Lost and Found

Let’s check in with our friends over at Finding Bigfoot.

Note: Not actually our friends.

Note: Not actually our friends.

For those of you unaware of these intrepid explorers, Finding Bigfoot is a show on, of all stations, Animal Planet. It follows the four people shown above as they investigate Bigfoot sightings and try to, as the title suggests, find him.

The group, members of the Bifgoot Field Researchers Organization, has been in existence since 1995 while the show has been on the air continuously since 2011. Which means, among other things, that the organization dedicated to researching Bigfoot in the field was able to financially support itself for 15 years.

It also means that for three years this team has been out in the field with the full financial might of Animal Planet behind it, spending all of those dollars brought in by the extravagance of the Puppy Bowl, trying to find a creature that is “astonishingly adept at avoiding human contact” (in the words of the BFRO’s website). They have had one job, to fulfill the title of their show, and find Bigfoot. They have not done so.

Oh, to be sure, they have heard plenty of stories from upstanding citizens of strange occurrences. They have witnessed strange tracks in the wilderness. They have… recreated the stories they’ve heard and gone out in the night looking with night vision goggles and the like. They have played genuine sounds of the Sasquatch at loud volume into the wild to try to entice one to come out. They have even tempted the Bigfoot with donuts and other sweets (which Bobo was unable to keep himself from sampling). Yet tangible evidence of the creature still eludes them.

This can mean only one of two possible conclusions: that the mysterious Bigfoot does not, in fact, exist; or that a sub-human primate has outwitted this group of sleuths for years.

Which seems impossible to believe, I know.

Which seems impossible to believe, I know.

So it seems clear that this group will never find the Bigfoot.

But perhaps there is another conclusion we can draw. The above branches of the logic tree are based on the group not having found the mysterious Sasquatch. What if they have found concrete evidence of the existence of this fictional animal? What would happen to them then?

They would, of course, be celebrated. They had finally succeeded where so many had failed! They would be able to laugh in the face of all those who doubted the purpose of their life’s work! Truly they would be heroes.

For a while. But their TV show would definitely suffer if not end altogether. They cannot find the Bigfoot any more than Gilligan and his crew could get off the island. Though Gilligan’s Island might have lasted a while watching the misadventures of the gang trying to adapt to life back in civilization, it would have soon ended, just as this one would. Finding Bigfoot is popular now following the researchers’ buffoonery, hearing tales of the Sasquatch and watching their attempts to discover it. Hard science would not play with this audience. And, alas, with the discovery of the Bigfoot, the next step would be the study of it. And if you think people would watch that, Animal Planet has already given the answer to that: they won’t.

Animal Planet, despite the name of the network, does not show much in the way of animals. Documentaries are left to the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel and the like. Instead, they show programs about people, with sometimes only nominal overlap with animals: Finding Bigfoot (already discussed), Treehouse Masters (about guys who build overlay elaborate treehouses), Pitbulls and Parolees (about former convicts who rescue pitbulls (the dogs, not the terrible musicians)), several shows about trying to find gold (for some reason this is on Animal Planet?), and several shows about people who try to trap animals who have encroached on people’s lives. The most animal-intensive show they have is Too Cute, which just shows baby pets and is only interested in the science of being adorable (spoiler alert: they are good at their science).

Seriously, it's just an hour of high definition footage of baby animals, usually kittens and puppies, but occasionally other animals, like this adorable sloth. Everyone in the television business who didn't think of this idea probably justifiably thinks of themselves as dumb.

Seriously, it’s just an hour of high definition footage of baby animals, usually kittens and puppies, but occasionally other animals, like this adorable sloth. Everyone in the television business who didn’t think of this idea should justifiably think of themselves as dumb.

So Finding Bigfoot would be off the air soon after the team found Bigfoot. In that case, what would the team smart enough to explode the myth do if they found the evidence? Such a smart group would undoubtedly hide the evidence. Not destroy it, but hide it. This would give them the world in the palm of their hands.

They go about their business, tracking down a creature they already know exists. But they wouldn’t look hard, both because they already know it exists and have proof, and because they would not want to find it again, particularly on camera. Instead they would go out and use ridiculous methods that could never work. They’ll listen to the locals spin tales of what they’ve heard, always with inconclusive sightings. They’ll reenact those tales, and whenever the action didn’t match exactly what one of the people of the group did, they’d conclude it could only be done by a Sasquatch. They would, perhaps, go out into the wild and make a ridiculous racket with “authentic” Bigfoot sounds. They’ll overreact to whatever natural sounds the wilderness produces as animals go about their nightly business. They’ll produce just enough mystery that the people who want to believe in Bigfoot will continue to do so, without giving away their secret. In short, they would make their show exactly how they’re making it now, if they were smart enough to find Bigfoot and still reap the rewards of having a show for as long as they could.

And when the show finally succumbs to the entropy that will consume us all, when the ratings fall to the point where it’s no longer tenable to keep it on the air, then they can “find” Bigfoot and produce the evidence they had all along. They’ll get their hero’s honor, the show will continue a while, and they’ll have their plaudits. They could be geniuses playing this country for saps.

Or they could be four idiots chasing a fictional animal.

Or they could be four idiots chasing a fictional animal.

3 thoughts on “Lost and Found

  1. Animal Planet is surprisingly human. With our rudimentary technology and feeble minds we search for mythical beasts, gold, and social redemption. Perhaps the network was created by extraterrestrials and we, humans, are the laughing stock of the enlightened universe. I mean, everyone has a soft spot for broadcasted stupidity.


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