Deadliest Catch

May 2, 2007 at 3:22 am 3 comments

I don’t really watch a lot of television, and in particular I shy away from non-union “reality TV.” But every Tuesday evening I look forward to spending quality time while I’m in PA watching Deadliest Catch (Tuesdays, 9 Eastern, Discovery) with a beer and my own old man of the sea. On the show, a young fisherman tonight took out a tooth with a pair of pliers. My father explains that my great-grandfather took out all of his teeth with a pair of pliers. It’s irreplaceable moments like these that make me look forward to Tuesday nights.

About the show itself. Ishmael in Moby Dick calls a whaling ship his Harvard. What I like about Deadliest Catch, in addition to the excitement of monster waves, and huge pots of crabs, is that it foregrounds all of the labor on these floating factories. Viewers end up cheering a bunch of working class guys doing a hairy working class job. These guys lives depend on their knowledge of equipment and conditions.

This clip from the Daily Show is interesting because Captain Sig, who tends toward domineering as captain of the Northwestern, is clearly a little uncomfortable on the set. His class training hasn’t quite prepared him to be funny about his work.

I wonder what it means for these guys, doing jobs they’ve been doing all their lives, to suddenly be getting fan letters. It’s a bit like the commercial where Peyton Manning cheers regular people doing their jobs.

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Entry filed under: Daily Show, Deadliest Catch, Discovery Channel, Jon Stewart, Television.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. skunkcabbage  |  May 2, 2007 at 3:58 am

    Okay, I admit, I have a weakness for Man vs Wild, too.
    Here’s a bit from my favorite episode:

    You’ll note in both Deadliest Catch and the Man vs. Wild clip an “open boat” theme. It will shock no one if I quickly reference Stephen Crane’s story “The Open Boat” and conclude that there is not a little naturalism my favorite shows.

    Reply
  • 2. cerebraljetsam  |  May 2, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    so you truly recommend the show? i have been curious for quite a while, but i have only seen the trailers. the thing that always scared me is that the trailers invite you to tune in to find out if there are going to to be more deaths this season. but i have always wanted to watch it–admittedly for purely romanticizing reasons, as i idealize all kinds of manual labor in the wild at this point–i just cannot see my laptop and the city any more.
    i do watch a whole lot of discovery channel (when i in fact watch tv, which is not as often as it used to be). my two addictions are mythbusters and dirty jobs. i feel like such a dork, but i love to see people do stuff with their hands, excercise practical skills, while my days are pretty much confined to reading and writing.
    i did see the my first episode of man vs. wild this sunday and now know that if i ever wanted to escape from this room and run away from my dissertation i could order a guava plant, wait until it is really big, then pound it a little to release its fibres, tie them into a rope and climb out of my window. cool.
    (i am also quite attracted to the idea of a smoke bath)

    Reply
  • 3. skunkcabbage  |  May 2, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Smoke bath is good. I learned that exterminating termites is extremely foolish, as they’re such a good source of protein, and their dung not only burns well, but will keep away mosquitos–and maybe take care of the aforesaid smoke bath.

    I enjoyed the Myth Busters “Ninja” show last week–apparently Hollywood embellished a few things. Go figure? The “pirate” episode was pretty good, too. Clearly I’m watching more TV than I ever have. The host/worker (Mike?) of Dirty Jobs actually narrates Deadliest Catch.

    Speaking of DC, it is sensational about severed fingers and men overboard. It fulfills the romanticizing function, nicely. I’m addicted.

    The last time I watched this much TV was during an adolescent infatuation with the newly arrived cable and MTV, in 1986. See “Poison” and “Motley Crue.” I wonder what it means that at this point that I watch the Dicovery channel?

    Oh yeah, Survivor Man is pretty good, too, though I prefer Man vs Wild, of the two.

    Reply

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