The Week We Went Wild. A family at war do battle in the jungle

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The Week We Went Wild. A family at war do battle in the jungle

January 11, 2017 - 16:34
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Sympathy for the Reed family. A catastrophic clan falling apart at the seams after a sudden tragedy sent them into a tailspin.

The Week We Went Wild

Sympathy for the Reed family. A catastrophic clan falling apart at the seams after a sudden tragedy sent them into a tailspin.

Bereft following the death in a car crash of her beloved 16 year-old son Josh, distraught mum Dawn sought comfort in the arms of strangers. A lot.

At the age of 46, busy Dawn has eight children by six different fathers. “I have changed breeders a few times,” she concedes. Sadly, her penchant for serial dating is an increasing source of despair for her exasperated offspring.

As her second eldest Marc, 26, explains: “I don’t want to know that everyone’s had a go on my mum. I don’t care who they are, if someone says ‘I’ve shagged your mum’ – and a lot of people do – it’s like, do you know what mate, I’ve got a nice cup of shut the f**k up.”  Bummer.

Over to 27 year-old Nathan: “We have a bet going. Next time she comes back from one of her dates that she’s coming back pregnant. Or will it be just a little bit of food weight?” Probably, the former.

But what to do about the divisive tension that has turned the warring Reeds into dysfunctional enemies? Here’s a plan… send them to the Panamanian jungle for a “gruelling” endurance test so they can bond. Courtesy of Channel 5 in the hilarious new series The Week We Went Wild.

The idea is that by having to work together to brave an inhospitable environment teeming with swamps, deadly snakes, crocodiles and scorpions, their differences will be ironed out. Forced to cooperate, love and harmony will return to their shattered lives. Yeah right.

As a TV programme, it’s a strange cross between Bear Grylls’ The Island (without Bear) and In Therapy. As a survival exercise, it’s pathetic. They only have to last five days so even if they don’t find any food they won’t die. When they experience a thirst crisis there’s a half-hearted attempt to locate a water source but they swiftly just give up. Luckily, a deluge of rain sorts out that little problem.

Apart from truculent trio Dawn, Marc and Nathan, sulky 14 year-old Megan is in tow. You get the feeling that the ever-present camera crew are making sure the unfab four don’t get into too much bother. They need all the help they can get… they’re useless! After finding the perfect camp on the river bank our heroes realise to their horror the tide’s rising and they’ll soon be submerged.

Never once do they build a shelter so when the heavens open for an entire night they just lie there getting soaked. Amid the hardship, their simmering discontent boils over.

Marc: “We feel our lives have been stunted because you’ve had so many kids. Every time we come home there’s another guy!” Dawn: “I do go out on dates – I’m a mum but also a woman. To be accused of sleeping around is deeply hurtful.” Perish the thought.

Along the way, the intrepid adventurers manage to catch a caiman. Nicknaming it Michael Caiman (no one knows why) they tie up its mouth and then carry the poor thing around for days. They’re reluctant to kill it but in the end hunger brings out the homicidal hunter in them… and Marc stabs it in the head. Great telly.

“It’s all gone horribly wrong,” sighs Marc, “I could do with an airlift out of here.” But the good news is the jungle is working its magic. Or, more likely, the Reeds are doing what they’re told by the production team. Suddenly, out of nowhere, they’re all apologising to each other and promising to be nice for ever more. And so the reality TV journey conveniently ends. No suspicion that everything about this ludicrous show is staged.

“I’m sorry, Mum. I’ve got all the love and respect for you in the world,” lies Marc. “If we can conquer the jungle we can conquer anything,” pretends Dawn.

After tucking into barbequed Michael Caiman on the beach, they build a raft of fire and send it out to sea as a floating homage to the late Josh. “He’ll always be my baby,” says Dawn. He’ll always be one of her many babies.

Heart-warming scenes that prove that this reunited family’s traumatic troubles are completely over. Until Dawn meets another bloke.

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