Animal Planet Has Turned Into VH1

Posted: August 25, 2011 in animals, reality shows

When I turned on my DirecTV receiver for the very first time in ’97, one of my favorite channels was The Animal Planet. This channel took me back to my childhood and the days of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and its host, Marlin Perkins. Mr. Perkins’ show aired weekly and gave an up-close and personal look at animals. A lot of those close looks came via camera zoom which was completely understandable! He was the original Steve Irwin to my generation. His show not only taught you lessons on different animals, but he also would catch many of them to give you a better look. He did so while rarely putting himself or his assistants in danger.

Marlin Perkins

Fast-forward to 2011 and like everything else in the world, animal shows have gone extreme. They don’t just teach about animals any more, they take the most dangerous, yet exciting approach to catching these animals. “Rattlesnake Republic,” “Swamp Wars,” “Dragon Catcher” to name a few. Okay, I made the last one up, but trust me, if dragons existed, some dude in a t-shirt, Umbro shorts and Crocs would catch one bare-handed.

These shows feature people who hunt dangerous animals for a living. Now, that doesn’t sound so bad, but there’s one thing to keep in mind: these people rarely use any special equipment to protect themselves from these animals! The late Steve Irwin used to run through the wilderness in khaki shorts looking for poisonous snakes. During Shark Week, some fool decided to take a swim (with no cage) with tiger sharks… at night. As if doing it during the day wasn’t dangerous enough! And every 15 minutes, I see a commercial of some idiots sticking their hand into underwater logs and caves trying to pull out giant catfish.

“What do you do if you feel a diamond-shaped head and fangs?”

When will it stop? When someone gets eaten? If so, will they air it? I’m all for learning about animals and getting a closer look, but there’s a reason they’re called “wild animals:” they’re unpredictable and potentially dangerous. So, when some 200 lb. catfish drowns one of those hand fishers or some moose, who has his mating session interrupted, decides to kick some trespasser to sleep, then don’t say no one told you so.

Memo to extreme animal catcher: the next time you see a cheetah on the Serengeti and decide that you want a closer look, just stop and ask yourself, “What would Marlin Perkins do?”

He’d break out the zoom lens on his camera, that’s what he’d do.

  1. The Empress says:

    Dragon catchers wearing crocs? Ha! …And yes, I do secretly hope one of those ginormous catfish eats the head right off of one of those redneck hand fishers.

  2. TQ. OK, first, please allow me to say that natural selection is an ever-present factor in human life and, I think, one of my favorite of all factors.Second, everybody wants to be a star these days, and you don't have to be a toothless redneck to be willing to die to get there.FUCK RICK PERRY!

  3. Squatlo says:

    I always imitate Marlin Perkins reedy voice by saying, "We must hurry if we hope to catch them…" as he'd narrate a video of a water buffalo migration. "Just as the mother lion protects her cub, Mutual of Omaha can protect your family."Two of my buddies "noodle" for catfish like in that photo, and sometimes they use a pole fitted with a hook ("grabbling"). I keep telling them we'll be reading about their asses just as soon as they find a cat big enough to drown an idiot in five feet of water…

  4. Thank, Q says:

    @ Empress – Well, I like painting mental pictures, but I tend to go too far at times. And you're right. Some day, a catfish the size of a couch will consume one of those hand fishers. LOL!@ Mooner – Would you watch a show about Rick Perry trying to catch and tag lions in the deepest parts of Africa? Some how I think you'd sponsor that dangerous venture for him.@ Squatlo – I could hear Marlin speak while reading your quote. He made Mutual of Omaha cool. LOL! And yes, some catfish have drowned some people before from what I've heard.

  5. TQ. I'll buy the sirloin to put in Ricky's pockets to attract the lions.Que Marlin Perkins: "Usually lions kill and devour their prey quickly, but the proud hunters of the night seem to find something distasteful with this kill. Homeowners insurance from Mutual of Omaha can provide food spoilage coverage, and peace of mind."FUCK RICK PERRY!

  6. Thank, Q says:

    LOL @ Mooner! Priceless.

  7. I'm waiting for a show about some ignorant fool who likes to mess around with hippopotamuses (is that the plural? is it hippopotamii??). Now THAT would provide me with the ultimate "entertainment" knowing that the entire season would be ONE show long.

  8. Lawfrog says:

    I remember Marlin Perkins. He was amazing! I completely agree with you about the extreme nature of television shows on most networks. I am sick of it. There is no reason for people to invade the natural habitat of wild and dangerous animals. Leave them alone! And if you don't and you get eaten, maimed, or in some other way injured by them, YOU DESERVE IT! Don't bother with a lawsuit jerks.

  9. Thank, Q says:

    It's Reck! I saw a guy do a show on hippos (or hippi — LOL! Not really). He crafted a cast iron hippo and carried it out near a river and hid underneath while he filmed hippos. It was too funny as his legs were exposed under the hippo shell.@ Lawfrog – Well said. They do invade the environment of these animals. It's one thing to film something doing its thing, but it's another to go into it's nest, den, etc. and mess with it.

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