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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Comments on the Deadliest Catch: Season 4 Opening!

For every great thing I have to say about this series, I'm going to say something negative. What the hell, it's my blog.

1. This is a great series, with great photography depicting real-life fishermen doing their daring-do. I love it! The series is also manipulative and somewhat staged. It makes fishermen out to be heroes because they work their asses off to earn big bucks. In some respects, it attempts to elevate American greed to mythic status. We all know real heroism has nothing to do with money or bravado. On the other hand, the program celebrates American enterprise, individualism and entrepreneurship.

2. These are incredible boats and crews. Too bad we don't get to see the nuances of helm and deck work. But I understand. The show would be a lot less entertaining if it dealt with the intricate details and minutia of being a great crab fisherman. Do we really need to know how the helmsman operates throttle and gear shift as he approaches a string of gear? Probably not. But I'd like to see it nonetheless. I'd like to see what happens when the captain misses a buoy or wraps a line around his own prop. I'd also like to see what these guys' doctors visits are like. What does one of their x-rays look like?

3. Photographically, season 4 looks spectacular. You have to ask yourself where they get these shots. Are they from a chase boat, a chopper, what? In fact, the boats in the series serve as camera boats at different times, usually close to shore, and a chopper is used as well. The shots of the boats you see slamming through seas, if not all of the shots, are probably not coincidental to the times the boats are actually fishing. How about the promotional shot of the captains on top of that snow covered mountain. Very cool.

4. Is it just me or does anybody else find it odd that they use a species of fish for bait on the west coast that is essentially considered an endangered species here on the east coast? OK, it's not exactly the same species (Atlantic Cod vs Pacific Cod), but I challenge you to tell the difference in a taste test.

5. The Northwestern is my favorite boat. West coast rig. Lots of flare forward. The others, east coast rigged with their houses aft, look a little like shoe boxes to me. But you can understand their appeal to their captains. The helmsman/captain has his crew and the work being carried out on deck in front of him, always under his watchful eye. Also, on a boat or ship, the ride is much better at the stern.

6. I'd like to see the pile of paperwork these guys get from the National Marine Fisheries Service. I'm betting it's twice as much as what I get. And what kind of paperwork do they have to file? Instead of a promo with them standing on a snow covered mountain, the producers can have them standing on a mountain of government paperwork. (Just kidding. About the photo, not the paperwork.)

7. Anybody else interested in what these guys hate and love about their boats? I've been a boat owner/operator all my adult life and I know there are things you love and things you hate about your boat, things you would change if you could, or things you would build into your next boat that you forgot to put into this one. I know it's not something a superstitious person would talk about on a trip, because some would say it's bad luck to speak negatively about the boat when it's at sea. But I'd like to know just the same. It happens when people design and build their own boats (or have them built for them) that they end up haunted by something they did or didn't do.

8. Too bad we never got any shots of the boats hauled out on the railway or saw any major dry dock work being done.

9. With regard to the first ep of Season 4: I think I can say with a considerable degree of certainty that the shit these guys have put in the water (garbage bags, a freakin' F-150 body and frame!!!) would raise the ire of every marine patrol and federal officer in the state of Maine. Granted, these guys were probably farther than 25 miles from shore, so it's OK to dump a fluid-clean truck body and frame -- I guess. But the plastic. No way. No how. It's international law. The MARPOL Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships at Sea (1973, 1978, 1987, 1996, 2000). I'm a little fuzzy on where the pick-up fits in but plastic garbage bags and other garbage containing plastic are a definite no-no.


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