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Things I learned watching Discovery Channel reality shows

More appropriately, I should have titled this Things I learned watching reality shows on the Discovery Channel and History Channel that are not Pawn Stars (because that show totally rocks and I would like to mate with it and have hundreds of little baby shows). That was a little long for a title, hence their current one.

So I watched my fair share of reality shows on these two channels. Back in the day, the Discovery Channel and History Channel were pretty highbrow and prided themselves in broadcasting serious documentaries so you could discover stuff about history. Get it? Get it? God, I’m clever!

Then came a little phenomenon called Dirty Jobs. Failed shopping network host traveling around the United States trying his best to help out people doing awfully disgusting work. Truly awesome. In the timeless words of tiger-blooded Martian rock star Charlie Sheen: winning! After that, the fine people at Discovery Communications took a gander down the Slip ‘N Slide of good taste and liked what they saw: full-fledged reality TV.

But because they where blessed by the pinky of the gods, or something, they actually managed to make something interesting. They called it The Deadliest Catch. You may have heard about that show following crab fishermen in the Bering Sea. It became a hit and obviously we were subjected to the inevitable copycats. So now we have Ice Road Truckers and Big Shrimpin’ and Ax Men and Swamp People and the ultimate smash of these last two: Swamp Loggers (I wish I was making this up). I’m probably forgetting some program about the chaotic adventures of fruit pickers in the Scandinavian tundra.

What all the shows have in common is that they follow the everyday lives of workers in unusual workplaces. I won’t lie, it’s pretty fascinating stuff. For about an hour. So here is what I learned watching the shows:

The sound effect guy gets paid by the beep. These are the kinds of jobs done by real men who talk like real men. On the other hand, the shows air on stations where you can only talk like handmaidens. So what do we get? Beep, you Godbeep motherbeepin’ that beep, man! Why do they even bother?

Safety precautions is for pussies. The workers think nothing of circumventing safety measures to get the job done. Wouldn’t they get fired in real life? Wouldn’t they be uninsurable?

They only hire children. The showcased employees get into arguments over to smallest things – requiring lots of beeping, of course – and then they sulk for the rest of the episode. Future flareups are guaranteed. I mean, really? Is everyone working a difficult manual job an immature crybaby?

These jobs are very repetitive. The TV producers probably came to the same conclusion because what they do is try to manufacture tension by turning the work into competitions. They follow different teams and count their haul, pounds of crab, etc. I wonder if they have a professional major league.

Am I missing anything? Perhaps, if I need to think about a reason to kill myself one day I’ll count down the reasons why I hate reality shows (more like freak shows) on TLC. They make the above programs appear like the pinnacle of good taste…


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