I had an epiphany of sorts last night.
I’m battling the flu and so a lot of my time lately has been spent in front of the TV taking it easy. I hate the lack of activity, but I need to rest. As I’ve been resting, I’ve been watching “Finding Bigfoot” on the Animal Planet network. I discovered this show last year, and I think it’s probably one of the dumbest shows around.
But I love it.
Cryptozoology has always been a closet passion of mine. When I was a young kid, I got into Loch Ness and the Yeti and Bigfoot so much that I had drawers set aside in my room for my “research.” My research largely consisted of drawings I’d made and any newspaper clippings I could find. I was devoted to watching In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy and imagined one day setting off on my own quests to find long-lost beasts of legend.
So when Finding Bigfoot debuted last year, I was all over it. I’d already been raving about how great Destination Truth was and hoped that Finding Bigfoot would be in the same vein as that show.
It’s not at all like Destination Truth. It’s more like Jersey Shore.
Finding Bigfoot has a cast of four: Matt Moneymaker who is the head of the BFRO (Bigfoot Research Organization), Cliff, his trusty sidekick, Bobo, who actually looks more like a Bigfoot than anything they’ve found to-date on the show, and Renee, the skeptical biologist who is along to try to debunk the things the group hears in the woods, any footage they come across that sort of thing.
Episodes usually begin with the team in a certain part of the country to investigate a recent sighting. Enroute, a conversation occurs whereby the three guys all talk about the likelihood that there will be a “squatch” in the area, while Renee sits there and attempts to inject some semblance of rational thought into the mix. She always fails.
And therein lies the problem with the show, the boys have already decided that pretty much every area they visit has Sasquatches living in it. Every sound in the forest during their night investigations is a “squatch.” Every locale is “squatchy,” and so on and so on. These guys want so badly to believe that Sasquatch exists that they have really compromised all of their supposed journalistic integrity in the hopes that their gee whiz charm turns viewers into believers. Renee’s perspective is brushed aside and the guys don’t seem to like her very much. In their defense, she has about as much charisma as a paper bag, but then again, none of the team really has much in the way of charisma, either.
On every episode, after the team has stood up in front of the locals and plotted their sightings on a map, they go out into the woods. At night. Because, ya know, night is scary. And everything seen through night vision looks cooler, apparently. The team always breaks up into two squads and then they plod through the woods. At a predetermined point, Matt Moneymaker will do his best Bigfoot howl. Bobo will then usually answer in return. Then they wait to hear any other sounds. Sometimes the coyotes complain. Sometimes they get a “knock,” which is apparently how sasquatches communicate by knocking branch lengths against tree trunks. (How they’ve determined these behavioral characteristics is anyone’s guess, but they claim that their field research proves it.) I’m still waiting for the episode when they do these insipid howls and some camper shouts back, “Shut the fuck up! I’m trying to sleep!” That would be gold.
One of my favorite parts of the show is when the team comes up with a supposedly revolutionary method for tracking any squatches they suspect to be in the area. On the most recent episode, this method involved baiting several tree trunks with glazed donuts and then sprinkling ultraviolet powder in the area. That way, when the sasquatches had their coffee break and came over for the free donuts, they’d step in the powder and then the team would be able to track them with special flashlights.
Naturally, instead of sasquatch tracks, all they got were raccoon and possum tracks. I wondered why they were bothering with UV powder when they could have just as easily set up motion controlled cameras used on other nature shows. If any squatches came trooping through, the camera would snap their picture.
But pictures aren’t as cool as UV powder.
Another thing: the team is always looking for squatches in the night. But most of the eyewitness reports have encounters during the day.
In any event, the show is actually a comedy about three bumbling idiots and the one sane individual who tries to keep them grounded. And I watch it every damned week. Because, you never know, one time they might actually get lucky and stumble over a squatch.
I can’t claim to learn anything from watching this other than perhaps how NOT to go bigfoot hunting. But I still have to tune in. I imagine it’s the same for viewers of Jersey Shore who tune in each week to see if Snooki can ever get through a night without shacking up with the crew of whatever aircraft carrier happens to be in dock that particular week. It probably most definitely WON’T happen.
But it COULD.
So, my thanks to Matt, Cliff, Bobo, and Renee for making my television viewing just a bit more comedic and addictive.
Until next week. 🙂