If you’re reading this article when I originally intended it to go up then you’ll know BattleBots is currently on a two week airing hiatus. If not, well then enjoy this article at the end of the season because putting it together was a major undertaking that took a lot longer than I anticipated because I had two weeks to write this plus the post for BattleBots S12 E11. Anyways for the sake of my mental health (and I guess my reputation??) let’s just pretend that this article was finished on time.
Back in 2016 when BattleBots was part of ABC’s programming lineup one of the things I absolutely hated about that channel was how poorly they promoted the show. This is ABC. This is fucking Disney money and they’re just casually letting Facebook videos of battles go viral and get tens of millions of views while never capitalizing on it once. To add salt to the wound if you were to go on ABC’s official website and go to their “Shows” page BattleBots wouldn’t even appear until several full scrolls down the page. Literally everything else on that shithole channel was being plugged over BattleBots so I took it upon myself to pick five of those shows, watch an episode of each, and write a snarky/scathing review of all of them (boy some of the language in this article hasn’t aged well!). That was the article that gave us the meme from I Can Find $3,000 in Your Home. Also yes that’s really the title of the show and if you don’t believe me click the link and see for yourself.
Now that BattleBots is on Discovery Channel it’s being treated with the dignity it deserves. Discovery has long been a haven for shows about engineering; after all it’s the channel that gave us Mythbusters. We’re five seasons deep into BattleBots‘ run on Discovery and the train looks like it’s not stopping any time soon and I’m relieved because once ABC got cold fucking feet I was worried BattleBots was just going to become yet another distant memory cut down before its prime and favored less than shows like All My Gay Friends Are Getting Married. (Also a real name of a show, again check the article if you don’t believe me it’s a good read!)
One way that fans today are able to watch BattleBots is by subscribing to Discovery’s streaming platform Discovery+. For the low price of five smackeroonies a month you can get episodes of BattleBots as they air and watch along as if you were still anchored to an overpriced cable package full of shit you’ll never watch. That got me wondering though, just what else is on Discovery+? You actually get access to several channels’ lineups, not just Discovery’s. I subscribed to Discovery+ to find out and in this article I’ve chosen seven “competing” shows vying for your attention over BattleBots. The rules for this excursion are simple: I’ve hand-selected an episode from each show, limited to one show per channel, and I will watch it in full and write about it here. Some of these I’ve seen before. Others I haven’t. I spun the wheel and now you can suffer with me! Onward!
THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND (HISTORY CHANNEL)
Nova Scotia, Canada
Trivia: Treasure hunters have been obsessed with Oak Island since the 1700’s.
RICK LAGINA & THE FELLOWSHIP
a.k.a. “The Michigan Group”
Trivia: They bought Oak Island from former owner Dan Blankenship, no relation to Kenny Blankenship.
SEASON 9, EPISODE 29
The Curse of Oak Island premiered on History Channel in 2014. It’s a show where the unfortunately named Marty and Rick Lagina rip up the topography of a private island they bought in hopes of finding rumored buried treasure. The brothers first heard about the treasure as kids in a 1965 issue of Readers Digest and like normal rational people they never outgrew their childhood fascination leading to them buying an entire fucking island in Canada just to dig holes in search of some shit that’s probably not even there because people come up with stories about pirate treasure all the goddamned time. That doesn’t stop Marty and Rick though who’ve set up a base of operations on the island and plan the logistics of heavy equipment rentals and hiring dig teams to excavate what amounts to a whole lot of fucking nothing on their massive geological money sink. Oh yeah, there’s a “Money Pit” on Oak Island alright, it’s the hole you idiots threw your money down when you bought the land off of the estate of the former owner.
The episode I chose for this review is a bit of a cheat; it’s a “top ten” breakdown of the crew’s top finds on the island. There are 166 episodes of this goddamned show and I guarantee all of them are 50 minutes’ worth of these dumbasses digging up fuck all while saying “we’ll get it next time stay tuned”. As such I chose to skip to the good parts. I want to know what kinds of junk these bozos have actually found on their property as well as their harebrained explanations for how said things got to Oak Island. Before I started this episode I knew that “actual buried treasure oh my fucking god” would not appear on the list. This clip show is hosted by Matty Blake who introduces this episode as happening before the premiere of season 9. If that’s the case Matty why is this episode 929 and not in the 800’s? Someone at History Channel fucked up. Anyways Matty primes us by saying the following finds are proof that the dig team is closer than ever to solving the “ultimate answers”. Bro they’re digging for buried treasure that doesn’t exist not attempting to find the proof that there’s life after death.
Before we even get into the goddamned countdown there’s a lengthy segment narrated by several notable locals – including some moron who is noted as an “Oak Island historian” – talking about the skepticism surrounding the treasure. The historian guy literally says “people say they never found anything in the past they’ll never find anything now”. Yeah dude, that’s exactly what we are saying. You’ve gotta be out of your fucking Nova Scotian mind to look dead into the camera and basically say “well with 8 prior seasons of a reality TV show about a treasure hunt funded by History Channel and the landowner’s personal wealth they may not have found a single piece of treasure anywhere on the island yet but I believe they are on the right track”. Literally shut the fuck up. Stop talking. You’re a fucking idiot. There is no treasure on Oak Island and if there is I’ll print this entire article out, roll it up, shove it all the way up my ass and upload the video to YouTube. The current owners of Oak Island are going to squander their entire personal fortune digging holes on an uninhabited island and I’m going to mock them every single step of the way because they deserve it. They’re the kind of dipshits who would unironically subscribe to Twitter Blue.
Anyways the list has finally started and kicking it off at #10 is what appears to be a Chinese coin. It’s roughly a circular object with a square-ish hole in the center of it like an old Chinese coin you’d see in an antique shop. Replica coins of this type are still manufactured because they are used to make trinkets that are symbols of good luck. Also idiot tourists will buy them because it’s Eastern ergo it’s mysterious. They get a coin expert to look at their find and he says it could be 1,300-1,400 years old. Cue suspenseful rising sting chords while the owner of Oak Island looks shocked. Hard cut to Matty in a hosting segment talking to a man named Billy Gerhardt who is part of Gerhardt Property Improvement. This man is clearly involved with the digging to some degree and I assume he’s the owner of the company and yet this portly gentleman arrived to the shoot dressed in jorts and a stretched out T-shirt. Matty picks his brain about how the Chinese coin could’ve possibly arrived on Oak Island. That’s some dangerous territory you’re treading into Matty because Billy looks like the type of dude who has opinions on Chinese people that can’t be aired on television uncensored. Ultimately nothing comes of this brief interview and we never get a follow-up on the Chinese coin they just move right on into the next thing on the list which is literally straight up a piece of wood.
The show introduces Gary Drayton to us who is a “metal detection expert”. Technically anyone with the disposable income to purchase a metal detector can be considered an expert on account of the detector doing all the hard work. He found the Chinese coin mentioned earlier and he also finds a garnet brooch buried next to a small tree. Matty the narrator says this is proof they are close to “the jackpot”. This find also marks the third time this episode that something has been described as a “bobby dazzler”. We are only three items deep into this list. They take the garnet to a university gemologist because that’s apparently a thing and he says “yup it’s a garnet”. He also says it could be 500 years old. I’ve said some shit about the people on this show but I’ll admit this is arguably an piece of actual treasure and yet it’s only #8 on the list? What the fuck is #1 then, a goddamned mummy? Moving on Gary whips out his metal detector once more and it beeps and chirps on top of some rotting leaves. He digs up a second small brooch that actually has some gold contents in its metal. They don’t say anything about the red “gem” in the center of it so maybe that’s fake but Rick takes the time in the forensics lab to say “we’ve found treasure on Oak Island” before fist bumping his colleagues. The person doing the analysis just sorta says a half-hearted “yay” because she can’t be bothered to put up with this shit. Gary calls the brooch a fucking bobby dazzler. That’s four times now.
Moving on we get a segment showing us some footage from a previous season where this guy dumps a mixture of mud and sediment over a mesh grating so he can spray it with a hose and sort through the resulting mixture of rocks and other things to see if there are any loose coins or other items of interest. This sludge was dug up from a drill near the famed Money Pit and as he’s rinsing off the dirt he picks up this random piece of nothing and insists it’s old leather. Then he finds something else that the person watching him (who’s not doing fucking anything) says is just plastic but the digger insists it’s possibly parchment. They get it analyzed and somehow concoct this theory that it’s book binding and that somewhere down in the Money Pit are important historical documents. Hey guys, just stepping in here to speak my two cents (two cents that you haven’t even found on the goddamned island yet), but if your drill is apparently sucking up what is allegedly leather and parchment then those “important historical documents” are probably long gone by now. They’ve been mulched. Also if you literally hit the documents you would’ve found a hell of a lot more pieces of them in your sludge. You picked out two pieces of nothing and willed into existence through pure imagination alone that the unedited version of The Bible or whatever the fuck is down there. I’m just glad Gary wasn’t there to call your finds another fucking bobby dazzler.
While doing some digging in a dammed off portion of the island’s coast the dig team hits a piece of lumber. They stop using the backhoe and start using shovels and ultimately uncover what looks like some kind of docking platform for a boat. It’s just a bunch of logs placed in a row together. They get a slice of the lumber analyzed by a dendochronologist. That’s just a fancy term for someone who literally just counts the rings on a tree to find out how old it is. He says it’s 1770’s lumber. Someone exclaims “that’s 25 years before the discovery of the Money Pit”. Look, explorers parked their ships all over the fucking place. Finding a slipway isn’t proof positive that there’s treasure on your land, it’s proof that at one point someone parked a ship there… with or without treasure in tow. Probably without. Actually, most certainly without.
Gary’s back with his stupid metal detector so I already know what’s coming. He’s gonna say it. He’s looking for stuff on the beach with Rick and his equipment goes off but all they find is a bottle cap. They toss it aside but guys what if that bottle cap came from China during the Ding Dong Dynasty and it’s evidence that the Emperor preferred Pepsi over Coke? They’re quick to dismiss their junk find completely oblivious to the fact that it’s entirely possible that the jewelry they found earlier could’ve also been there by random chance just like the bottle cap. Some visitor taking a tour of the island losing something. It wasn’t buried underground it was basically on the surface. It was dropped there, not buried. Gary’s thing beeps a second time and they dig up a metal cross. Rick insists he’s seen the cross’ shape before in a Knights Templar prison in France. Okay, that’s oddly specific but sure Rick let’s play pretend. Gary says the cross could be medieval and estimates its age to be from anywhere between the 1200’s to 1600’s. Nice deduction work Gary that’s a window of only four hundred fucking years. Once again they drag out an expert to take a look at their finding and they’ve found a scientist who looks like a French version of Matt Damon. He says that by comparing the isotopes in the lead that the cross is made from he thinks it’s from pre-fourteenth century France. Cue shock and awe from The Fellowship because they were just in France a week ago looking at that Templar prison. What a coincidence! It’s almost uncanny!
We’re in the top three things now so these had better be ass shattering because so far you people have dug up a bunch of shit that the producers could’ve easily buried ahead of time just to lure people into watching your dumb ass show. #3 is a cobblestone paved road underneath the swamp area of the island, lending credence to the old theory that the swamp was man-made. Okay, so? You found a rocky path. You also found a ship landing zone. That only proves that people were here at one point, perhaps to establish a colony but whoever it was pussied out when they realized there was abso-fucking-lutely nothing on this godforsaken island. #2 is a cobblestone “wharf” also found in the swamp. That’s two things you found in the same swamp and they’re the same shit. You’re just stringing things out in this list because you’ve ultimately found nothing. YOU DRAINED AN ENTIRE FUCKING SWAMP FOR NOTHING. Number one better make me cum or else I’m going to stress eat.
In the ultimate example of copping out that I’ve ever fucking seen #1 on the list is “silver in the Money Pit” with a big ass asterisk next to it because they didn’t dig anything up they just “found” some on a major technicality. One of the geologists involved with the dig site, Dr. Ian Spooner, suggested that they take a water sample from some of the over 100 bore holes in the Money Pit area to test them chemically. His hypothesis – and this is just that a hypothesis – is that the water should reflect the chemical makeup of what’s surrounding it. He brings everyone into “the war room” to reveal his findings. He says there’s silver in the Money Pit because it turned up on the water tests. Rick asks how much silver is needed to get that kind of result; he asks “is it a handful or a dump truck load”. Dr. Spooner puts his PhD on the line and says it’s a dump truck load. Seconds later a camera angle that shows the results of the tests reveals literally trace amounts of silver in a couple of the bore holes. Most of them show absolutely nothing. What your results tell me, Dr. Spooner, is that you’ve found outliers. You’ll find contamination and odd results no matter where you test. If every bore hole said there was silver there you’d maybe make me skeptic at best but all you have is a bunch of no’s and what amounts to barely even a maybe. You’ve found nothing. There is no silver in the Money Pit. You’re all a bunch of goddamned fools destroying the ecology of an island for your own perceived personal gain and the fame that comes with having a shitty reality TV show.
Matty closes out the episode with a rambling finisher that ends with “when season 9 premieres we might just have to update this list” and that sets the tone for the entire Curse of Oak Island show because it’s just that, a show. I ripped into this stupid program in my BattleBots trip report from last year so pardon me if I am repeating myself but they will never find the treasure on Oak Island both because there isn’t any and because if they did find the treasure then they wouldn’t have a show anymore now would they? The Curse of Oak Island can’t find the treasure for the same reason why none of the “Hunting Bigfoot” shows have ever found Bigfoot; once you solve the mystery you can’t keep cashing in on it. There’s nothing on Oak Island. The never was. Explorers or other people landed there at one point in time, that’s a fact. There is zero proof they buried treasure there. None, and yet these chucklefucks have popped holes in the island for 166 episodes. Whatever. It’s their land. They can waste their money if they want. I hope they spend themselves into destitution searching for something they will never find all because they heard about it in fucking Readers Digest.
WINNER: The literal curse of Oak Island.
FAMOUSLY AFRAID (TRAVEL CHANNEL)
Disgraced Talk Show Host
Trivia: Montell appeared in ads for MoneyMutual payday loans who offered loans with interest rates in excess of 1,300%.
The Dearly Departed
Trivia: Despite extensive folklore alleging to their existence there is no scientific proof that ghosts are real.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 3
The Curse of Oak Island ate up a lot of this article but that was my big lead-in; the rest of these shows will go by pretty quickly because there’s not as much meat on the bones and I can only call someone a “has been” “never was” so many times before it becomes tiresome. The next show on our journey through Discovery+ is Travel Channel’s Famously Afraid, a paranormal show that focuses on celebrities and their experiences with the unexplained. You might be wondering what this has to do with traveling and I can explain that pretty succinctly. Travel Channel has been victim to a phenomenon called “channel drift”, something that happens when the focus of a given television channel shifts from what it was originally intended to be. Cases involve TNN (The Nashville Network) moving from country and Americana-oriented programming to, uh, wrestling and Robot Wars. We’ll see the notion of channel drift come back to haunt this article later but the short of it is once Travel Channel aired Ghost Adventures there was no turning back and now it’s the go-to place for all things paranormal as stupid as that sounds.
I chose S1 E3 of Famously Afraid because it’s an easy target. Montell Williams. I’ve never seen the show before but I can certainly spin you a tale about ol’ Montell. He’s actually a veteran which is uniquely painful to me because I’m the type to really care about our country’s vets and how they are taken care of so for me this is a matter similar to separating the art from the artist. There’s Montell the veteran, whom I respect, and then there’s Montell the slimy tabloid talk show host that really gets under my skin. Also aside from Howie Mandell he’s the only person remotely “famous” in this show that’s allegedly about famous people having run-ins with spooky things. I guess he needed the paycheck.
As Montell begins his story he sets the time and place for 1991, or just after the start of The Montell Williams Show. While getting ready for a show he’s introduced to psychic and scummy fraudster Sylvia Browne who says she wants to make an appearance on the show. Oh yeah, this episode is fucking going places. Montell says to his producer that she’ll make for a nice Halloween episode because he doesn’t really buy into the whole “psychic” thing. I want you to dog ear this topic because we’ll get back into it at the end of this section but for now and for the sake of not writing another 4,000 words of nonsense let’s continue on with Montell’s journey. His show is going to film on location on the Queen Mary a large cruise ship that is harbored in California that you can rent rooms on and stay overnight in. It’s basically a hotel of sorts now? But the Queen Mary has no shortage of ghost stories about it and that’s why it’s the perfect place to bring a complete sham of a person like Sylvia Browne.
When Montell and his crew get to the Queen Mary they are welcomed in by the ship’s curator who also acts as a sort of tour guide showing them around the vessel while the camera crew picks up their B-roll shots. As they pass by a closed door Sylvia peeps inside the window and asks if she can go in. The curator opens the door and everyone is led into a side room with piping and machinery. Montell says the room is hot but after a moment the curator shivers all of a sudden. Then Montell shivers! He says it was like being hit with a cold blast. Look man, it’s like yawning; when one person does it everyone does it. This shit is psychosomatic, you’re in an unfamiliar place and you’re impressionable. That’s why you shivered. Also Sylvia is right there so you know she’s just going to play off of this bullshit. As Montell’s shiver subsides he insists he sees a “vaporous image” that he describes as feminine. We get some great cuts of the Montell lookalike in the reenactment freaking out like this is some kind of cut rate horror movie while Sylvia’s lookalike looks more like someone’s grandmother who got lost on her way to the fucking bingo hall.
Sylvia responds to Montell and says “that was Sharon Greene” with this matter-of-fact delivery that sounds like absolute horse shit. Montell asks for clarification and Sylvia is all “yeah she died in the swimming pool here”. Sure Sylvia, and if you look really closely in The Wizard of Oz one of the munchkins hangs themselves! The curator steps in and asks how Sylvia knew there used to be a pool where they are because he says they closed the pool because that girl drowned. Fuck off. People drown in accidents all the time and they don’t close pools permanently because of it. They retrieve the body, drain the water, clean the pool, and by the next business day people are swimming and pissing in that pool like nothing happened at all. There’s still 36 minutes left in this episode and the story is already over. Fucking how?
Montell says rather than stay in that room to try and catch the apparition again he wants to get out and film the séance with Sylvia because they only have about 90 minutes left to shoot. Probably the smartest thing anyone currently standing in that room has said. The crew goes to the ship’s ballroom to set up for their big shoot. Sylvia wanders around “reading” everyone in the room because she says this is how she prepares for a séance. Montell asks her if she can feel any spirits in the room and like clockwork there’s a sudden thud. The reenactment shows the table move but that’s not what Montell says, he just says there was a sudden sound. If the table moved he probably would’ve said so? I don’t doubt that he heard a noise because he’s on a giant fucking ship. Things make noise on a ship. It’s not unexplained, it’s the fucking ship. He then says one of the candelabras goes out. Okay, you all have sectioned off an area of the ballroom with massive curtains and everyone just heard a noise that made them jump. People are moving around the room and causing the air to move with them. You didn’t notice it because you were spooked by the noise but I guarantee someone walked by those candles and the motion of the air circulating behind them blew the candles out. I wasn’t even there and I can tell you with 110% certainty that’s what happened. Whatever you do don’t fucking ask Sylvia for her input.
Sylvia conducts her nearly hour long séance and rambles on about people who supposedly died on the boat. She’s making all this shit up because she knows she can get away with it because there’s no way to fact check a single piece of it. Montell buys it hook, line, and sinker because he’s mentally in an altered state from being spooked in the engine room (not the fucking pool area) and from the loud sound earlier. In his testimony he says this experience changed his mind about the paranormal. This man’s entire outlook on the world was ruined in a single afternoon by a sudden thud on a goddamned boat. Montell says prior to that he’d never experienced anything remotely close to paranormal. Yeah dude and you never will again either because it’s fucking bunk. He goes on to wax emotionally about how maybe him “seeing” the apparition in the engine room was somehow able to let the spirit rest in peace by acknowledging her or whatever. Well apparently Sylvia knew the dead bitch was there the entire time and didn’t say a fucking word despite her literally being there to talk to dead people. Doesn’t that raise a couple of red flags, Montell? That shriveled up cunt expertly read the room and played you like a fucking fiddle.
Montell was so moved by what happened that day that Sylvia Browne wound up becoming a recurring guest on his talk show. Sylvia was able to spread her bullshit to a wider audience and hawk her shitty fucking books while erroneously telling desperate people looking for loved ones that the people they were looking for were dead. She was wrong every single fucking time. In a now famous video she interrupts the question of a grieving woman to tell her that her boyfriend drowned. When the woman finishes what she was saying she says he died in the September 11 attacks and that his body was never found. She wanted closure. What she got was this hag belittling her struggles and then doubling down on it while fucking Montell played devil’s advocate and suggested perhaps the water that the firemen were spraying is what drowned him. You can fuck right off to the ends of the goddamned universe for that. Sylvia Browne was a con artist and a liar. She’s been dead for a decade and I’m glad she is. Fuck her, and fuck you Montell for buying into her bullshit.
Anyways my question about how this show could go on for another 30 minutes is answered because this episode actually has stories from multiple celebrities and Kate Flannery (from The Office) is next in line. I’m only here to dunk on Montell though so I peaced out of this show and went to watch the next one in this article.
THE COLONY (DISCOVERY CHANNEL)
The Scourge of the Earth
Trivia: As of March 12, 2023 the population of the world is estimated to be 7,942,645,086.
A Catastrophic Epidemic
Trivia: As of March 12, 2023 there have been 6,811,869 deaths worldwide from COVID-19.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 1
“We are on the edge of a global catastrophic disaster,” says Adam Montella, a homeland security advisor, in the opening seconds of The Colony. He rattles off all the ways the world could potentially end and his monologue is capped off with narrator Thom Beers rambling on about how everything you know is gone and how Los Angeles is its own ground zero. If Los Angeles falls then I am willing to accept that loss. Also if my workplace vanishes I’ll consider that a net positive. So far I’m not sold, Thom. The Colony is a 2009 staged “reality” show where ten people live in a simulated post-apocalypse after the collapse of civilization. This show didn’t last very long but apparently it has its superfans because on its Wikipedia page the fucking address of where they filmed this show is listed: 516 S Anderson St, Los Angeles, CA 90033. According to Google Maps there’s a “Lucha Underground Arena” there now so where this show was filmed there are now Mexican luchador wrestlers. Sounds like that’s more fun.
As the show goes these ten “survivors” will be tested to see if they can rebuild society without any electricity, running water, or communication to the outside world. That would break the illusion because hilariously right down the road is an AM gas station where you can buy all the frivolities of modern living for a slightly inflated price. Can’t have anyone wandering down the road to pick up a danish and a Monster. The selected participants all have varying backgrounds so that they comprise a fair slice of the population which is why there’s a fucking rocket scientist among the normal ones like electrician and nurse. They’ll be staying in an abandoned factory and have to survive using what’s around them including anything they can scavenge. There’s a cut to one of the survivors taking what appear to be oranges out of an ice chest so naturally it’s safe to assume that there’s plenty of supplies and shit hidden around the property by the production team. They’re taking the Junkyard Wars approach to doing this show.
Oh, and there’s also a staged “gang” of bandits that will occasionally fuck with the survivors. Gotta be weird to be a survivor and know that these raiders are literally just paid actors who are there to dick around and pose absolutely zero threat. That’s why this show is stupid.
The experiment is now underway. The first thing the survivors are subjected to is sleep deprivation; they are kept awake for 30 hours in what appears to be a dingy shed. Sounds fun. They immediately go to “phase two” which is looting and as the camera zooms out we get to see the outside facade of a closed down Montgomery Ward. Now that takes me back! They get 15 minutes to scavenge whatever they can find and as Thom the narrator says this one of the survivors walks around carrying bottled sodas and someone else finds a plastic case of ramen noodles. You know, things that they used to sell at Montgomery fucking Ward. After just 10 minutes the gang shows up and tugs on someone’s backpack so they all leave. Up next is an eight mile trek down the Los Angeles “river” which looks more like a massive concrete drainage ditch to me but hey this is LA so I guess this shit passes for a river in the big city. I guess they didn’t just drop the survivors off at the abandoned factory. I’m sure all the people in the cars passing by were curious as to why there was a television camera crew following a bunch of homeless people. Must be Vice News, I’m sure they thought.
The survivors walk around LA while camera shots have the city in the background digitally altered to look ruined. It’s just like Fallout! Eventually they see “SANCTUARY” spray painted on a metal wall with an arrow pointing to the side. There’s an opening in a metal gate with another arrow pointing inside. John, the 49 year old computer programmer, says “it might be a trap”. Might be, or it could just be production telling you where to go. John scopes it out for all of ten seconds and then says it’s safe to go in. One of the survivors makes sure to close the gate behind them and says “we better close this”. Yes, because if this were a real survival scenario nobody else would see the words and arrows on the wall and wonder what was over there. Also it’s not like you’re going to successfully lose the marauders, they’re paid actors you dipshits.
Inside the factory is a bunch of shit you’d expect to see in such a facility. Raw materials, run down vehicles, automotive batteries, and electrical supplies. There’s no electricity to the dismay of the survivors as they fuck around with the breaker box but we already knew they’d be up shit creek without a paddle because narrator Thom told us earlier. There’s also an upstairs area with shelves and random items of canned food strewn about. Michael, the handyman, peeps it out and says “someone’s living here, or was living here”. Or, and hear me out on this one Mike, maybe someone in production went down to the local Kroger, bought some shit on Discovery Channel’s dime, and placed them up there for you to find. I guess I can’t really fault the cast though because they are trying to get into the act. They’re role playing, essentially. They have to get into the mindset that this is a real life or death situation however I think that’ll come naturally because these motherfuckers are going to be stuck in this facility for ten goddamned weeks. I don’t know about you but if I were one of these folks I’d be losing my mind by day three and they have to be there for seventy fucking days.
First order of business is a pretty obvious one: water. The producers didn’t leave any cases of bottled water in the Montgomery Ward so the survivors have to scrounge up some tools to fetch water. The only source is the LA “river”, the runoff stream of rainwater, oil from cars, and used condoms. They bring back several ice chests full of non-potable water and computer engineer John comes up with a plan to filter it by dumping the water through layered sand and charcoal before boiling it. Small problem though, there’s no fire and I don’t think Discovery Channel got the okay from LA authorities for what amounts to a bunch of squatters to light a fucking fire in an abandoned building. There’s a cutaway to someone boiling water in a pot on an electric hot plate which gives away the fact that all this necessary survival shit just so happens to be left in an automotive factory. You’re breaking the realism here.
Night falls on the factory and inside the survivors decide to start a trash can fire with the help of Michael the handyman. I guess I was wrong about the whole “squatters starting a fire in an abandoned building” thing. The ER nurse whose name I’ve already forgotten digs through their supplies to get “dinner” ready. Dinner consists of canned Vienna sausages, canned vegetables, and peanut butter. In other words this is just a normal dinner for my lazy ass. They explore the bathroom area of the factory and find toilets. With the encouragement of Michael and John, who are very rapidly becoming the “alphas” of this pack, they convince the ER nurse to try and manually flush the toilet by dumping some of the river water into the bowl. The toilet flushes and the crew celebrates. In a real disaster scenario it’s possible that the sewage pipes would have ruptured or otherwise been damaged so there’s always the possibility that their collective piss and shit could bubble back up but that’s not going to happen in this television show because the facilities are still connected to the greater LA sewer system.
The survivors bring out some wooden pallets, box springs, and fabric sheets to make a shitty bed. Another guy named John, a machinist who’s had a few interview cutaways so far, says this is like living in the third world. Spoiler alert John, the United States is already a third world country with a first world coat of paint! Michael is up doing security patrols because of course he is, he’s one of the breakout stars of this stupid show now. He hears some rustling outside and goes to investigate it armed with a large pipe since there’s no way in hell the producers would’ve hidden fucking firearms in the factory because the last thing Discovery Channel needs is a lawsuit from some sleep-deprived crazy person opening fire on actors portraying thugs. A lone wolf rattles one of the doors to the factory waking everyone up. Michael runs to the fence and scares him away. “You’re messing with my reality? I’m gonna mess with your reality!” Michael says triumphantly to the camera ignoring the fact that if this were a real scenario there’s a high probability that this stray survivor might be packing heat and would most certainly have no qualms doing far more than just “messing with your reality”.
This whole time there have only been six survivors. There’s supposed to be ten. I haven’t been paying close enough attention to this show. I’ll admit it’s not the most enthralling thing I’ve ever seen mostly because I’m unable to suspend my disbelief well enough to buy into it. Anyways four more people are introduced into the experiment one of them being Amy, a marine biologist. Her skill set seems especially useless in a survival scenario so when everyone turns to cannibalism she’d surely be the first to go. The newcomers bang on the newly chained up “SANCTUARY” door getting the attention of Michael and John the machinist who approach carrying a sledgehammer. Yeah dude, you’re really going to get the opportunity to smash someone’s skull in with that. The survivors inside loosen the chains on the factory doors prompting an outburst from Michael who says “this isn’t a welfare house”. Even in the post-apocalypse conservative values thrive. Life finds a way! Michael grills Joey, the person in the new group who spoke up, and tells him to set his rinky dink little pocket knife on the ground. This whole time Michael is insisting he’s not in charge but it sure as shit looks to me like he’s the one calling the shots here.
George, the doctor, sympathizes with the group of four survivors and lets them in. Michael basically makes them strip down to nothing and leave their clothes and belongings at the door. Real Lord of the Flies situation we’ve got going on here. We already know the new survivors are going to be incorporated into the existing six because the show’s synopsis literally says “ten survivors” so all this building tension is just fake shit for television as far as I’m concerned. Michael, still “not in charge”, has his little henchman John start sifting through the belongings of the new people. John apparently finds something suspicious but Joey objects and says “that looks like stealing to me” and this whole situation erupts while we hear from Morgan, who’s an aerospace engineer, say that what Michael and John did was unacceptable. Morgan, you would be the first to fucking die. The show cuts to commercial and when it comes back the survivors are eating mixed vegetables and “GhettO’s” from a can. We just glazed right over whatever John found in the guy’s luggage. Joey says he’s an ex-con who did six years in the clink for trafficking. Apparently this is not a massive red flag because John (the computer engineer John, not the other one) says it was “really brave” of Joey to come out and say that. No, it was really stupid because that makes him untrustworthy. He was involved in human trafficking you fucking moron, that means he’d sell all nine of you into slavery in a fucking heartbeat if push came to shove. Also Joey’s offense is a real thing that happened outside of this stupid show. Fuck Joey. “I never hurt anyone.” The fuck you did! You ruined lives you subhuman piece of trash. Forget what I said about the marine biologist, when cannibalism time comes around I’d be eating your ass first.
It’s day three now and the night prior some thugs on motorcycles showed up and banged on the doors with pipes again. Scary stuff. This pissed off Michael who started getting antsy with the other survivors. They didn’t take any bullshit from him. The following morning Michael lays out the plans to get power to the facility and this involves collecting all of the random automotive batteries from the factory grounds, daisy chaining them all together, and then running that 12V current through an inverter that just so happened to be hanging out in the factory. Vladimir, one of the four new survivors, helps out because he’s an engineer. They get a light to turn on and everyone celebrates though Michael warns that they have maybe about a week’s worth of juice in the batteries unless they find a generator to recharge them. I’m sure the producers have hidden one somewhere in the factory yard, dude. Just go out there and find it. Or steal an alternator from one of the junk cars, fuck I don’t know.
The producers are making a big deal out of the survivors’ water situation even though earlier in the show they literally just walked down to the LA river and filled up a bunch of buckets and coolers. There’s no urgency to this because they can just go back down there any fucking time they want. It starts to rain and Michael locates the storm drain pipe from the roof of the factory and slices it open to get to the rainwater. When the cameras cut to a shot outside there’s clearly some kind of plants growing in little gardens so I think what they’ve done is use a shot from later on in the show here because they had no B-roll of the goddamned rain. Way to spoil that you’ve also hidden some seeds or whatever the fuck in the factory too! In the last bit of footage in this episode the survivors use the excess rainwater to wash their clothes. John, the computer guy, takes things a step further and walks outside in the rain completely fucking nude and takes a shower. The cameras are rolling and they get lots of footage of his 49 year old penis that they have to blur out because even though Discovery Channel used to air shows about animals fucking this is just taking it a step too far. The credits roll as John compares the storm to a religious experience because he’s fucking crazy.
That closing shot of John in the rain is why I chose The Colony for the Discovery Channel portion of this article. I vividly remember turning on the TV to watch Mythbusters or something and catching the end of this show beforehand and BLAM there was John and his ding dong in my face. This was my first (and last) exposure to The Colony for 14 years. The image of John washing his balls with a filthy rag in the acidic Los Angeles rain has stuck with me for a decade and a half and this is something I never got closure on. It wasn’t exactly important to me to get that closure but at least I got to take the piss out of this bizarre staged reality show for yuks on a website about robot combat of all things. Will I watch the remainder of The Colony with my Discovery+ subscription? Probably not.
WINNER: John’s testicles.
CORN (MAGNOLIA NETWORK)
BROCK & JOHN
Trivia: Corn is the shortest program in the entirety of Magnolia Network’s listings.
The Magnolia Network is Warner Bros Discovery’s newest addition. Basically every single show on this shitty network is one of those “let’s build a cabin” shows. I’m talking shit like Barnwood Builders, Beach Cottage Chronicles, and we can’t forget the smash hit Maine Cabin Masters. These are all the shows your fucking mom watches during the day when she’s doing fuck all and House Hunters isn’t on HGTV at the time. I can’t stand shit like this and I can say without having watched any of these shows that a staggering zero of them are worth checking out. There are less depressing ways of wasting what little time you have on this dumb planet. You deserve better. While browsing this dreck one show stood out to me however: Corn. It’s just titled “Corn”, not “Homegrown Corn Stories of the Cabin” or some stupid shit like that. It’s 12 minutes long and it follows Brock and another asshole named John. The opening of the show introduces them as “two unlikely friends” who are exploring America but this appears to be the only show that features them? Did I mention it’s 12 minutes long?
So these guys are going to the 73rd annual Millersport Sweet Corn Festival in Ohio. Brock makes it a point to emphasize the “73rd“ part of the name to suggest it’s of some importance. It’s not, but these two idiots need something to fake banter about in the car because yeah this show opens with both of them riding in a car talking. How original. They spend a minute forty talking about dumb shit in the car leaving less and less time for me to learn about this goddamned corn festival. Brock brings up the “73rd“ thing again and says it’ll be the first thing that pops up if you search for it online. John says the Tony Awards comes up first meaning in the same year that people started getting awards for Broadway shows someone else was all “hey you know what’s really cool corn”. Amazing country we live in.
Brock and John meet Tamara who’s introduced as the “corn boss”. I hate her title. Tamara says on average the festival goes through 100,000 ears of corn. Jesus fucking christ how much corn are people eating at this thing? It’s just corn! I mean it’s good, especially Mexican roasted corn, but it’s still just fucking corn. Tamara shows off the fair’s corn husker which is a piece of machinery that’s 71 years old. She says it’s one of only two still around in the country. I guess the festival organizers keep using it for old time’s sake but if they’re running a hundred G’s of corn through that thing year in year out it’s gotta eventually just give up the ghost, right? I know equipment and things that were made back when the husker was built were literally built to last but everything has a breaking point. I’d imagine a modern corn husker would choke after about 20 ears of corn but this old tank has stripped literally millions of ears and it doesn’t even look cool while doing it.
John idly grabs an ear of corn and sets it on the machine’s intake rollers and immediately Tamara tells him he’s fucked it up and put it in backwards. Brock reflexively reaches for it but stops himself when he realizes he’s about to stick his hand into a 71 year old piece of industrial farm equipment. Tamara explains, and the cameras show, how the husker removes the majority of the leaves and silk from the ears of corn but there’s a volunteer table nearby to finish cleaning the rest of the mess off of the ears before they are cooked. The labor force they have cleaning ears of corn is comprised entirely of morbidly obese old women. One of them even has a fucking oxygen tank. She’s probably dead. There, I said what we’re all thinking. In the few years it’s been since whatever this is was filmed that woman has probably died. She spent her twilight years knocking on death’s door while shucking corn. She must really fucking like corn for it to literally be the last thing in her life.
The boys mosey on over to the open fields where some guys are cruising around in farm tractors. They’re getting ready for a tractor pull later on in the day and Brock asks if they can drive one of the vehicles. John takes the driver’s seat and asks if he has to sign a waiver. When they say no he jokingly says “so I’ll own this when something bad happens” because he’s an unlikable piece of shit from New York second only to Florida and maybe California when it comes to places in this country where pieces of shit come from. John does a couple of donuts in the tractor before Brock hooks it up to the weighted sled used for tractor pulling. John gives it the throttle and immediately pussies out when the tractor gives the slightest hint that it’s doing a wheelie letting all of the guys laugh at the soft-palmed city boy.
Brock finds his way to the table for the corn eating contest where the objective is to see who can eat an entire cob of corn the fastest. When they say eat the entire cob they mean every last kernel on the goddamned thing. Remember, this is the 73rd year these people have done this festival. Corn is serious fucking shit to them. For a lot of these people this is their only reprieve from an otherwise oppressive life in fucking Ohio. Brock sprinkles salt on his ear of corn and offers it to the person next to him who refuses. Since this is a TV show and Brock has the personality of a child who’s been raised solely by television he says the salt makes the corn go down easier. The official(?) says go and everyone starts eating their corn leading to the grossest 20 second montage I think I’ve ever seen. There’s just something about watching someone else eat corn off the cob quickly that’s just disgusting. It’s like they’re sucking the corn off of it or something, I don’t know. The winner is the person next to Brock who turned down his offer of salt busting the myth that salt makes the corn go down easier.
The rest of the corn show is spent with Brock and John partaking in some carnival fare. They ride one of those janky up and down rides and John, while holding a GoPro to his face, says he wants to get off the ride because he wouldn’t know fun if it hit him in the face and asked him to eat an ear of corn as quickly as possible. Brock sinks a free throw in one of those rigged basketball games and hits a plate with a baseball hard enough to knock down one of the hanging prizes. He throws the second ball so hard that it bounces back and hits John in the face so I take back that thing I said about him not knowing fun if it hit him in the face because it sort of just did. Brock says he wants to win a giant pig but instead he walks away with a pink otter and an oversized stuffed ear of corn.
Corn is over seemingly as quickly as it started because like I said it’s only 12 minutes long. I have no idea what this “show” is supposed to be because 12 minutes isn’t long enough to be an episode of a proper TV show and it’s definitely not long enough to stand on its own as a special program of some sort. It’s the only show of its kind on Magnolia Network because there’s not like a follow-up called Wheat or whatever. From the way this show was put together I assume the creators expect us to already know who John and Brock are? I have no idea who these two idiots are but the vibes I got from them is that Brock is a manchild and John is just an asshole. They make me feel like I could have my own show on Magnolia Network if this is where the bar is set.
ESCAPING POLYGAMY (LIFETIME NETWORK)
Having Multiple Wives
Trivia: “Polygamy” is a general term for multiple marriages. Having multiple wives specifically is called “polygyny”.
The 45th State
Trivia: Mormonism is the most common faith in Utah comprising about 55% of the population.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 5
I can hear the channel ident in my head now, “Lifetime, television for women.” My mom was into this shit when I was a kid because a lot of the trashy talk shows and things that she watched aired on Lifetime. Nowadays it’s the channel for true crime stories about women and/or their children being kidnapped, beaten, murdered, raped, or some combination of the four. Despite a lot of the channels on Discovery+ suffering from the aforementioned channel drift Lifetime has managed to hold its own, it’s remained a markedly women’s network. The same can’t be said for Oxygen who went full on into true crime and abandoned their vaginal roots. Lifetime’s programming dabbles in a little bit of everything except with a woman’s touch. Lifetime doesn’t have American Pickers, it has Picker Sisters, for example. It’s basically the exact same show just with a couple of women going around sifting through other people’s hoards buying antiques of disputable value.
Escaping Polygamy is a spicy one. “Polygamy”, for the uninitiated, is the practice of having multiple spouses. Having multiple wives specifically is called “polygyny” and having multiple husbands is called “polyandry”. Polyandry is nowhere near as common as polygyny because like hell are a bunch of men all going to share the same pussy. When I say “polygamy” in the context of this show I mean it in reference to the shameful and disgusting practice of a man taking multiple wives because that’s the context in which this show is using the term as well. Escaping Polygamy introduces us to three women. Andrea is first and she says her father is John Daniel Kingston. Okay, weird piece of trivia to give out when you first meet someone but I’ve heard weirder shit. Jessica is next and her father is also John. Shanell is last and much like the worst ever retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears her father is the same motherfucker. I see the pattern now. I see the horrible, cum-encrusted, disgusting pattern. This guy’s a Mormon and he has a ton of wives.
John Daniel Kingston belongs to a religious group known as the Davis County Cooperative Society. Since that’s not foreboding enough allow me to introduce you to them under their own self-given nickname: The Order. Now we’re dealing with a proper cult. This Kingston shit runs deep because the current Trustee-in-Trust of the denomination is Paul Elden Kingston – same last name – who allegedly had as many as 40 wives and this sick fuck has fathered at least 300 children. He’s not a player, he’s some mentally unstable nutjob whose Wikipedia photo looks like him smiling for a blurry sex offender registry mugshot. The women set the stage for their show by stating The Order is a religious group in Salt Lake City, Utah because of fucking course this show about polygamy takes place in fucking Utah. Where else could it have possibly been? The only thing people in Utah like more than collecting women like Pokemon cards is falling for multi-level marketing pyramid schemes.
Shanell says she was married to her cousin at the age of 18 and was subsequently abused physically almost daily meaning that Alabama needs to step up its game. If that’s not gross enough wait until Jessica comes back and says that she was courted by her 42 year old uncle when she was fourteen fucking years old. This is some nasty fucking shit. These men are marrying within their own family, practicing incest, and on top of that they’re also pedophiles. Also I’m certain this is unrelated but Utah is predominately Republican.
Andrea, Jessica, and Shanell escaped the Mormon cousin-fucking cult despite intimidation and threats from their family. I’m sure they were threatened because there’s not an endless supply of women in Utah and them leaving means that’s three less uteruses for the men to blast their backwards seed into. Now the sisters (I guess they are technically sisters) have banded together to help other women escape from The Order and that’s the whole point of their show. This episode focuses on a girl named Priscilla. I don’t know if she’s also a sister to the heroine trio? The show isn’t clear about that. She’s also in the family of the same cult and because all these guys are banging their cousins and relatives I’d imagine they’re related to Priscilla somehow but the family tree is more like a fucking bush at this point. Andrea approaches a house in the dead of night and whispers out Priscilla’s name clearly trying to be stealthy about the matter. You’ve got cameras following you around so even though you’re sneaking around this suburb I’m certain people know you are there on account of the whole goddamned crew surrounding you.
So that’s it? Show’s over? They got Priscilla? Not quite, a title card pops up rolling back the clock 30 hours. We’re in a car with two other women, Amanda and Kollene, and Amanda is getting panicked texts from Priscilla about urgently needing to escape. Amanda suspects the sudden surge of panicked text messages is stemming from something marriage-related. So I guess there’s… five(?) women who’ve banded together to make the Mormon Underground Railroad? Kollene clarifies that Priscilla is 17 years old. Yikes. She continues and says the age to get married in polygamy is 16. Double fucking yikes. They do this in The Order because if you’re under 18 you can’t legally leave your family or else you’re considered a runaway so they hook the women when they’re still young girls to keep them from going too far. This is fucking dark.
Priscilla meets up with Amanda and Kollene in a public park and then we hear her story in a segment filmed after the fact which is reassuring because it means she’s clearly somewhere safer and isn’t forcefully riding her uncle’s acorn dick under threat of physical violence. Priscilla’s mother is married to one of those Kingston fucks and she’s also emotionally abusive to her children. Priscilla attempted to complete legal emancipation, which allows teenagers to legally separate from their families, but a few days before her court date a couple of people showed up at her house and took her away to a facility for “troubled children” at the whims of her parental award-winning mother. The trip to the crazy house had the inverse effect on Priscilla because it basically just cemented her determination to get the fuck out of there. Her grandmother arranged a meeting with Paul Kingston, the sex offender-looking dickwad who has over 300 kids, and when that happens he’s going to play match maker and set her up with someone to get engaged to and from there the wedding follows in as little as three days. Now the panicked text messages make a little more sense.
Amanda tells Priscilla she has connections in Las Vegas. Thankfully they’re not the sex trafficking ones that first sprang into my head when I heard that. Las Vegas is across state boundaries in Nevada and Nevada is more sympathetic toward runaways than Utah is so on the off chance that Priscilla gets caught she won’t be sent right back to cousin-pounding town.
The show gets a new twist when it’s revealed that the sisters have an inside man in The Order who relays important information to them. As such it’s important that their identity is concealed so we get a full on shadowy hooded figure. Also the inside man is actually an inside woman. This show fucking rules. The anonymous mole explains the tactics used by Priscilla’s mother when she sent her daughter to the rehab facility. She says adults will send their daughters into rehab places citing they’re “sex addicted” which is so fucking ironic my eyes rolled all the way back inside my skull and came right back around to facing out of their goddamned sockets. Amanda gets on FaceTime and calls her contact in Vegas, Christine. Christine says she’s never assisted with liberating a minor but says she’s still up for harboring Priscilla to safety. Kollene is helping someone plan a baby shower which I’m certain probably happens every other fucking week in this cult, and she says Jessica will be there. So that’s how the original trio of women make it back into the show. I was wondering where they went.
There’s cameras at the baby shower. This confused me until Andrea clarified that it’s a baby shower for ex-Order members. Andrea and Kollene have a sit down with Jessica and Jessica lays it out in no uncertain terms that they cannot bring Priscilla across state lines themselves because that’s kind of illegal and The Order is waiting for them to fuck up and do something like that so they can file charges and tie all this up in legalities. The atmosphere in the room becomes desperate until Jessica shares her little piece of wisdom. There’s a bus that travels to Vegas; they can put Priscilla on the bus and then follow the bus to Vegas, pick her up, and take her to Christine’s place. Ladies and gentlemen, the legal system.
Since the plan is pretty cut and dry now and there’s still half the show to go we move to a filler segment where Andrea meets up with her cousin Rachel who, wait for it, also escaped polygamy. I think it’s a safe bet that every single woman whose face isn’t blurred in this show is someone who’s been liberated from this nonsense. Rachel is an aspiring photographer and while her example photos kind of suck at least she has a drive to want to do something with her life, something she says you don’t get to do when you’re stuck in a polygamist cult. They go to a photography studio and Rachel winds up having an emotional breakdown because she can’t handle the weight of having personal freedom because for the first time in her life she’s in control of her own destiny. This shit literally ruins lives. I don’t have a fucking clue as to how any of this is legal.
Anyways back to Jessica and Kollene who are hanging around outside somewhere in Salt Lake City because that’s the only establishing shot we get. Jessica goes over the plan and suggests that they shouldn’t even take Priscilla to the bus depot because that would still entail her being in their car. Jessica suggests calling a taxi officially making it someone else’s problem and putting the burden of harboring a runaway on some random cabbie’s shoulders. Again, this is the legal system in full effect. It’s illegal for Jessica & Co to take Priscilla to Las Vegas but it’s entirely possible to just put her in a taxi and on a bus because then… the guilt is shared? It’s unknown? What exactly makes it okay? Also how come they can’t help Priscilla yet Jessica’s uncle was ready to bone when she was 14? That’s some serious fucking “if she’s old enough to bleed she’s old enough to breed” mentality on display. Why is her gross pedo uncle not in the fucking slammer? Why is he not on a list somewhere? That man is not legally barred from being near a goddamned school and that in and of itself is a failure of our justice system.
It’s 5:38 am. Andrea and Kollene spot their cab approaching. They go and get Priscilla in what was the opening of the show. We’ve caught up with where the show dropped us straight into the action. Priscilla makes it to the waiting taxi with the camera crew in tail. When she opens the door the cab driver must know some shit is going on because the first thing he says is “do you have any bags”. This dude knows what’s going on he’s probably unknowingly harbored a runaway twice this week already. Everyone follows the cab to the bus station to make sure Priscilla gets there safety. Amanda’s husband, who is also also introduced as someone who escaped polygamy, is waiting at the depot to get Priscilla’s ticket ready so that she’s in and on the bus without any fucking around. Amanda has concerns that if any passersby see this random girl sitting in the bus station by herself that they might rat her out to Paul “I Came In A Woman At Least 300 Times” Kingston.
Priscilla punches her ticket to get on the bus and makes it to Las Vegas.
Now that she’s across state lines Amanda, Kollene, and Jessica’s involvement in the matter is over. It’s Christine’s turn now, the person Kollene FaceTimed at the beginning of the episode. She lives in a pretty nice place. First thing she does is put some flowers in a small vase to take into her spare room where Priscilla will be staying to brighten it up. She and her husband also hang streamers and balloons because I guess it must also be Priscilla’s birthday or something. They meet Priscilla at the station in Vegas and Kollene is also there because I forgot she’s the one who had Priscilla’s luggage so it makes sense for her to be there to, you know, deliver the fucking bags. Erik, who accompanied Priscilla on the bus (because I guess that’s a legal gray area), says that while riding on the Greyhound Priscilla’s grandmother texted her and said she wasn’t welcome there anymore and that she’d be throwing out all of her belongings. I hope we find out in the next episode that the cunt drops dead.
So Priscilla makes it to Vegas and Christine will be giving her a place to stay until she’s able to get out on her own. Happy ending, right? Not quite. Kollene says that The Order has been known to stalk and follow runaways and harass them so even in Vegas Priscilla isn’t quite in the clear. She says “they track IP addresses” which is just some computer gobbledygook but I think that’s just the lowest common denominator coming out for the show’s tech unsavvy audience. The credits roll and the episode ends with a card saying Paul Kingston did not respond to comment or appear on camera. Of course he didn’t he’s got 40 wives to impregnate. That’s like a full time job because his real full time job, being the Trustee-in-Trust of The Order, isn’t a real job. Fuck those people. Fuck them in their stupid faces.
WINNER: Monogamy and atheism.
ODDITIES (SCIENCE CHANNEL)
OBSCURA ANTIQUES & ODDITIES
Trivia: Obscura Antiques closed its doors in 2020 citing a change in the market and increasing rent as the reasons for closure.
A Grim Reminder of Our Destiny
Trivia: Taxidermy is the process of stuffing and preserving a deceased animal… or person.
SEASON 3, EPISODE 11
I remember when Oddities first premiered back in 2010. It was a show that followed the rising trend of series like Pawn Stars where people have antiques and things appraised and potentially sold to the store. The twist with Oddities however is that it followed a shop that specialized in selling really weird shit like mummified animals and old medical equipment. Why this was on Science Channel I have no fucking clue, possibly for the perceived educational qualities of learning about early 1900’s medicine and disability assistance devices that look like torture equipment? The show ran for five seasons however and since it’s a reality show it was cheap and easy to produce episodes so there’s like 70 of them. Almost enough for that sweet sweet syndication deal but just not quite making it, too bad! The show was successful enough during its original run that a two season spin-off series, Oddities: San Francisco, was also produced. I never watched it but I assume it was a “same shit, different store” kind of scenario. You can only watch what is clearly a mentally unstable man inquiring about a strait jacket so many times before it just wears itself out.
To give you a primer on how quickly this show goes from 0 to 100 in the opening minute a kid walks in accompanied by his father and tells store owners Mike and Evan that he wants to sell them his pet hamster. Mike seems puzzled. Then the kid explains that it “ran away” and he found it dead in the yard months later. This kid takes care of animals like fucking Chris-chan. Mike clarifies that the kid wants to sell them a dead hamster. Then the kid shows what he’s holding in his hands and sure enough it’s a dead ass hamster in a jar of formaldehyde, complete with “saber teeth”. Apparently no one informed this child that a hamster’s teeth always grow. That’s why hamsters need things to chew on so they can wear them down and keep them a reasonable length. This kid was such a shitty caretaker of his animal that not only did it get out of its cage and starve to death in the yard – because it couldn’t fucking eat anything – he didn’t put anything in the hamster’s cage for it to chew on. This is not some freak abomination of nature like a two-headed calf this is straight up fucking animal neglect. This sucks.
The kid finally introduces himself as Daniel and the person who I thought was his father is a family friend named Sergio. Sergio says he’s a teacher “and that’s why we hang out”. Alright then, nothing weird about a grown adult chumming around with a kid that isn’t even his own. Nope, no red flags there whatsoever. Evan takes a look at the hamster, whose name is revealed to be Horace, and talks about exactly what I said about hamsters and their ever-growing teeth. Apparently she thinks the hamster’s teeth grew out while the animal had run away but that just sounds like plausible deniability to me. It still doesn’t address the fact that the animal got loose in the first place. Daniel says he wants $1,000 for the pickled hamster so he can “get a new pet”. Bro hamsters cost literally twenty bucks at Petco. What’s your real plan, get a new hamster and then blow the remaining $980 at GameStop? Mike sees through the bullshit and so does Evan. Evan says they can sponsor the new pet and give Daniel $20. Not a bad return on investment for a dead animal. $20 will definitely make up for the suffering and, you know, the whole starving to death part.
Moving on there’s another employee of the store that this show centers around. His name is Ryan and he’s a “bone expert”. I’m almost 100% certain that’s not a sexual innuendo. A woman named Monique comes into the store and with a name like that her skin color definitely does not match the mental image. Ryan gives her a quick kiss on the cheek and says she looks beautiful. I can infer from this staged scene that they are romantically involved. Monique has a pretty generous set of chompers in her mouth and also has a fivehead so I think Ryan is dating her because he wants her skull. He’s a bone expert after all. Monique is holding a small wooden box and she says its contents are for Ryan. She opens it and pulls out what appears to be a very large piece of beef jerky. Given that she’s a “regular customer” of the store I can see someone having enough screws loose to think a gift of beef jerky is a romantic gesture. Ryan identifies it as something called a “Jenny Haniver” which is a tourist item made from the remains of a ray? Monique says it started her collection of eclectic things and she wants to sell it. Ryan, not taking the hint, shuts her down and says it’s pretty much worthless. I am now 100% certain “bone expert” is not a sexual innuendo. Monique asks Ryan out on a date and says she’s going to call the shots. It’s a surprise. It’s also why I chose this particular episode to write about!
In comes the next customer and wow this dude looks like the literal definition of a fucking hipster. Big glasses, ear gauges, a stupid hat, and douchebag facial hair. He ticks every single box. He asks about the prosthetic limbs in the display window. Okay, what’s your early guesses as to why he’s here? Mine is that he has a mannequin fetish! Hipster guy introduces himself as “Dr. Adventure”. That is not a stupid joke of mine that’s his actual name. He says he’s a performer and a “bio-technologist”. Whatever that means. He also says he’s a superhero. Really? What’s your power? Making lattes? Dr. Adventure – I guess I’m going to have to call him that – says he makes and modifies prosthetics and turns them into “expressions” of the person wearing them. To cover his ass he says nothing he makes is medically certified and that your insurance won’t pay for it. Folks if you’re missing a leg and you really want a replacement limb that has “BAZINGA” emblazoned on it, and if you don’t care that the leg might splinter and stab into your body, Dr. Adventure has got you covered!
Adventure is shown some leg braces in two sizes: toddler and adult. They’re polio braces and he says he loves them. Mike says they’re $450 and $550 respectively. Dr. Adventure successfully haggles them down to $900. This man just spent nearly a thousand dollars on useless shit. Now we know what the kid with the hamster was missing out on. Captain Starbucks says there’s just one caveat: he can’t take the braces home with him. Dude they look like they’re made of aluminum and leather are your muscles just that atrophied from simping for women that you can’t just carry them with you? He asks Mike if they can deliver to Newark, New Jersey. The store is located in Manhattan, Newark is about 16 miles away. Mike says no at first but then Dr. Adventure says he’s been practicing an “extreme” circus trick. I guess that means he’s going to juggle four balls. This is all some stupid set-up for the reality show so Mike and Evan change their minds and say they can meet him at his place. This will not be the last we see of Dr. Adventure in this episode. God damn it.
There’s a throw to commercial with some foreboding scenes hinting toward the reason why I chose this particular episode so ignore that and pretend you didn’t see it. When the show returns we’re right back in the thick of it with Dr. Adventure because I guess circus tricks can’t wait. Dr. Adventure welcomes Mike and Evan to his building and calls it the “New Flesh Workshop”. Look, there are a lot of things you can name a building that would make me not want to go into it. “New Flesh Workshop” is pretty much at the top of the list second to “Dick Reduction Center”. Dr. Adventure says he makes custom prosthetics and we are shown what appears to be a regular ass prosthetic arm that’s been painted black and gold by what I’m guessing is a five year old. He also makes “party armor” which is a “high impact composite body armor for super people and people with extreme lifestyles”. He makes superhero costumes, in other words. Shitty ones too because we get to see a non-copyright infringing Captain America as a sample. I’m pretty sure these are just for manchildren who like to dress up when they go to Comic Con because I doubt they will stop a bullet so anyone attempting to fight crime while wearing this shit probably hasn’t survived long enough to leave a five star review on Yelp for the New Flesh Workshop.
Anyways we’re here to see a circus trick so Dr. Adventure gets out his bed of nails and has his “assistant” Clark come over to help out. Dr. Adventure lays down on the nails and has Clark put a cinder block on his abs. Clark also pours a shot of alcohol onto the block and lights it on fire because “everything’s better on fire”. You can probably guess what’s going to happen. Clark hits the brick with a sledgehammer and breaks it. We’re supposed to be impressed. Strongmen who perform feats of strength get cinder blocks broken on them all the time, it’s not a hard trick. My fat ass isn’t about to have someone do it to me but I know how it’s done. Also laying on a bed of nails is some shit that people have been doing for centuries. You’re conditioned to think the nails are going to impale the performer because you’ve seen what one nail can do but in actuality making an entire bed of them maximizes the surface area that is in contact with their body thus no one nail gets through. I’m not impressed, Dr. Adventure. Pick a new name and stick to jacking off while wearing polio braces you fucking weirdo.
We catch up with Ryan who’s chilling at his place until Monique shows up to pick him up for their date. Before leaving however Ryan takes her on a tour of his home which is filled with taxidermied animals and human skulls. You know, normal people stuff. Ryan takes her to his “studio” which is filled with strips of leather, hammers of varying sizes, and lots of metal wire and filament. I’m assuming this is where he assembles animal skeletons and sure enough he’s working on a monkey because of course he’s working on a goddamned monkey. Monique is impressed and possibly even turned on and she says sometime they’ll have to have a date where they just play with bones all night. I’m back to questioning if this is a sexual innuendo again. Also ignore the sendoff to commercial again, please. I’m begging you.
Back at the store another customer comes in. Her name is Michelle Meow and I have no reason not to assume that isn’t her legal birth name. She’s got something to sell. Maybe it’s another dead hamster! Actually it’s a dental articulator. Michelle calls it a nutcracker and honestly I think I like her name better. The articulator looks exactly like the rig the Mythbusters built to do that exploding jawbreaker myth except this is apparently a legitimate piece of medical equipment. According to Evan it is able to replicate any muscle movement your mouth and jaw can make. This was used back in the early 1900’s for creating dental bridges and other pieces of wearable whatever. Michelle has no idea what the articulator is valued at and rather than throw out a thousand fucking dollars she says $300. Evan says that sounds reasonable and doesn’t counteroffer meaning Michelle fucked up and lowballed on her offer. I bet she could’ve walked out with $500 if she played her cards right. I have no idea who would even be in the market for a dental articulator though. Maybe a dentist who collects old dental crap? Do dentists even do that? I mean, I don’t think my doctor collects bones and shit.
We’re finally back to Ryan and his date and rather than go to a fancy restaurant to partake in their more reasonably priced lunch specials Monique has dragged him out to some unknown location. She knocks on a door that is clearly already open and is welcomed by, wait for it, Sorceress Cagliastro. I am so fucking grateful that the show’s editors put her name on screen for me because when she introduces herself to Ryan it sounds like she’s trying to name a goddamned Yu-Gi-Oh monster or something. She tells Ryan he can just call her “Sorceress” which is what I’ll be doing to because while I was willing to type out “Dr. Adventure” there’s not a chance in hell I’m going to write “Sorceress Cagliastro” every time I mention her because I guarantee I won’t spell that name the same way twice. She says sorcery runs in her family. Sure, whatever. I’m sure one of my distant ancestors was a stonemason in the 1400’s but you don’t see me carving fucking bricks. She calls herself a “blood sorceress” which is weird to me because “blood” sure is a funny way of spelling “calorie”.
The Sorceress says she mummifies small pets and animals but wants to work her way up to mummifying a human because of course that’s the logical chain of events that we were working up to here. Is that even fucking legal? Are you allowed to do that with human remains? I googled it and apparently there’s a company in Salt Lake City, Utah that will mummify someone for $67,000 plus the cost of a casket. I’m not sure I trust that because the last time Salt Lake City came up in this article I was shitting on Mormons and their gross sexual practices. As the Sorceress is talking a little blurb pops up on the bottom of the screen that says a couple once asked her to cast a spell on them to turn them into conjoined twins. Wow, mental illness attracts mental illness who would’ve thought? The Sorceress declined, not out of some kind of moral obligation but because deep down she knows she’s a fucking fraud and there’s no combination of words and cheap incense that will magically conjoin two fucking people. Whoever asked her to do that needs to get their fucking head checked by a professional because there’s clearly something wrong with them.
Ryan notes the mummified frogs on the table and jokingly says they make good back scratchers. Nothing hits home quite like desecrating a corpse! The Sorceress uses the mummified frogs as a segue into why Monique brought him to her home. The Sorceress reaches down under the table and brings out two dead and decapitated frogs. Now I know this isn’t a snack for the Sorceress because otherwise they’d be battered and deep fried so I’m sure you all have put two and two together and understand what’s about to happen. Ryan and Monique are going to mummify a frog and first they have to open it up and remove its internal organs. This is without a doubt some of the most objectionable content I’ve ever seen on television, the way the Sorceress just sorta fumbles with the guts and pulls them out is literally stomach turning. Monique is dressed up for this occasion and she’s enjoying it. She drove out to a fucking sorceress’ house just so she could chop up a frog with Ryan. The people in this show are fucking disturbed in the head. Everyone from the kid who was a shitty caretaker of his hamster to the sorceress who objected to conjoining two people because she knew she couldn’t do it.
The Sorceress tells Ryan and Monique once the organs are out it’s time for a dehydrating salt bath but since that takes six weeks she literally does the “person on Food Network putting something in the oven” thing and brings out frogs that have already been dried up that they then proceed to wrap in cloth and then smear with what I think is glue so it adheres to the animal and stays in place? They don’t even wrap the feet. This mummification sucks. The date ends and Ryan and Monique kiss while holding their frog jerky and I’m just glad this is finally fucking over.
STRANGE SEX (TLC)
Everybody Has Them
Trivia: The DSM-5 manual has separate listings for eight specific paraphilic disorders.
SEASON 1, EPISODE 6
“They look so innocent, but for some people balloons are the ultimate erotic toy.” I’ve seen some shit while writing this article but this opening line from Strange Sex just blindsided me and got one of those long wheeze laughs from my lungs. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I went into the episode of “inflatophilia” but that opener definitely was not it. Strange Sex is a six-part documentary series from TLC that focuses on sexual dysfunctions. It’s kind of shitty to call a random fetish a dysfunction but whatever, it’s the language of another era because this series debuted in 2010 which was still well into TLC’s downfall. Remember earlier when I said we’d come back to the concept of “channel drift”? Well here we are. TLC, literally “The Learning Channel”, was once a network that aired educational programming and material intended to inspire. By 2010 it was just a cesspool of reality television and shows where viewers can gawk at the sideshow. Strange Sex almost lost its spot in this article to 1000 Lb. Sisters but I double-backed on that choice because I feel like “calorie sorceress” is about as far as I can get with fat jokes before I offend the wrong person.
So yeah this episode of Strange Sex is about balloon fetishes. Apparently there’s also a segment on some guy who can’t feel sexual pleasure and somehow he hasn’t eaten a bullet yet so maybe we’ll touch base with him maybe not. I’m mostly here for the balloons because it’s funny to me. The episode synopsis said nothing about the other guy. Chris is the star of this show and in the opening to the episode we see him blowing up (and popping) balloons in all sorts of various places. What gets him off? Is the the process of blowing up the balloon? Is it the pop? Does it matter where he pops it? I’m infatuated with shit like this because even though I decried the death of TLC as an educational channel I’m still here to gawk at the fucking sideshow! Chris is out in some park in Vermont blowing up balloons, orange ones specifically because it’s his favorite color and that matters for some reason. I guess it’s why dildos come in all sorts of colors. He’s here for the big bang but for some stupid reason he’s wearing earphones? What’s he doing, listening to Korn while blowing up balloons in the park? How fucking backwards can one person really be?
“I guess pretty much all balloons deserve to die,” Chris says surrounded by what I can only describe as balloon corpses. This just got dark.
Chris starts talking again as B-roll of him walking around Vermont plays. He says not a day goes by where he isn’t playing with a balloon, then we get a home video of him wrecking this giant purple fucker and basically creaming his pants. A woman named Kimberly Anderson shows up to tell us people can get aroused by all sorts of things including, but presumably not limited to, enemas, squishing bugs, and having pies thrown in their face. Really? Pies? Don’t tell me there are people out there who beat it to old episodes of What Would You Do. My childhood has died enough today as it is. Kimberly goes on rattling off kinks and says that fetishes probably start in childhood where an object became linked to pleasure or arousal. I can vouch for that, I watched a lot of R-rated movies and shit I wasn’t supposed to see as a kid and it basically ruined my life so I’m with Kim on this one. Meanwhile Chris is informing us what “necking” is. No, it’s not suicide by hanging, it’s when you inflate a balloon and then pull on the part you blow into so it inflates. Yes, there are home videos of Chris doing this too. I’m sure they were pulled from his XTube profile.
This shit starts in childhood so we get a firsthand account from Chris talking about how he used to be afraid of balloons. Kimberly pops back up for a second to say “yeah well that’s how fetishes start so he was kind of fucked from that exact moment”. Chris recounts a time when he was 15 where he blew up a balloon while jacking off and I’m just sitting here wondering if watching this show is going to put me on a list. Then a titlecard appears that says Chris can orgasm just from popping a balloon. I called it. Someone answer that phone, because I fucking called it. Chris says he likes to fill his bedroom up with balloons. Cue a shot of Chris walking into his apartment(?) with a bunch of helium balloons and then him sitting on his bed with an electric air pump, because let’s be real here we already knew he had one of those, inflating more balloons. If he doesn’t at least inhale some of that helium and do the funny voice this entire show will be a wash. Kim casually lets us know there’s “nothing deviant” about this fetish. Kim, I’m going to slap that one with a big  but carry on! Kim says the real problem arises when someone takes it too far into their interpersonal relationships.
Another titlecard pops up and says Chris has had only one girlfriend who indulged in his balloon fetish. That’s about five more than I was expecting to hear about. Chris says he wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about his balloon kink on a first date completely missing the irony of him doing exactly that in front of a fucking camera crew for a show that will air on national television. I know we didn’t get Chris’ last name but he’s a pretty distinct looking person what with his facial piercings and stuff. I’m pretty sure if you saw this dude on the street you’d recognize him as the balloon fucker. Kim intrudes to once again inform us that if you can cum to a balloon and then cum with another person that’s fine, but if you can only cum to a balloon then there’s a problem. I appreciate that Kim is here to just state the obvious. Meanwhile Chris is telling us how important this fetish is to his life. I think we know which side of the coin Chris is on and it’s not the side that involves having a meaningful conversation with a member of the opposite sex. Look carefully in the ceiling shots of Chris’ room and you’ll see an empty Dunkin’ Donuts box. Not only can Chris murder a balloon he can also put away an entire box of donuts like a fucking trash can.
The show informs us that balloon fetishists call themselves “looners”. That checks out with the Rifftrax commentary over Fun In Balloonland. I knew Kevin Murphy did his research! Kim says there’s an estimated 250K-500K looners in the United States. That seems excessive. Chris goes online to find people to share his love of balloons with and that’s where we discover all of these home movies are straight from Chris’ YouTube channel which is titled “Balloons are better off Popped”. Not “VTLoonerMan69” or “InflateMeDaddy” but a whole ass sentence. Doesn’t he know that’s bad for SEO??? Anyways enjoy the shot of early 2010’s YouTube because I know I did. The show states Chris came out to his friends and family about his balloon fetish but Chris just kind of glazes over that. I don’t know what it is with sexual deviants and their need to tell everyone about what gets them off but I guess even in the halcyon days of 2010 nothing was really all that different. Chris’ friends Jameson and Meghan say “yeah it’s weird but everyone has their skeletons so we’re just glad it’s something harmless like balloons and not some weird shit like BDSM latex rape”. Also can I just point out how goddamned hilarious it is to me that we have a guy named Chris who’s friends with a girl named Meghan? That’s two Chris-chan references in one article, a new BattleBots Update record!
Chris tells his friends that he’s going to a fetish party in New York City. He packs the essentials: clothes, toiletries, and about 200 fucking balloons. While in NYC he inflates balloons at the Brooklyn bridge and Times Square to “get them ready” for the looner party. Normal people stuff. Kimberly has persisted through multiple commercial breaks and lets us know there’s been a movement to destigmatize fetishes in the United States, or in other words “what used to be shameful secrets people are now celebrating”. Yeah Kim, I’m really feeling the effects of that. People being out and open about their disgusting kinks is what nearly cost me my life a few years ago so perhaps it’s best that not everything is depathologized? Maybe people should still have some modicum of shame when the things they do ruin lives? Maybe just a single fucking iota? Chris seems harmless but not everyone who flies their freak flag is a good person.
Chris enters a sex shop that specializes in selling latex fetish gear. The shop is run by a woman who calls herself The Baroness marking the second time we’ve seen a woman with a dumb self-appointed nickname. She’s the hostess of the looner party and apparently every month she throws a fetish party where the theme cycles month to month. Chris is here for obvious reasons but I wonder what it’s like to have some obligation to throw a fetish party when it’s not your cup of tea? Does she do parties for the other stuff Kim talked about at the beginning of the episode? Pies in the face? Stepping on bugs? Enemas?! Those all sound a little too messy. Sweeping up popped balloons is one thing but cleaning up the aftermath of fifteen ass fountains sounds like a punishment reserved for war criminals.
It’s night now and the Fetish Retinue is happening downtown. Chris pays his cover fee and walks into a sea of people rave dancing with fucking balloons. Most of these people are wearing skintight latex fetish gear so we all know what they’re really here for. People are fucking around with balloons everywhere doing things like bouncing up and down on them including one woman whom I assume is doing this without wearing any underwear because the editors have to blur out her crotch. Sounds depraved! Chris gets on stage and starts blowing up a balloon to raucous cheering. This thing gets fucking massive and with the encouragement of The Baroness he inflates it until it pops and let me tell you something I guarantee the balloon wasn’t the only thing that popped in that room. A moderately attractive woman approaches Chris and starts asking him about the necks of the balloons. This dude is in hog fucking heaven right now. God bless you, you crazy bastard.
There’s about seven minutes left in this episode and it covers Scott the guy who suffers from sexual anhedonia. Look, if I wanted to know what it was like to not have pleasurable sex I’d ask a nun. I think I’ve seen enough of this episode and I’m ready to leave it at Chris’ story.
I picked this episode for the balloon kink mostly because it hits close to home for me. No, I’m not the one with a balloon kink but one of my best friend’s partners is so it’s something I’ve been around before. It also reminds me of the time I spent in the furry fandom where I was just bombarded with kinks that ran the gamut from squeaky clean to absolutely deplorable. I met some real human trash during my time in the furry fandom, the real dregs of society. But you know what? The furries who were into inflatable pool toys and all that were some of the nicest and most welcoming people I’d ever met. Nothing gross, nothing weird, just people posting pictures of big inflatable animals and others saying how jealous they were because they were still saving up to buy one and hadn’t saved enough yet. When it came to the friends I made a lot of them skewed toward that community because they weren’t insufferable disgusting people who got off to nasty things. I curated my experiences well and that curation let me to balloons of all things.
This has been one hell of a goddamned article; it’s twice the length of the average BattleBots Update post! I don’t blame you if you read this one in chunks off and on because that’s exactly how I had to write it just so I could stay sane. I included the episode numbers of the shows I watched in case you wanted to watch along with me or check them out later. Since these shows aren’t just crap on YouTube like the ABC Digital ones were I can’t exactly just link to an embedded YouTube video this time around. There’s some good stuff on Discovery+ so hopefully you don’t walk away from this article thinking it’s full of nothing but shit because not all of these shows are bad and I also kind of made it a point to intentionally pick out some of the stragglers and put them down for this post. Like I said all 20 seasons of Mythbusters are on Discovery+ and that alone is worth the price of admission!
I don’t have a referral link for Discovery+ or anything like that and I wasn’t necessarily writing this post to get people to sign up for it but if you want to do that then that’s cool I guess. I believe episodes of BattleBots air early on Discovery+ so you can watch them a few hours before the plebians with cable TV packages get to. I mostly wanted to write this because back in the early days of BBU that article I wrote about the shows on ABC was a big hit and it spawned a few memes that ran their course in the /r/BattleBots community. I’ve been wanting to do a follow-up with Discovery+ for a few years now. ABC’s I Can Find $3,000 In Your Home will live on forever as will the incredibly expressive black woman who was used in the video thumbnail. Will any of these shows start a BattleBots community in-joke? I can only hope. I had fun writing this article; it let me work out some creative muscles that I haven’t really been using all that much now that the major exports of my writing talents involve fight commentary. I think I still “got it”.
Discovery+ is a thing that’ll be around for a while. What are some shows you’ve seen that you thought were ridiculous? Were you surprised by the shows I dug up on the service? There’s comment sections on Reddit and Facebook and y’all are smart enough to know how to find them so I’d like to hear from you! BattleBots is still on break right now but if you want to support this website in the meantime you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. I post all my stuff to Facebook so be sure to follow BattleBots Update there for updates!
See you when BattleBots picks back up!