Though I have been boycotting Animal Planet ever since I witnessed a nauseatingly anti-choice ad on the channel, recently we had to cut most of our channels due to a lack of funds, so it’s one of the channels we now have left out of the science channels I enjoy. While flipping through the channels last night, we ran across a program called Mermaids: A Body Found.
And let me tell you, folks, I went through some crazy emotions in fifteen minutes.
“There’s no way,” I scoffed at first. Yes, I’m very much into cryptozoology, and I’ll entertain the ideas of Bigfoot and Nessie—but a freakin’ mermaid? No way. That’s too unicorn-y for me. If it’s not dangerous, then why wouldn’t we already have caught one, after all?
Then these official-sounding scientists started reciting some information that I knew to be true—the story of unidentified noises made in the ocean called bloops, which sound like the noises whales or dolphins make but much more intricate. They also mentioned all the whale beaching we all know about, which may end up being the fault of the Navy—and if they are, I want them prosecuted for all of these deaths. I really, really do. And for about two minutes, I considered that something crazy incredible was going on here—that we would get to see a real body, unveiled for the first time, which is why the major news outlets hadn’t covered it yet.
But these scientists were way too well-rehearsed; there was no stuttering nor any long-winded explanations that you get when it’s a real documentary. I’m not a scientist, but I’m a blogger and a researcher, so you can bet I was looking this stuff up within five minutes. Not only is the show largely science fiction (the bloop recording and the whale beaching were the only true parts, it seems); the very “doctors” interviewed were actors, too.
I love conspiracy theories, Animal Planet, but I want them presented as such—not as facts in a pseudo documentary! Documentaries should be completely true—and anything aired on a science channel that’s not should be clearly labeled as such. When you speculate about something, you disclose it; you did that so well in one of my favorite specials, The Future is Wild. It was a bunch of theories without a lot of proof—which is what this “body found” deal really is.
You know, this could have been a really cool show if you’d done it like that. But as a pseudo documentary, it sucked; it was lazy storytelling on your part. Who wants to watch a fake documentary?
So was there really a body found? Who the hell knows? What I know is that I’m tired of these “gotcha!” specials. I’ll still watch it if you tell me it’s a bunch of theories; just don’t blend it together as if it’s all completely true. If you want to see something really cool that’s actually real, check this out.