Monday, July 28, 2008

"Deadliest Catch" Captain Promotes Book in Indiana

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I saw was crab-boat captain Andy Hillstrand on local TV news, promoting his book based on his and his brother's lives working on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea. Everybody seems to know all about these guys because they are featured on the Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch.

As it turns out, Andy lives just a few miles up the road from my parents in Chandler, Indiana--when he's not out risking his life on the crab boat. Mom said they were promoting the book, Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World's Deadliest Jobs, at the Evansville Barnes & Noble just a few weeks ago. Yesterday he was here for the Brickyard 400 race, so he decided to squeeze some PR out of his visit.

I used to think that constantly watching "the crab show" was my household's own secret shame. But everywhere I turn, I find someone else who admits to watching it all the time. I mean, really--what's the appeal of this crazy show and why can't we ever turn it off? Here's my best guess:
  • Like all good reality shows, it gets you interested in the lives and stories of the characters.
  • There seems to be a lot of manufactured drama in addition to the real drama, so you have to keep watching to see what happens next.
  • People get a gambler's rush when they pull up those pots and they're just teaming with crab. Sometimes there's nothing there but a trash bag and an old shoe, so the uncertainty keeps us investing more of our time in hopes of the big payoff.
  • It's an interesting look into a lifestyle that's so different from ours. I like to sink back in the leather couch, stare at the 40-inch plasma, dig into my bowl of ice cream, and think, "Man, I'm glad I'm not on that boat!"


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Everyone in my home is a big fan of Deadliest Catch! And of MythBusters.

Lori Cates Hand said...

See--everybody loves this show. I used to think it was more of a "guy" thing and would roll my eyes when my husband watched it. But inevitably, I always get reeled in!

Laurence Shatkin said...

Another well-done show of this type is "Ice Road Truckers," but after I saw it a couple of times I didn't see what I'd gain from watching it a third time. It's interesting to note that these two shows both deal with very hazardous occupations. It reminds me of the observation that the most reliable TV formats--cop shows, medical shows--always deal with death. I guess you wouldn't have much success with a show about accountants, although AMC seems to be succeeding with a fictional show about advertising execs. Then there's "Dirty Jobs," which has mostly gross-out appeal.

Lori Cates Hand said...

I know what you're thinking: a new book called Best Jobs for People with a Death Wish!

We watch the trucker show sometimes, too, but somehow it's not as good or not on as often.