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Why I Love Deadliest Catch

The ninth season of Deadliest Catch starts tonight!

I don’t have much time to watch TV, but this show is a staple on my calendar and the only one I make it a priority to watch.

I’m not a fan of fabricated reality shows – things like The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, The Real World, and anything involving the Kardashians where we’re watching real people but it’s anything but real life. These people are in irrelevant competitions and you can tell a lot of them are hoping to become famous for doing nothing or get their own show out of the deal.

Me with Captain Keith - Summer 2011

Me with Captain Keith – Summer 2011

Deadliest Catch has real people doing their real jobs fishing on the Bering Sea. They don’t need to fabricate drama because the risk that every day you could die is drama enough. The relationships between the people real, which I think makes for much better TV because we actually care what happens in their lives. And according to the reports, everyone acts the same on camera as they do off camera. They’re there to do a job first, not create good TV. (That comes in the editing.) Apparently there’s at least one guy we almost never see on the show because everything he says contains profanity.

I love watching the captains on all the boats, well except Captain Elliott. They’re hard asses when it comes to pushing their crews, but these big strong (sometimes scary-looking) guys each have a compassionate side. We’ve seen them all shed tears when another boat is in trouble or loses a crew member and they feel guilty when a guy gets hurt under their watch.

And I love that they’re real people. I follow a lot of the captains on Twitter and I saw a panel at SXSW that featured Captain Sig, Captain Keith, and Captain Jonathan talking about how they use Twitter. (Captain Andy was still fishing.) I also got to the hotel before their panel and invaded their coffee time on the patio next to the hotel. They were totally sweet and let me sit with them for a few minutes. I thought about asking them for a picture, but I wanted to treat them like normal people too and respect their down time.

Captain Sig was the best during the panel. His first tweet was “Twitter rhymes with shitter.” He also said that when he gets home from being on the Bering Sea for months he doesn’t want to tweet, “I want to screw my wife.” They all do a good job of interacting with their fans online and letting us be part of their lives. It was fun when Captain Keith was getting his boat ready for crab season and tweeted a picture of the receipt from Costco and let fans guess how much it was.

SXSW was the second time I got to meet Captain Keith. The first time was an appearance he did in Phoenix two summers ago. Props to him for coming to Arizona in the middle of the summer. He was a total sweetheart and signed an autograph for me and one for my friend Stacee who was serving in Afghanistan at the time. I lived with her during my 1L summer with the JAG; we watched a lot of Deadliest Catch because we were living in the middle of nowhere.

I’m looking forward to the new season of Deadliest Catch. For one hour a week I get to feel a sliver of the exhilaration and exhaustion that comes with working on the Bering Sea.  I will definitely have that time blocked on my calendar so I can be sure to see each episode when it debuts if I don’t have other obligations.

Every so often I think it might be fun to be a deckhand for a season, but then I remember that I’m freezing when the temperature drops before 70 degrees, I’m so accident prone I’d be injured the first day, and I’m so small they’d have to put a leash on me to make sure I didn’t blow overboard. Maybe I’m better suited to work on a boat in the summer.

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