I’m not sure how authentic it ever was, but at this point “reality” TV is so far from being real that I’ve stopped finding the misuse of the word “reality” funny. Even the shows I kind of like (Pawn Stars, American Pickers, and Storage Wars) have obviously fake and staged bits mixed in with the “reality.” TruTV has apparently built an entire network based solely on the idea of finding reality shows that were successful on another network and making them faker (just watch any given episode of their Storage Wars knock-off “Storage Hunters” sometime if you don’t believe me.)
But Destination America has gone everybody one better with Mountain Monsters. It’s a show about a bunch of “backwoods trappers” hunting mythical monsters like Ohio Grassman and Mothman. They also hunted Devil Dogs, which I was pretty sure you could just go to the store and buy, but I guess I was mistaken.
The problem is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more inept group of “trackers” and “hunters” in my entire life. I’m no outdoors-man myself, but several members of my family would match the description of “backwoods trapper” quite nicely, and I feel vaguely offended on their behalf whenever I watch the Mountain Monsters guys. These guys stumble around the forest like a herd of elephants, loudly shouting and shining their jillion candlepower headlamps everywhere while busily stamping out any tracks that might be in the area. The fat kid doesn’t even seem to know how to handle a rifle, as he constantly walks around with his finger on the trigger, and often braces the butt in the crook of his elbow or against his ample bosom instead of, you know, firmly set against the shoulder like anybody who has ever fired an actual rifle would know to do. Hell, all the guys walk around waving their guns around, paying no heed to where the barrel is pointing or who is in front of them, breaking every rule of gun safety that every country kid learns early on. Only city folk think “hillbillies” act like this, and it’s honestly insulting to watch. Everybody I know who owns a rifle or a shotgun knows better than to handle it like these fools do.
But never mind all that. You don’t even need to know anything about real hunting and trapping to know this show is ridiculously fake. First of all, in every single episode they very nearly almost totally just miss trapping the monster! In fact, they’re usually only out there one night and they stumble across what they’re looking for every time. But of course, they never, ever actually manage to trap it, because these hardcore trappers build the most ridiculous Rube Goldberg devices possible instead of just waiting in a fucking tree stand and shooting the goddamn monster in the head, or just setting out a bunch of trusty bear traps!
My favorite example is from the Ohio Grassman episode, where they decide to dig a pit trap to catch this thousand pound, eight foot tall hominid. First, they’re supposedly miles and miles and miles from any form of civilization, and yet they somehow manage to drive in a fucking backhoe to dig their pit trap. Then, they act surprised when their pit starts filling up with water. Now, understand that it’s raining for pretty much this entire episode. Not only that, but they dig their pit right next to a river. No actual person who has spent more than ten minutes outdoors should have been surprised that this pit, dug on a floodplain literally just a few dozen feet from a river, instantly started filling up with water. But these cartoon hillbillies were!
So they dig a four foot pit to catch an eight foot hominid, and figure the mud will be enough to keep Grassman in what they’re now calling their “quicksand trap.” Holy shit, really? I’m just a little over six feet tall, and I’m pretty sure I could have easily pulled myself out of their ridiculous trap if I’d fallen in. Then of course they all wander away and nothing ever falls into the trap. Instead they find an old shack filled with grass and brush and figure this must be Grassman’s nest! After they all run around it, waving their guns around like idiots, one of them insists he saw Grassman’s butt.
And that’s it. That’s the episode. A pit nothing ever falls into, and an unseen grassy butt. Nah, this show isn’t fake at all.