Sunday, April 4, 2010

Extreme TV

After a month long hiatus, I am back...slightly mellowed by a multi-day trial that took quite a bit of preparation; at least preparations a-g...

During my downtime in March, which was very rare, I caught up with, or on to, some oddly compelling TV. Back when I grew up, coming home from school, I’d catch some repeat of Gilligan’s Island (“Just sit right down and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…” or the Brady Bunch on Channel 56. Back then, in the Boston area, we had Channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 27, 38, 44 and 56; that was it. If there wasn’t anything decent on, e actually had to do other things, like read, or go outside and play!!! Now, we have 200 channels to choose from and always something interesting to choose from, or nothing at all.

Speaking of “nothing at all” there are just some nights when I surf through all the channels and still find nothing to watch. How is this possible? There must be someone interested, but the “CAT Heavy Equipment Badminton Open from Akron, Ohio” on “The Ocho-ESPN 8” doesn’t cut it for me. Neither does a “Baby Story” or “Bridezillas” on “Lifetime-Television for Women”.

But, late at night, when I check my TIVO for things that caught my interest, I find some interesting, and oddly compelling programs, that are clearly a by-product of having a million channels, because some of these would never show up on “real” or network TV.

Here are a few of my current favorites (and why):

Deadliest Catch: who would have thought 20, maybe even 10 years ago that a television show that focuses on crab fishing in Alaska would hold someone’s interest. I would have thought the “Saladmaster” pots and pans commercials (with Chris Nahatis banging them together) were going to be more exciting. But watch one episode, and it sucks you in, like a Giant Squid.

For you uninitiated, this is a “reality style” television format that follows 4 crab boats up into the Bering Sea. The overly dramatic narration by Mike Rowe (star of another show discussed below) only adds to the ominous feeling that these schmucks go out to the most dangerous sea in the worst possible time of year prospecting for crab. When you think about it, these guys tempt the hands of fate for you to “borrow” the crab for about 4 hours, if you know what I mean.

The more you watch, the more you begin to root for one boat over another. Most of these boats are family-owned, so it’s fun to watch the family dynamic unfold on TV, in the crucible of a small crab boat. This is a show about rough and tumble, hard-living men, living on Red Bull, Coffee and Nicotine (maybe the Senior Palate could give it a go...)

Here's a sample...

Dirty Jobs: If there was ever a show to make me thankful for growing up in a house where education was valued, this is it. Mike Rowe takes on some of the most disgusting jobs out there. From inseminating crocodiles, to shoveling up chicken crap under a hen house, he’s picked some winners. We are all better off because of the people out there willing, or unlucky enough, to do these jobs. But after watching this show, I’m going to make sure I keep it this way!

More coming, because when you have this many channels, there’s a lot of crap to watch…


Anonymous said...

You should see ice truckers. Those people are crazy. I asked the senior palate if he watches and he said he does.

Eric Weinstein said...

No surprise that he watches Ice Road Truckers...he told me he's applied to be a "greenhorn" on the Cornelia Marie.