Having spent the past few weekend's intermittingly diving into Deadliest Catch marathons, I've finally admitted to myself that yes, I do have a reality TV show problem.
Don't read me wrong. It's only two shows deep (what the hell is this Mole thing I keep seeing advertised?!) and one of them is off for the summer. But the other one is just about to begin. The History Channel's Ice Road Truckers.
For those who don't know about it, here's the basic premise of last season. A band of six or so truck drivers haul mining equipment and supplies to remote diamond mines in Canada's Northwest Territory over frozen lakes.
You read that right. Trucks hauling tons of material on ice, over kill-you-in-seconds ice water for seemingly endless hours. There's money at stake, lots of it, just like in Deadliest Catch. A four-month endeavor could pay a year's salary.
So what's new with season 2?
Diamond minds are out. The six truckers -- including holdovers Hugh "Polar Bear" Rowland, Alex Debogorski, Rick Yemm and Drew Sherwood (man he was pathetic in season 1) -- will be servicing natural gas pipelines via a thoroughfare from Yellowknife, Canada to the Arctic Circle. We're talking a cool 1,000 miles of driving trucks over frozen lakes and get this, the Arctic Ocean.
"It's spectacular," series creator Thom Beers told Variety. "As they drive out over the frozen ocean, you can see the waves underneath the ice."
Here's the fascination with this show, IMHO. No doubt these guys are being filmed for fame, but they're also living. The show is not the means to an ends (at least yet). There's no immediate spinoff TV career -- like Elisabeth Hasselbeck -- at stake. They're just doing what they do, and we're watching. Plus, when you sit in an office most of the day, it's a bizzaro release to see people actually putting something at stake to make a livelihood. It's like coming home and washing your car or doing dishes -- sometimes it's therapeutic to simply do a physical action. That's what watching these shows is like and it's nice to see our working world hasn't been completely encased in steel, glass and endless YouTube surfing.
Here's what Beers said about what he looks for in a truck driver.
"Most coveted, he says, is the hardened old pro. 'A guy I interviewed 20 years ago in Costa Rica said this to me, and I always look for this: He told me, "I don't know the answer to your question, and I don't pretend to know, but I'm going to tell you anyway." That's what we're looking for -- that guy who has an opinion on everything.'"
So he's looking for a Skip Bayless with a beard, nasty tobacco habit. I can buy that.
And I'll be buying this new season. Regardless of whether we see anybody actually go through the ice.
"I went through the ice a few time, you betcha," Hugh Rowland told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "You just get ready to kiss your [behind] goodbye. If you go through and go in the water, you're not coming out. People die in less than 18 seconds just from the shock."
Doubt we'll see any of that, but if we do it will be recapped here each Monday morning.
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