Why Mike Rowe Is Such a Good Host

Is it his boundless enthusiasm, his willingness to hang off tall buildings, wiggle into tight spaces, and pick up poo?


Is it his sarcasm, his willingness to say outright, forthrightly, "Wow, that's gross!"


I postulate that there is another overriding and utterly impressive (and very male) reason: Rowe is willing to subordinate himself to the people training him. (I realize the show ended; I'm still on Collection 6.)

Keep in mind that Rowe is very good at stuff. Yes, I know, he makes mistakes and "slows" things down (tips over rice bags, gets bitten by snakes, etc. etc.) but watch three episodes in a row and his overall quickness, competence, and physical strength become quickly apparent. The guy picks up on stuff fast. And he isn't afraid of much (as far as I can tell).

His crew is also impressively competent. Yes, we are allowed to see the foibles (which thematically, I consider one of the smartest aspects of the show). They make all kinds of mistakes. But that's fairly common in the industry, and their range of abilities and gosh-darn sangfroid is awe-inspiring. Barsky may be a good-natured and far more introverted Al. Like Al, the guy gets stuff done, even when a boat tips over in the middle of a swamp.

And yet, despite all this innate ability floating about, when Rowe takes on a job, he allows himself to NOT be the master of the universe. This is not due to lack of confidence. The guy is confidence personified. Rather, he places himself in the male hierarchy of guy-who-is-not-in-charge.

Interestingly enough, in response to this persona, the women bosses tend to tease him. Women tend to be mavericks within the social network anyway, being independent forces who also want to get along.

The men usually want to get along too. They immediately respond to the inherent and unspoken sense of place that Rowe creates and even start mentoring him. He may be a television host. He is also the guy we help and tell what to do.

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