of) the show once. Matt does espouse the same gentle-with-nature ideas that Cody does, so he probably is a good fit.
But he’s not a barefooter. I watched Dual Survival about 75% for the barefooting (which demonstrates just how possible things are while barefoot) and about 25% for the survival. So I really don’t know yet if I will continue to watch the show without Cody.
Additionally, while Matt is not a barefooter, he’s certainly not afraid of bare feet (you can tell that Joe would never be caught without his “army boots”). And Matt’s footwear, at least, can be styled “minimalist”.
We see him with homemade moccasins:
in this video
And in a different video in which he demonstrates the Solo Stove, we see him barefoot around camp.
And barefoot in his wikiup:
Here’s that second video:
After seeing these, I’m impressed. But it remains to be seen just how ridiculous the producers will be in ramping things up and whether Matt will have any push-back when what they are trying to do gets too dangerous.