Why do I wear pink? What does it mean to me? Seems like a simple…
I could wax prophetic (wait, did I just pull a Sarah Palin?) let me “refudiate” that…I could wax poetic on the value of reality TV-how it makes us feel better about ourselves, or maybe how in this recession-era economy it’s inspiring to see “real” people capitalizing on their 15 minutes of fame and getting book deals, endorsements, and sometimes even their own vodka line like Jersey Shore’s The Situation. Or maybe how in a world with so much terror and uncertainty , it’s nice to just sit back and watch “real” folks (notice I didn’t use the word “characters” even though they are) find self-actualization (like those on “The Biggest Loser,” “Intervention,” “Clean House”).
However, how much value does one redeem from the 60 minutes of Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush Alaska?” Virtually none. Although, I’m sure there are many college boys finding plenty of entertainment value as they sit around drinking beer, just waiting to snicker away the next time someone says “Going straight for the glory hole.” (Glory hole in gold rush terms denotes a large deposit of gold usually from a riverbed or waterfall that’s been buried deep under ground–not to be confused with the more X-rated version that induces snickers among the rest of the world).
Quick premise: The current high value of gold creates an unstoppable lure for a group of down-on-their-luck guys from Oregon who sell all their belongings and move to Alaska for the summer to try and strike it rich on leased land (in legendary Porcupine Creek) that’s known to be heavy in gold. However, not only are these guys’ desperation levels palpable, they are completely clueless to wilderness survival and gold mining which turns every episode into a true contender for “The Darwin Awards.”
Here are some of my favorite “party-fouls” (aka loser moments):
- The chief (and only) mechanic has severe, chronic back problems and takes morphine daily while operating heavy machinery and welding.
- Bears-wild bears. And children. Wild Bears and Children.
- Episode 4, we find out that they’re not filtering or boiling the water and some people are getting sick. They “thought” the water was OK because it was natural and wild.
- Also on episode 4 (a lot of stupidity presents itself on E.4)-we learn they are using extreme amounts of mosquito repellent with Deet on their children, which as all parents should know is toxic, particularly in large doses. Unfortunately, our Gold Rush friends find this out the hard way when one of their daughters has a seizure (that part was not funny). Thankfully, she has a full recovery.
So, why do I continue to watch week after week? Well for one thing, it’s one of the only reality shows that my husband will agree to watch and we find ourselves laughing at the idiocy together. But moreover, I think we’re both drawn to it because of that age old fascination with finding gold and striking it rich! There’s something purely intoxicating about putting in a little hard labor and reaping instant gratification and financial security. It’s also part of the American Dream. We’re the country of immigrants looking for a better life–“America, where the streets are paved with gold.” But in a time when home prices have dropped to values not seen since the year 2000, it’s hard to know where those gold lined streets are (certainly not my neighborhood). Are they indeed in Alaska, as the Gold Rush guys think? Or is it in a place closer to home like your living room on the “boob tube” in the form of reality TV stardom? Is reality TV the next gold rush? If it is, thanks to the Discovery Channel, I think the Gold Rush guys will be just fine, no matter how much Alaskan gold they find.
“Gold Rush Alaska” can be seen Friday nights at 10pm on Discovery Channel.
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HI! I’m a Shana, self-proclaimed Media Mixologist, wife, and mom to two little girls. I love to mix up cocktails of crafts, recipes, wellness, family and business with just the right amount of sparkle to help you shine everyday. So, grab a glass, and let’s celebrate the cocktail of life!