Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finding Bigfoot Part 1: The Introduction

After the maddening ending (or, according to how you think the non-ending) of AMC's The Killing (and I will always add the AMC part there because they're the ones that ultimately let us all down) I've been absent-mindedly flipping through the television channel lineup wasteland, finally knowing what Moses must have felt like in the desert. While the Philadelphia Phillies usually keep me going, along with the hate watching of Food Network's Next Food Network Star and Chopped, they can only satiate my television appetite for so long.

It got so bad, in my darkest hour, I briefly contemplated watching Treme. But just as I thought all was lost, on my way toward flipping over to the revamped Lingo (yech!) I stumbled across quite possibly the greatest television show in the history of the world...

I'm of course talking about Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot.

Before I go into more depth, I have a confession to make. I was (and let's face it, since I'm actively watching a show based in the genre, still am) a UFO/ghost/Bigfoot/etc. fan. I even started the UGM Club, back in fourth grade to study and get to the bottom of the mysteries of UFOs, ghosts and monsters. My favorite book as a seven year old was a comic book devoted to true stories of UFO encounters (which included an encounter that happened mere miles from my home).

As I've grown, my rational mind has matured, and logically speaking I can't speak to the authenticity to any of these things. While the stories still intrigue and entertain me, I don't blindly accept the existence of any of them. I like to be open minded, but also cynical when it comes to any "evidence." I guess you could say I have the heart of Mulder, with the mind of Scully (at least until before the third time she was attacked/groped/kidnapped by a supernatural creature yet still would obsessively demand a logical explanation and ignore the empirical data in front of her face).

So, a show purportedly looking into the legends of Bigfoot, as well as investigating current sightings with rational, skeptical minds, sounded like a good idea to me.

That Finding Bigfoot is the absolute opposite of that makes it that much better.

I have watched exactly three episodes of Finding Bigfoot - not because I'm plodding through the show, but because I want to savor them, breathe them in, rewatch them in all their splendid, possibly unironic joy. I want to take the same journey that Cliff, Matt, Ranae and Bobo are taking in real time. I want to savor each episode, in each state (who knew Bigfoots routinely showed up in not just the Pacific Northwest, but instates all over our union? I mean, besides the crew at the Bigfoot Field Research Organization, or B.F.R.O.).

I want this show to go on forever.

The show follows 4 "researchers" in the B.F.R.O. travel to a different area each week to follow up on a Bigfoot sighting. At least that's what I picked up watching my first episode. Honestly, I was so perplexed watching it for the first time that I may have missed some of the subtleties of the show. But there are two things I definitely did not miss...two things that I feel are the show's heart and soul.

1. The "reconstructions"

Pretty much every show starts with the team heading somewhere because they heard about a recent sighting. This first show was based in Georgia, following up on a policeman's dashcam video of something running across the road. After seeing the video, the team decides to "recreate" it using a human. You can watch the whole thing here:

Aside from the complete lack of regard for accuracy in recreating these things, (and the fact that I believe Bobo is only around as their Bigfoot model) the thing I love about these "reconstructions," is the validity the entire team puts into them. It's as though running across the road at night proves the existence of Sasquatch! Not only that, to hear most of the members of this team talk, you'd think Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) are about as common and real as deer. There is no doubt in my mind that there is any doubt in Cliff's mind (the de facto leader of the group) that Bigfoots (or Squatches as he loves to call them) exist. And that only stokes the fire of my enjoyment that much more.

2. The Growl/Howl/Screech

This really can't be described. It must be witnessed...

My favorite things from this clip?
  • It seems each "researcher" has their own distinct howl, or at least thinks he/she needs a couple of different calls for different situations?
  • Everyone involved also seems to think these howls have any effect on a Squatch, going so far as to suggest they heard a howl in response!
  • It appears that the preparation/planning leading up to this bellow is quite intense. I wonder if Cliff was just a little mad when he was interrupted before he got one off, much like a pitcher gets annoyed when the umpire calls time in the middle of his windup.
This being the first episode of Finding Bigfoot that I've ever seen it's easy to say that I'm hooked. So much so that tomorrow, in Part II, I will give you a rundown of the best things I heard while watching my second ever episode of Finding Bigfoot.

Until then...

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