On Sunday night, I celebrated the New York Giants’ Super Bowl victory by watching Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide, on the History Channel, completely unaware that two nights later, I would be privy to viewing one of the most downright ridiculous shows I have ever seen in my life (and I’ve seen a lot of ’em!), courtesy of the once-respectable (been using that phrase a lot lately) network, Animal Planet. It appears that even though every fact-based channel in television history has launched their own search for one of the world’s most elusive creatures, never finding anything, this channel had to go and make a regular series out of it, broadcasting 10 episodes last year, and is now set to air them all again every Sunday night at 10pm. I wait with baited breath to see if they will be new, because perhaps, they might finally find him (or her)…ah, who am I kidding? They’re going to find absolutely nothing.
That seems to be the M.O of all these shows, leading you on this wild goose chase through the woods at night, with cheesy night-vision effects, and then stopping to gawk at every sound they hear, claiming that even though there are hundreds of other animals in that same forest, it must have been Bigfoot. The most epic of these types of shows has to go to the History Channel for Monsterquest, a program where they would attempt to find a multitude of different fairy tales using the latest technology. In every episode of this show, regardless of creature, they would spend the first 55 minutes selling you their non-existent evidence, only to take the last five to explain why everything they found was either a case of mistaken identity, or, their favorite word, inconclusive, which leaves die-hards with the slight chance that maybe what they found was real, and leaves the rest of us face-palming in our chairs. Perhaps the most miraculous aspect of Monsterquest was that they actually got four seasons (and 50 episodes!) out of it. While the first two were pretty interesting, the last two became very desperate, and actually had me thinking that I could finally get on television by calling them and saying there were giant squirrels roaming around in my backyard at night—perhaps they would have sent a camera crew.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Oh, what was it? Bigfoot! That’s right! The only show to even come remotely close to not looking ridiculous in their quest was In Search Of…, from the 1970’s, hosted by Leonard Nimoy. They used scientific methods and reasoning to try to explain the mystery behind Bigfoot, and while they never found anything, at least they did not send idiots into the woods screaming and banging sticks on trees. What’s that, you ask? Well, when the high technology of these “experts” fail, they have to resort to man’s primal instincts of looking like a fool for all the world to see. Obviously, because a real Bigfoot has been recorded, we know what it sounds like, so people like this can then scream at the top of their lungs, in an attempt to mimic the giant hairy beast and get it to come out of hiding. There is a warning attached to the video at the link I just posted: I am not responsible if you die laughing. And then there is the other method, and that is knocking trees around with giant sticks. The reason for this? You tell me. Nothing ever happens except a loud echo, which they then use as evidence because they say that it was a creature answering them back.
An intellectually stimulating marathon of Finding Bigfoot last night showed both of those aforementioned items in action, with the screaming literally almost making me choke to death while laughing. I found it hard to believe that these were grown men and women, standing there, looking like idiots. This is nothing new, but perhaps I expected better from Animal Planet. Part of me wants to watch more, just so I will get my comedy fill for the night. The other part of me says, these will just end up being the same predictable garbage as every other attempt: the eyewitnesses who won’t back down from what they saw 40 years ago, repeating ad nauseum, “I know what I saw!”, even though they were probably on acid at the time.
Then there are the grainy pictures, and videos that get blurry at all the right times. It’s been done before, over, and over, and over again, and still, people keep watching, hoping that something will be found. Well, first of all, don’t you think that if this creature, who people have been seeking for thousands of years, was actually found, it would be on the news first, and not a show that was filmed months ago? And do you really think that a show, whose sole purpose is to find Bigfoot, would actually find it, because to do so would be the end of the show? Come on now, you know the answers to these questions. No one will ever find anything. No footprint or hair sample will ever be proven. I love the paranormal and unexplained as much as anyone, and would love to believe that there is a creature like Bigfoot out there, but it will never be found, and certainly not by people like Cliff Barackman, Jim McCoy, Ranae Holland, and Matt Moneymaker (yes, that is his real name; ironic, no?), the humble hosts of Finding Bigfoot.
At least the people have spoken: this show currently holds a 2.9 rating on IMDB (not quite low enough if you ask me) as well as a message board filled with “WTF” comments. The only thing that worries me is that the 193 users who voted to account for the rating might actually be in the minority.