Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shocking, Daring and Extreme

I'm tired of Michael Phelps. There, I said it. He's a robot, just like Bob Costas and the Chinese divers. If you, too, are tired of Phelps, there are other things on TV. Especially if you happen to be home on a weekday.
When you're home sick from work, it's okay to make fun of the shows and ads on daytime TV because you know you're not the audience they're after. You don't need a job, a degree from ITT Tech or an AbSmasher. When an unemployed writer watches daytime TV, however, he's walking a fine line. So I try to avoid it. Of course, in the past few months I've still watched more daytime TV than at any time since college, and I've drawn some conclusions about us as an audience. We don't really want a job or a degree, or even flat abs. What we really want, apparently, is anything that's Shocking, Daring or Extreme. Peruse the daytime listings and you'll see: Most Shocking Videos; Most Daring Police Chases; Most Extreme Acts of Violence.

We also seem to crave anything with Dumbest, Stupidest or Worst in the title. I guess what this kind of TV does is it makes us feel better about ourselves. No matter the reason you're sitting home watching TV at noon on a Tuesday; turn on your TV and there's always someone worse off than you.
Feeling bad because you drank too much over the weekend? Tune in to
Intervention on Monday, and there's a girl inhaling cans of computer duster. Worried about your love life? Watch To Catch a Predator. At least you're not that guy.

When it comes to Shocking, Daring and Extreme, even Animal Planet has gotten into the mix. I leave you now with actual descriptions of my favorite episodes of Animal Planet's
Untamed and Uncut:

  • A diver makes a potentially fatal mistake when he teases a giant Pacific octopus out of its cave.
  • A rodeo bull goes head to head with a cowboy - literally.
  • A zoo visitor gets way too close to the polar bear cage.
  • Fisherman in Louisiana are unpleasantly surprised when a mako shark they'd believed to be dead seeks its revenge.
  • Betsy, a large pet Boa Constrictor, is the life of the party until she decides she's had enough.
  • A mule race in Brazil goes awry.
  • A professional alligator wrestler undergoes an event that might make him rethink his career choice.
  • A black bull doesn't bluff when it charges a promotional poker contest.
  • A deep-sea diving guide makes a mistake when he attempts to kiss a Nurse Shark on the snout.
  • An attempt to rescue a pregnant tiger caught in a tree in India goes terribly wrong.
  • A Monocled Cobra, one of the world's deadliest snakes, shows an exotic animal trainer why it should be handled with care.


  1. Do you think Hannah enjoys watching Animal Planet?

  2. Maybe all that violence on Animal Planet has caused Hannah's anger. Perhaps you should tune in to shows like Little House on the Praire for some wholesome goodness.