Animal Planet aired a new episode of “Call of the Wildman” on Sunday night, and like last week’s episode, it was quite odd. Turtleman, Ernie Brown, Jr., has been the subject of a lot of criticism over his animal capture techniques. The show has been accused of acquiring animals for use in the show, and, in at least one case, drugging the animal. The show has totally changed, but it is not very easy to explain how it has changed. It almost seems like the writers are using a “tongue-in-cheek” storyline, making some kind of response to their critics.
Last night, in the last segment, the beaver that Turtleman “captured” was so docile that he may have been stuffed, drugged or dead. Turtleman just pointed him gently into the bag without really touching him:. Now, let’s think about this a minute: a beaver was cornered in a tent-house and merely just sat there!
The first segment of the episode was reminiscent of early seasons when Ernie Brown trapped a mink or two. However, this time, the mink seemed to do more running around and around chasing the chickens than anything else. Were the writers asking us if we would rather just let the pesky “critters” run amok, destroying valuable agricultural animals? Yes, the whole episode was really just odd.
The characters on “Call of the Wildman” have been becoming caricatures of themselves during the past few episodes. Like “Duck Dynasty,” the show has begun to focus more on the unique humor of the characters than the actual rescue and release of animal pests. There was even one very weird monologue where Turtleman was looking closely into the camera talking, and he even spoke to his late father for a moment. Yes, it was a bit weird.
In truth, the focus on humor really could work, if the animal rescue part becomes so politically incorrect that it can’t be done at all. The real reason most people tuned in anyway was to laugh at Turtleman, Neal, Jake, Squirrel and Turtle Mom. If you want to read a bit more about the accusations of animal abuse that have been hurled at the wildly popular program, start with Mother Jones magazine.