The New Nature Shows

One of my roles with the Queen of Bohemia is that of MST3K host: I am Joel in a bungalow spaceship and it’s my job to crack wise about whatever we are watching on TV at the moment. Luckily, I am actually pretty good at this – it is apparently my one true talent besides spelling, pity it’s not monetizable in any way that I can figure – and since I basically haven’t watched TV for decades, there is plenty that is new and fresh and horrifying for me to comment on.

A lot of the time we watch nature shows. Nature shows have changed since Jacques Cousteau and his kin – “et now, ze cousine Francois weell deeescend into zee depfs. Zere he weell find ze eluzive zhelllifeesh. Eeet is a leetle too dark for zhe cameras but you can zhust make out Francois zhere, and zee tiger shark over zhere. . ” – or Mutual of Omaha – “My assistant Jim will now wrestle the leopard to the ground and put it in the capture sack while I sit 200 yards back in the land rover. Ouch! That must have hurt! Jim is too high risk for insurance, but. . ” – and they’re not even like David Attenborough any more – “The magnificence of this simple creature is equalled only by its magnificent appetite of grandeur. We will now observe as the cameraman has a small orgasm over an incredibly lengthy, sustained shot of this grasshopper’s eye.”

Instead, they are sort of dimwitted game shows, tons of frenetically edited footage with zippy cheap graphics and inserts of, like, Guy with Hat and Blonde Woman (they seem to have no other qualifications) talking back and forth about points. “Hey that grizzly gets 12 points for voracious appetite! Go bear!” Fuck that. Either I want their jobs – I too can wear a hat and talk about bears, you would be amazed – or I want them to shut up and play calm, elegant footage of animals who are ideally not doing anything in which anyone gets hurt at all. I get angst ridden when the animals are getting hurt and the fact that there are entire shows essentially based on “Toughest Animal Combat” (is that a show? It probably is. I try to block out the titles as much as possible.) makes me more than a little ill.

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