Tuesday, September 10 2013
Gretchen took a bus down to the Manhattan for the day and spent the night down there, leaving me alone with DVR programs, booze, and not-insubstantial amounts of marijuana (a lingering gift brought to our late-August house party). Quickly running out of my usual DVR favorites, I found myself watching new episodes of Doomsday Preppers, a show I'd sort of sworn off for the same reason I gave up on Hoarders: there is only so much of other people's craziness that a relatively-balanced individual can take. Under the unbalancing influence of marjiuana and liquor, however, the show was entertaining. The production seemed to have improved since I'd last seen it, and more interesting things were being depicted, particular interpersonal conflicts. In one very creepy scene, the member of the prepper group tasked with "security" decides that it would be a good idea to erect a gallows within the compound as a warning to outsiders not to attempt an attack. (Need I remind you: doomsday has not yet arrived.) At that point the member of the group tasked with hunting and foraging takes issue with the presence of the gallows and there's a political crisis. That was where the prodigal son of the group's founder stepped in and negotiated a settlement, thereby demonstrating the skill he brings: politics.
I was having such a good time watching Doomsday Preppers that when I'd finished watching the last one, I wanted more. So I downloaded a number of episodes of a new show entitled Doomsday Castle, which the DVR hadn't been instructed to record. While Doomsday Preppers is a straightforward tour of the paranoid worlds of individual preppers, Doomsday Castle is a reality show focused on a single family of preppers and the shell of a castle that they hope to complete before the shit hits the fan. There's a patriarch, four young adults from his second marriage, and a single older (41 year old) son from his first marriage. (For whatever reason, there are no matriarchs.) Since none of the kids appear to have any experience with either the outdoors or making anything with their hands, there's a slapstick Paris Hilton/Nicole Richie-down-on-the-farm quality to some of the hijinx. But there's also stuff that appeals to my do-it-myself maker spirit, such as the construction of a solar-powered spring water supply. And there's also some fun interpersonal tension, particularly between the know-it-all semi-incompetent oldest son, his younger half-brother, and his long-suffering castle-building father. What the show lacks, though, is any sort of sexual tension. All the participants are related to one another and the most distant relationship between any two is of a half-sibling nature. There are a few older guys who show up to provide technical assistance, but so far none of the patriarch's Kardasianesque daughters have shown any interest.
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