In case you haven't noticed, television has gone to the hogs.
Yes, I said hogs. As in wild boars. All of a sudden, TV is lousy with 'em.
First, Roseanne Barr opens her new Lifetime reality show chasing the menacing critters around her macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. And now A&E follows suit with "American Hoggers," a real-life series about a family of boar trappers in Texas. The show's original premiere in August was postponed because of the intense heat wave that beset Texas this summer.
Before we dig any deeper, "Hoggers," premiering with two back-to-back episodes Wednesday, is not likely to find much favor among the PETA set, as it depicts the family of Jerry Campbell, 64, tracking, capturing and shooting wild hogs. Granted, these are not the cutest of critters - the hogs, I mean, not the Campbells.
The animals, which Jerry pronounces smarter than humans, are otherwise unstoppable as they destroy crops and grazing land and endanger livestock, pets and, potentially, children. With their wild eyes, powerful (and powerful ugly) mouths, these are some mean sombitches.
Although the boars are said to cause about $50 million in damage in Texas alone, and are about as far away from the movies' "Babe" as you can get, some viewers will still find it hard to watch as these grunting marauders are set upon by Jerry, his daughter, Krystal (a.k.a. Pistol), son, Robert (Hunter), and their team, get hog-tied and hauled away in the back of a pickup truck.
"Hog boss" Jerry is probably TV's most unlikely reality show star. Dressed in a dusty, battered cowboy hat, jeans and worn boots, he's like a cross between Billy Bob Thornton in "Sling Blade" (especially when he says the word "taters") and old-time character actor Gabby Hayes.
A&E graciously provides subtitles for ole marble-mouth Jerry, but only intermittently. The network seems to think you can understand him if you see his lips move, but since he has a beard as thick as an English hedgerow, good luck even seeing his mouth, much less seeing it move. When you can make him out, he's just filled to overflowing with homespun aphorisms, such as his declaration that he's "been hunting hogs since Moby Dick was a sardine."
The show's creators are hoping that the family dynamic between Jerry and his kids will hold our attention in addition to all that hog chasing. Jerry, of course, knows a thing or three about hogs after 50 years in the business. But Krystal-Pistol and Robert-Hunter want to modernize things a bit.
When a favorite hunting dog - old one-eyed Rooster - goes missing, Krystal is miffed because her father won't spend money on better tracking collars for the dogs. Despite the fact that Jerry almost considers Rooster a member of the family, he's set in his ways.
Chasing and catching boars may be all well and good, but is it enough to keep us coming back for more every week? Well, if people can watch people fight over storage bins and seeing their cars towed away in South Beach, anything is possible.
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