Next week’s discussion: Paris Hilton’s My New BFF Dubai, Eps. 1-3, 8-9. Watch it on Tubi TV.
We discuss JS’s first pick, the long-running Animal Planet series Finding Bigfoot. We break down the component parts of the episodic formula, discussing our thoughts on both the hosts and the witnesses they interview, as well as their dubious night ‘investigations’. Topics discussed include the genial and sincere nature of the hosts, the ethnic and cultural diversity of the areas they visit, as well as the larger-scale flaws of the methods they use in their pursuit of the ever-elusive Bigfoots they seek to discover. We conclude with a conversation on the decline of educational television and the appeal of ‘unreason’ in contemporary American culture.
Show Notes and Links
1:04 / Getting our equipment ready
1:34 / Mike tearfully recounts his betrayal at the hands of Jimmy Wales (this will not stop him from being lazy and crutching on Wikipedia for these show notes, however)
2:18 / Introducing the show
2:52 / How to find the show online – with caveats
3:42 / We can’t believe that they still haven’t found Bigfoot after 11 seasons
4:01 / Brief episode synopses
5:11 / A quick warning on the length of some of these episodes
6:36 / If there’s something Bigfoot-related in the area, this show will find a way to shoehorn it in
7:11 / The typical episode formula
8:44 / Starting with the characters, in order of lucidity
9:39 / Bobo – possibly some drug use in his history?
10:58 / A note on our critique of the hosts – we aren’t questioning their sincerity
11:32 / Are these people really qualified?
12:06 / Bobo as comic relief
12:22 / Matt Moneymaker, founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
13:25 / Two types of pseudoscientific practitioners: the genuine believer and the con artist
13:44 / Cliff and Ranae, the token skeptic
14:42 / Cliff as the most intelligent of the three ‘believers’
16:13 / Assessing Ranae’s motivation – Is she a force for good or a cynical veneer of credibility?
17:56 / JS praises Ranae’s social intelligence
19:46 / Mike has a story about lunch with a 9/11 truther
21:57 / Ranae’s family background as motivator for being on the show
22:25 / JS thinks they could have found someone more willing to toe the ‘company line’
23:05 / Our observations on the town halls
23:53 / Mike noticed the constructed nature of the town halls from the Hawaii episode
25:35 / The town hall demographics
26:30 / JS wonders how many people were there for entertainment purposes
27:35 / Segueing into the witness followups
28:08 / Mike discusses the ethnic and cultural diversity in the episodes he watched
28:59 / The Hawaiians seemed to be expressing the folklore of the area, the Navajos – maybe not so much (although Mike includes a caveat about his overall ignorance of Navajo culture)
30:16 / Discussing the overall sincerity of the witnesses on the show
31:10 / Some of the less credible witnesses were also Bigfoot ‘researchers’
31:48 / The terrible CGI in the docudrama reenactments
32:14 / JS discusses the witnesses that stuck out to him as particularly sincere or insincere
34:01 / Mike discusses the flaws in the testimonies of the witnesses that stuck out to him
36:27 / The most unbelievable testimony of all
37:42 / The ‘smartphone camera’ problem
38:19 / The unreliability of eyewitness testimony
39:45 / Eyewitness testimony related fallacies; Liar, lord, or lunatic fallacy
41:09 / The ridiculous night investigations
43:40 / Seemed to have no rationale for their methods – except maybe it’s good TV?
44:48 / The hosts’ willingness to interpret random noises as Bigfoot
45:49 / How they could do an actual investigation
46:21 / Making it up as they go along – Bigfoots attracted to music?
46:53 / The ‘fever dream’ quality of night vision
47:27 / A thought experiment on discovering a new creature
48:23 / The sine waves the producers throw up on screen
48:59 / No consistency in the methodology or interpretations – are Bigfoots trying to be found or not?
50:10 / Comparing squatching to hunting
51:00 / JS explains hunting methods for all you liberal coastal elites
52:27 / Mike reminds JS about all the witnesses
52:37 / All the theories about sasquatches presented in this show are based on assumptions
53:22 / No consistency in the eyewitness testimony or physical ‘evidence’
54:25 / Going crazy over ‘thermal blips’ – until they turn out to be something else
55:40 / JS thought the hosts were the real interesting parts, not the investigations
56:26 / The discrepancies on foot casts somehow make them more credible to Bigfoot researchers
57:50 / The incredible nature of the claim of thousands of social animals living in groups across vast areas of the country and leaving no physical evidence
59:30 / The ecological diversity makes it more likely that these creatures – if they actually existed – would be easily found since they would have advanced intellectual and social capabilities
1:03:17 / Mike baits the Internet cranks
1:04:33 / We are exposed as part of the Marxist conspiracy!
1:06:54 / Discussing the decline of educational TV, particularly on cable
1:08:00 / Is this an inevitable by-product of capitalism? Is it supply or demand?
1:10:12 / JS makes the demand-driven case
1:11:04 / Prevalence of conspiracy theories in US (note the inevitable kooks in the comment section)
1:11:49 / Mike makes a qualified case for supply
1:15:02 / JS links the desire to believe to Western culture’s celebration of exploration and discovery
1:16:19 / Mike wonders if the increasing complexity of scientific theory contributes to the proliferation of these shows
1:18:22 / JS elaborates on his earlier remarks; cryptozoology is accessible and tangible to general audiences
1:20:03 / Is there a solution?
1:20:20 / JS is optimistic, perhaps pseudoscientific beliefs will decline along with traditional religion
1:21:20 / Mike is Debbie Downer, believes that religion isn’t disappearing but changing
1:22:05 / Wrapping up with L. Ron Hubbard
1:22:47 / Announcing the next episode – with a bonus advert for Tubi TV