Sunday, June 23, 2013


I've twice written complaint letters to Animal Planet. In one, I lamented the constantly sinking quality of their programming and how I didn't look forward to the day where they became similar to MTV and TLC in that everyone would forget what the channel's name really meant since their programming had become so divergent from it (I've written a similar letter to Cartoon Network noting the increasing number of non-animated shows). The other one was when "Finding Bigfoot" and ads for it were nearly consuming the whole of Animal Planet. I basically stated that Bigfoot isn't real and that by airing it nonstop, they're contributing the plummeting IQ of the nation. Plus, it echoed several ideas in the first letter. Each time, I sent my letter off, hoping my vain attempt to reach them was one of many; so many that, cumulatively, they would have some influence.

Fast forward to around 2am today.....

It had been a long but fun Saturday night and I came home to the last few minutes of the late run of "Tanked," a reality show about extreme aquarium builders. I nearly fell asleep with all my clothes on, face unwashed, teeth unbrushed, pills unconsumed. I shook myself and got up to get ready for bed. Once in a while, I like to sleep on my couch. I don't have a TV in my room because I personally don't believe in it. I grabbed my blanket and pillow, plopped on the couch and made myself comfortable. By this time "Too Cute!" had come on. I watched the diabetes-inducingly adorable chronicle of three different mom and puppy families, one of boxers, one of cairn terriers, and one of shar-pei, as they made their way from birth to adolescent puppyhood. I don't remember what program came on after, but once it was over, I curled up with my blankie and pillow then dozed off.

When I awoke I caught the tail end of another favorite show of mine, "Weird, True, and Freaky," which features unusual stories about animals, often daring, arduous rescues. The last story featured a family dog that was stuck in a pipe and bunch of construction workers trying to free him. They got him out, he ran to his family's arms, and they all lived happily ever after.

I smiled, stretched and sat up, joyfully anticipating what was next. I was discordantly greeted with, "This time, on 'Stuffers'...." It's a reality show about taxidermists. Yes, you read that correctly. People bring in dead animals, plop 'em on the store counter, and tell the guy they want 'em stuffed. As per usual in "reality" shows, the process is over-dramatized, and the show goes into substories about stupid relationship problems, yadda yadda, then magically, the animals is stuffed, the client is happy, and all is well with the redneck world.

Naturally, I thought to my self, "Jesus fucking Christ, what the fuck is this? Goddamn, this channel has gotten lame!" After a few minutes, I got over my general irritation. Then, I thought back to my letters to Animal Planet. I had noticed that, recently, the Bigfoot shows had gone by the wayside and hoped at least some minute component of that was my letter and others like it. After contemplating a bit, I also remembered one of the sardonic comments I put in in the other letter. I recall having written something like, "What's next? 'Nessie Hunters?' 'Cockroach Ranch?' 'Teen Moms: Cat Edition?' 'X-TREME TAXIDERMY?'"

An arrogant thought, I know, yet I can't help but wonder if my letters of anguish helped get "Finding Bigfoot" booted but, alas, inspired the travesty known as "Stuffers" to rise up in its place. Incidentally, Animal Planet now has a live streaming cockroach cam on their website.

Image stolen from who didn't steal it from someone else. Captioned by le me.

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