Theory: Why chasing a sasquatch is better for you than exploring the shores of Jersey.

If there were a TV show that I would consider to be my guilty pleasure, it would be Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot. The program follows the exploits of four wayward travelers, Cliff, Matt, Renae, and “Bobo” (yes, Bobo) as they search for the elusive creature known as Bigfoot. Matt is the founder of the B.F.R.O. (BigFoot Field Researchers Organization) and has been squatching for several years. Cliff, the “analytical” one, is a former member of the BFRO; Renae is the skeptical scientist and only one with a legitimate degree worthy of being an authority on wildlife; and Bobo…well, Bobo howls and screams in the middle of the night in hopes that a real, live sasquatch will respond.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? It’s a wonderful escape for the ever-moving mind.

How these four individuals got the rights to a television show is beyond me, but when one observes what Finding Bigfoot is up against, it makes sense. Teen Mom? Overdone and lame. Keeping Up with the Kardashians? Honestly, why are we keeping up with them at all? And Family Guy – Is every episode written by a 10-year old with ADHD? I want a full scale investigation to find out.

But there’s one program which stands out among this list of digital delinquents: the Jersey Shore. It’s probably the single worst show I think I’ve ever seen. I tried watching Jersey Shore about a year and a half ago and within 30 seconds I lost about 100 brain cells. From what I could gather, the show is about six or seven people, all living in the same house, not related, whose sole mission every episode is to head out on the town, cause drama and ultimately sleep with a random stranger. Oh, and they all have nicknames too. Something like the Scenario right? And another goes by Mookie or something like that. I really don’t recall because I wasn’t paying attention but I feel like I’m rather close.

Comparatively speaking, the folks on Finding Bigfoot have a few nicknames of their own and they invade various towns in every episode. What they’re looking for are other individuals, like themselves, that believe in the Bigfoot phenomenon. The villagers they find at each new hotspot share stories of their encounters, much like the Jersey-ites, and then proceed to take these witnesses to the location in which they saw the fabled beast. That one’s a stretch but it’s somewhat like the Jersey Shore, right?

But that’s not where the similarities end. For instance, the stars of Finding Bigfoot are actively hunting a creature of lower level intelligence (presumably anyway) that is both elusive and mysterious. The actors on the Jersey Shore are hunting in the same manner; for creatures of lower level intelligence with possibly even lower levels of self respect. The only difference, aside from the promiscuity, is the amount of hair these people have in comparison to the Bigfoot but even that may be up to debate.

So here I am, channel surfing on a Sunday night, as I find myself looking for something to wind down with on the tube. The various news stations are telling me that rattlesnakes are invading Russia and that I should be on the lookout for blue pens as they may have higher levels of toxicity than red, thus causing cancer (of course) so that’s out. ESPN is running another special on why so many football players are getting concussions nowadays (probably because they’re all so freaking huge) so I switch from that station quickly too. What I’m left with are reruns of Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Home Improvement, and Friends. Since I’ve seen just about every one of those episodes, I’m torn about what to watch; if anything at all.

And that’s when I find (ironically) the show Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. It may not be solving world peace or tackling issues for the betterment of society but at least it’s friendly entertaining and piques my interest. Sure, this fearless foursome may never find their intended quarry, but that’s not what makes me want to watch them week-in and week-out. There’s something intangible; unseen and even remarkable at work here in every episode. There’s a collective hope that these people hold onto in their neverending quest for Bigfoot. And as another human being, I can relate to that. I want to find something bigger than myself in life and I want to be a part of something greater than just me. Conversely, I can’t relate to being a complete fool for the sake of ratings and I can’t relate to someone whose perception on life (acting or not) is so tiny and small that it revolves around only themselves. What a small life that must be…and isolating to boot. Despite all the supposed fame, I actually feel sorry for the cast.

So as I sit through another trail-hunting, hairy monster-seeking hour of Finding Bigfoot, I think of what else could possibly be on to pull me away.

At that point, I realize there’s nothing more interesting at this moment than Bobo’s explanation on why sasquatches climb trees. Yes, no one has ever seen this in real life, but hey, there’s always that chance that some place, somewhere, a Bigfoot is doing just that. And for that reason, I’ll keep checking in when I’m able.

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