Thursday, October 22, 2015

'Merican TV shows

It is no longer a mystery to me why foreigners often have such a sketchy view of Americans. In fact, I have begun to wonder more often how any of them have developed a reasonable impression and still express interest in one day seeing our noble land.

I hope it's due to the part of human nature that all but forces us to rubber-neck at an accident scene to see the gruesome details, or the part of us that leans to Schadenfreude and gets gleeful joy out of seeing others make complete fools of themselves, but I have - more often than I cared to - walked into the living room to find M watching some American TV show I've never heard of, and they are WEIRD! I have found myself several times gaping at the screen and saying, "THIS is NOT right!"

I'm not even talking about Duck Dynasty. While I am proud to say I have never seen that show and don't even know what it's about, I have heard of it and have seen references on Facebook to it.

No, I mean a whole new world of WTF?!?  Why in holy hell would these shows be produced in the first place, but even more - why, in the name of decency, culture, and human advancement, would a German TV station decide THESE are shows that can make them some money here?

I know it's "just entertainment." But just where are we headed, people? We are half a step away from movies called "Ass", as seen in the docu-comedy Idiocracy.

These shows are aired on DMAX, or as I call it, "the Man Chan(nel)." That's also where you'll find car shows, Bear Grylls (he's fabulous!), Mythbusters, and Naked Survival (no, nothing is pixeled out on German TV as long as it's not erect).


Let's begin with a guy named Tim and his friend Tickle. Tim and Tickle are moonshiners in - yep, you guessed it - Appalachia, or the Appalachian Mountains of North and South Carolina and Virginia. They have a whole crew-a-guys, among them Jim Tom, Chico, Digger, and Cutie Pie, a little dog that might be an actual relative of one of the other guys. The show documents how these guys illegally distill, transport, sell, and consume moonshine while trying to evade the local authorities. If you think it's something like "the Dukes of Hazzard," you are soooo wrong. One of the guys usually stands there with his bottom lip dangling and his jaw aslack when he's thinkin'.

Despite his disturbing nickname, Tickle does look like a half-way normal guy. Tim, on the other hand. wears denim overalls without a shirt, which means one of his nipples is usually hanging out, prompting a discussion last Friday about why men have nipples at all. M began "That's one of those..." and I thought he was going to finish with "..mysteries of nature." But no, he actually knew the answer.

Anyway, I really wanted to buy M a pair of those things (overalls, not nipples) last time I was in the States so he could wear them while mowing our lawn, but they're flippin' expensive! Besides, he'd have to put on quite a bit of weight to make them look just right.

Monster Hunters / Mountain Hunters

Right, then there are these guys. Judging from their dialects and... yeah, they're from Appalachia, too. Each episode features a different monster with a creative name like Sheepsquatch, Mothman, Swampcat, or the Bloodless Howler.

The plot of each episode is the same: the team has heard of the existence of a crazy, dangerous, mysterious beast roaming the countryside. They go to the place where the beast was reportedly seen, and they interview witnesses. Then they do a reconnaissance mission, find some kind of "proof" of the mountain monster's presence, make a plan to catch it, shoot guns into the dark, and fail to catch, kill, or even clearly see the beast.

If we were still in our 20's we would make a drinking game out of this show. Everytime one of the following happens or is said, you take a drink:
  • they interview someone who has proof of the monster's existence
  • that proof is a blurry photo of nothing discernable
  • the guy with the white beard appears to be taking notes while a witness describes what he knows
  • the big(gest) guy trips over something, falls, and says something grabbed his leg
  • "What was THAT?!"
  • "Did you HEAR that?!"
  • "What the f----?!"
  • at least two of them start building a trap
  • they find a footprint (and it's briefly outlined digitally since viewers wouldn't see it otherwise)
  • one of the guys determines the beast's size based on that footprint
         Note: Mothman doesn't leave footprints for obvious reasons.
  • all six guys armed with shotguns go tromping through a forest in the dark
  • one of them starts yelling, "Go go go go go go!!!"
  • all six guys cock their rifles at the same time
  • most of the guys start shooting into the woods in the dark because they hear something
  • half of those guys turn suddenly and start firing in the opposite direction
  • the beast runs past them and they give chase, trying to herd it to the trap
  • the beast runs right past the trap
  • or jumps over it
  • someone shouts "knapp vorbei!" ("just missed it!")
  • they find a blood spoor
  • they congratulate themselves for "getting him"
  • they relive the exciting moments with guffaws and friendly punches
And you do a shot when one of the guys says...
  • "Well, we didn't catch him, but we now have hard proof that he exists!"
Anyone still able to remember his own name at the end of the show wins.

Honestly, Germany, why do you have to air shows like this from America when we actually have really good shows?!?


  1. Oh man what a shame! I have never even heard of any of these shows - and I watch way too much American television!

    1. I'll bet you can find episodes online if you really want to see either. I can't exactly recommend them, though. :-)