with Yvonne Lai
Whether to satisfy the laws of natural selection or just for fun, males of all species get the urge to show off once in a while. Of course, those in the wild have it a little easier, with their manes, crests and vibrant plumes. Human males have to get a little more creative to scratch that itch. For some, it might entail dragging their wives back to nature and playing the protector.
In the series Man, Woman, Wild (Discovery; Tuesdays at 9pm), former United States Army Special Forces officer Mykel Hawke takes his television journalist wife, Ruth England, to some of the most remote locations in the world to 'test their will and their marriage'. Temptation Island this is not, as the couple are tasked with building shelter and finding food equipped with only the clothes on their backs and hunting knives. Oh ... And a camera crew to capture all the bickering between chores.
Hawke is adept at starting fires and spearing fish but England is too distracted by her fear of creepy-crawlies to notice her man's prowess. If you ask us, this kind of relationship work is best done in the comfort of a therapist's office.
Despite the broadness suggested by its title, How to Make It in America (HBO; Mondays at 9pm) is really about New York. The show's backdrop of grungy sidewalk cafes, dirty subways, uptown limestones, downtown brownstones and hip-hop beats speaks to the city's unique vibrancy. Too bad the same can't be said for Ben Epstein (Bryan Greenberg; One Tree Hill) and Cam Calderon (Victor Rasuk; pictured left with Greenberg), the homies whose journey to 'making it' we are asked to follow.
We meet fashion-school dropout Epstein and his buddy just as they scrape the bottom of the barrel. Tired of unloading bootleg merchandise on the streets and barely making rent, the duo attempt to launch their own brand of jeans with no connections or capital.
Fashion is indeed a choice industry for showing off but it's hard to imagine how these drabsters will find their way in. The energy of this anti-drama hangs low, like the style of jeans favoured by some of its characters.
On the other side of the globe, four friends, all chefs, all male, travel to scenic Australian locations for a little bachelor-style R&R in Boys' Weekend (BBC Lifestyle; Fridays at 8pm). We, in turn, find respite from full-blown celebrity chef egotism (yes, Gordon Ramsay, we are talking about you) through the easy bro-mance of Aussie Adrian Richardson, Frenchman Manu Fiedel, Spaniard Miguel Maestre and Briton Gary Mehigan.
We neither know nor care which restaurants they own or run because their antics and the surroundings are so much fun. In the first episode, Fiedel sneaks into the resort bar and serves up some Jamaican coffee - three shots of rum, three shots of espresso - to his friends. Richardson comes up with an Alaskan bean stew - traditionally made with bear meat, he uses pancetta instead.
You can't see it but you can al- most hear the primeval chest-thumping going on. They are manly men after all.