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Tag Archives: Deadliest Catch

The Unreality of Reality Television

19 Dec

December 19, 2012

There is nothing real about reality television. That is why shows like Keeping Up with The Kardashians are not called documentaries.

There is nothing real about reality television.

Dave Hester of Storage Wars is suing the show for seeding valuable items in the “locked and unopened” storage lockers they bid on. (http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/12/11/torage-wars-star-dave-hester-says-show-is-fake-suing-report-says/)

TLC’s new show, Amish Mafia, is actually a “recreation” using actors, although the network claims the stories are real. (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/amish-mafia-taking-care-business-amish-country-135820402–abc-news-tv.html)

TruTV, ironically, airs all kinds of “reality television,” but they are so far from reality that they had to make up yet another term. Now Operation Repo is known as “Actuality.” And yes, Operation Repo is scripted. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Repo)

Breaking Amish featured one cast member who was not Amish, and another who was not what she claimed at all. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/22/breaking-amish-rebecca-divorced-video_n_1999071.html)

I was watching an episode of Storage Wars Texas, which is a Storage Wars spinoff, when I saw the following scene. A cast member bid on and won a locker. He went inside to see what he bought but there was a large screen in the middle blocking the rest of the locker. He went up to it and peered through one of the slats and a huge grin crossed his face and he yelped for joy. There was something good in there, of course. So what was the problem? It was filmed from the reverse angle. In other words, we saw him open the slats and grin from the other side of the screen, from a camera angle from the back of the locker. There was already a camera in the back of the locker set up to get that shot! And “set up” is the right term. Obviously the producers and directors and camera men and the bidder too knew what was in the locker and worked to create the best shot they could. So where is the reality?

I’ve written a lot about so-called reality television, predominately American Chopper, but I also recapped a full season (the only season) of Scrappers. I live in the exact area where that show was filmed and took a lot of nonsense from people writing in to defend the “reality” of the show. (https://bmj2k.com/2010/09/23/scrappers-mail-letters-from-people-who-love-scrappers-and-hate-me/) Trust me, I know what was fake on that show.

Then there is Hardcore Pawn, a show I wrote about once and only once yet is one of my most popular blogs. (https://bmj2k.com/2011/07/18/my-review-of-hardcore-pawn/) One of the most popular searches that lead people to it is “why do they always wear the same clothes?” The answer is because the show is heavily edited. What looks like happens in one day really often takes place over weeks and weeks. They need to wear the same clothes during filming so you don’t notice the editing. Do they get a lot of weird people? Yes they do. But their producers search out many more to come in.

Long Island Medium is a classic fake, with a scam whose history goes back centuries yet people still fall for it. Do just a little research, you can do what she does with a fair bit of success yourself. I’ve done it, you can be a medium too.  (https://bmj2k.com/2011/10/24/my-review-of-long-island-medium-3/)

Watch any Real Housewives– they are all acting for the camera. Situations are clearly and obviously set up. Most reality shows look fake because they are fake. Period.

Somehow even The Apprentice, a show I wrote about many, many times and I am sure I will write about many more, is called reality television. How? (https://bmj2k.com/2012/10/17/the-celebrity-apprentice-all-stars/)

Deadliest Catch is the show I consider closest to reality. The job is so dangerous anyone would be insane to let the producers direct the action, and the captains have too much money on the line to allow it. But a show like that is also heavily edited, and much of the personal drama amped up and exaggerated.

So I for one am glad that American Chopper is over. Am I biting the hand that feeds me? No, I never hid my disdain for that show. But if anyone writes to this blog again defending anyone on reality television again, I want you to include your latest medical reports because you must be nuts.

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American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior: Deadliest Catch Bike

24 May

May 23, 2011

Since this episode mixes up the OCC and Deadliest Catch crews, here is a very short briefing about Deadliest Catch.

Crab fishing in Alaska is called the deadliest job in the world and that isn’t just hype. The odds of dying are very high and the chance of injury is almost 100%. Some of the main players on the show are Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern and one of the most respected captains in the fleet, and the Hillstrand brothers who skipper the Time Bandit and are as good at having fun on board as they are at catching crab. Jake and Josh Harris are the sons of Phil Harris, captain of the Cornelia Marie, who died last season and the boys’ are having a rough time with a new captain.

As an alleged reality show I have to wonder where the line is drawn between simply filming what happens in the Teutul lives and the show actually influencing them. It can’t be simply a coincidence that twice this season OCC and PJD have gotten involved with other shows from their network. It has happened a few times in earlier seasons too. It has to be very tempting for the network to cross-promote other shows and boost ratings this way. I am sure that a lot of Deadliest Catch fans who never watch American Chopper will tune in tonight. And a few weeks ago it didn’t hurt the people from the new show Sons of Guns to be featured on American Chopper.

And remember, Senior and Junior get producers credits (and salary) on the show so there is some incentive to keep an interesting feud going. Is it all fake? Can’t be. Actual lawsuits have been filed, but how much is sweetened by the producers? I’m not sure.

The show began with a disclaimer from Paul Senior and if you think things are strange on a normal episode this was a good warning: “We’re here in Alaska and we’re going to be doing some pretty crazy stuff so make sure that whatever you see here you don’t do at home.

Then we got the pre-credit tease and we saw Sr. firing an assault rifle and lots of Jason but no Paul Jr. In fact, there will be no Paulie or anyone from PJD on this program. Realistically , for about 45 minutes it was an episode of Deadliest Catch guest starring OCC. And speaking as a fan of Deadliest Catch, seeing that buffoon Paul Sr. in the Time Bandit wheelhouse made me sick. Senior stood out, not only on the boat, but during the whole time in Alaska because he wore a bright red motorcycle jacket and pants. However, you knew it had to be freezing in Alaska because his shirt also had sleeves.

Like last week, Rick got a lot of screen time just explaining what was going on, and unfortunately Jason got a lot too. I don’t need to explain how annoying he was, but when he fired one of the Hillstrand’s AK-47s I hoped the police would get involved.

The guys went out on the Time Bandit where Senior got seasick and the OCC crew and Mike Fourtner from the boat took turns blowing things up, then they went dog sledding (where Sr. fell into t snow bank) and glacier climbing. And of course, there was always time for Sr. to badmouth his sons.

Captain Andy: “A crew is only as good as its weakest link.”
Paul Sr.: “We got rid of that.”

To the camera, Senior said: “As far as Mikey or Paulie coming out here, first of all I don’t think they would ever do it, I don’t think they would set foot on this boat. They’re just not used to the adventures life that I’ve lived.” I think if you substitute “adventurous” with “drunk” you get nearer the truth.

For the last 15 minutes they went back to OCC where Sr. made Jason change the ugly sissy bar and Robb did an amazing job on the paint, including a dedication to Captain Phil. It was a “bare bones” bike, which I found funny since last week Senior was bragging about all the technology they add to the bikes.

The bike was unveiled at Catch Con and if you are knowledgeable about Deadliest Catch it will be no surprise that among the Captains we saw Sig, Wild Bill, Captain Keith, and a new captain, Scott Campbell, but not Derrick Ray. And while all the boats were visible in the background and Jake and Josh got some face time we never saw the Cornelia Marie. Never mind the Teutuls, there is some serious behind the scenes drama happening there.

Next week is finally the beginning of a bike build-off, pitting Sr. against Jr. and also injecting some much-needed new life into this show. But since the Hillstrands spilled the beans that the call for the Deadliest Catch bike came from Discovery headquarters I am sure that the network is behind that too.

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