Friday, July 1, 2011

FINDING BIGFOOT - Bigfoot Crossing in Georgia

Animal Planet - Original Air Date: 5/30/11

Every week, the team on this show goes looking for bigfoot; it's like Ghost Hunters, but with bigfoot.  The team is made up of the the perhaps-ironically named Matt Moneymaker (leader), Bobo (the bigfoot stand-in), Ranae (biologist skeptic), and Cliff (the nondescript one); together, they form the Big Foot Research Organization (BFRO).  They're in Georgia this week to check out a police dashboard cam of a dark figure, that might be sasquatch, running across the road.  Ranae thinks its a hoax, but the rest of the crew are pretty firmly in the believer camp already.  Witnesses seem sure it wasn't a bear, or a man in a costume, so the group goes for a recreation (with Bobo, who is very tall).  Naturally, this convinces the group's believers that the original was bigfoot -- though Ranae notes they just proved it could be recreated.  They then tromp around in the area knocking wood and making their own bigfoot calls.  Naturally they hear things they think are bigfoot; though I gotta say, if I was walking in the woods and heard this stuff, I'd do it back, too -- just for fun. Bigfoot, or human prankster?  The question never seems to enter their minds.

After they walk in the spooky woods, they call a town meeting to talk to other local witnesses -- and plot the locations of the "encounters."  And talk to more witnesses, and do more recreations.  Most of the witnesses seem very sincere, and with each one, the group (aside from Ranae) becomes more and more convinced there are bigfoot in the area.  (Though they do question the veracity of one witness, who seems to be telling them what they want to hear.)  They also find some footprints in the red clay earth that match what are commonly thought to be bigfoot tracks; they make casts, and even Ranae is impressed -- though she wonders if people planted them there, knowing the team was in the area.  (And I wonder if this is the best they've had in 25 years, how crappy is the rest of their "evidence.")  Then they drive through the woods looking for hits on their thermal camera.  They get one, but can't track it down.  So they start screaming again, and hear a howl back.  (Me, again?)  And that's pretty much where it ends.

This is a show for believers in bigfoot.  It is not a show for people who want to figure out if bigfoot is real, or what people who think they've seen bigfoot are seeing.  All the people on this show already know it's real (with the possible exception of Ranae).  If you like sightings and eyewitnesses, this is probably a show for you. If you want careful analysis of the facts, you're probably better off with Destination Truth.  We don't even get an end-of-show recap with the "evidence."  Though I admire the fact that it's a show tackling essentially the same "problem" every week, the "researchers" belief in the phenomenon seems to taint all of their conclusions.  I've seen a number of the shows in this series now, and the pattern holds.  What you get in this episode is pretty much what you get in the rest: intriguing video (or picture), stomping around the wilderness howling, talking to witnesses, and believing that "bigfoot is here."

Maybe at some point the show will get some evidence that makes me believe (or doesn't make my wife laugh and say "That's a guy in a suit!"), but I'm not holding my breath.  I doubt Ranae is, either.

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