Watching the preview for Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic channel, I feared that RF’s predictions of a sandbag job would come true. Talk about trailer trash; the commercials practically screamed “CRAZY PEOPLE WITH GUNS, OMG!” When I finally sat down and watched the first episode I discovered that the show wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be . . .
“Reality” shows edit their raw material shows to highlight the less desirable or socially acceptable features of their subjects’ personalities. Jake Zweig’s “game face” and tantrums on Top Shot and Snooki’s mere existence on Jersey Shore are but two examples of “stars” manufactured in the editing room. To their credit, Preppers‘ producers hadn’t used the tricks of the trade to make the aspiring survivalists look extra crazy.
DP’s creators seemed to take a fairly balanced approach to the subject. For us, the subject isn’t whether or not the S will HTF. It’s guns.
For the most part I’m happy with the Preppers‘ producers’ portrayal of firearms and their use. They talked about “last resort” and “self defense” and showed some fairly safe training sessions. They made it very obvious that the DPs were willing to use guns to protect themselves—without suggesting that were looking to start any fights.
But that was mostly just talk. Once the DPs hit the range, it became pretty obvious that most of the subjects neglected their firearms training in favor of the other aspects of “prepping.” They were just showing off for the camera. One family even stored their firearm inside its case in a bug-out bag, rendering it virtually inaccessible in an emergency (instead of storing it in a locked yet easy-to-open safe).
Take this family for example. It’s entirely possible that these women have never fired a DA/SA handgun before. But what’s more likely is that the producer of the show wanted some footage of “chicks with big guns” and asked them to fire it—despite not really being into that whole “gun” thing. To me, this girl’s expression is more “oh God, what am I doing” and less “hmm, gotta hit that target.”
In terms of things that go bang, NatGeo’s portrayal of Prepper people and their guns showed their subjects as level-headed and realistic people. There wasn’t one mention of “the blue helmets coming to take our guns.” Which is good for us, but bad for NatGeo. DP lacks the High School craziness and conflicts that more carefully scripted shows use to flypaper eyeballs.
The commercial for the episode three indicates that there’s tons more firearms-related footage to follow. Which is a bit strange as the next episode is entitled Back to the Stone Age [still above]. Anyway, despite the Valentine’s Day date, I’ll keep watching. I get the feeling that I’ll be part of a diminishing audience. Maybe they should have called Doomsday Preppers something more literate and played it more for scary laughs, like Waiting for Jake Zweig.