Was holiday travel a bitch for you this year? It was for me. In fact, the only thing (besides a stiff drink) that helped me endure my joke of a JetBlue flight out of JFK was the on-board entertainment system. Specifically: Animal Planet. I bring this up for two reasons. The first: 2 hours into my six-hour marathon watching the network, I noticed that many other females on the flight were tuned to the same channel. The second (smaller) reason: Some confusion in the comments of yesterday's post about zoos with regards to my stance on the channel. (For the record, I also like polar bear pajamas; I was just making a point about the dual fetishization of/cruelty to animals in America.) Anyway, last night, Wonkette waterboarder Megan Carpentier and I spent an hour IM'ing about our addiction to the cable channel's hunky heroes (Jeff Corwin, specifically), animal abuser revenge fantasies, and the now-legendary Puppy Bowl. Our conversation, after the jump.
Anna: ok so let's talk about animal planet. as you know, what prompted me to want to do this chat now as opposed to an undetermined time in the future is that i may have mistakenly given the impression in a post that i don't like the channel. a commenter questioned it, so i felt the need to set the record straight. also: it is a SLOOOOW news week so animals are always a good go-to.
Megan: animal planet: obviously, i am completely addicted as well.
Anna: so i want to know: when did you start watching, how many hours a week, and what are your favorite shows/who favorite personalities?
Megan: ok, how I started watching is a complete embarrassment, but it was one of
the animal cops shows- NY or San Francisco, I can't say. because there's hardly anything on at 10:00 on weeknights and I would be like, awwww, poor puppy/kitty/horsie/swan whatever and be totally hooked for an hour.
Anna: haha SWAN
Megan: and then it's all like, yay! new home! omg, did you not see the episode in NYC with the swan? these meanies killed a swan that was nesting and they saved the little swan eggs and everything
Anna: no! i never saw that one.
Megan: one of the "cops" was keeping them warm in her coat!
Anna: did the people get charged? the meanies?
Megan: no. they like, shot it with an arrow it was very sad.
Anna: ugh. i don't get that. see, that's one thing i don't like about the animal cops shows: the people sometimes get off scot-free
Megan: not in Texas. it's like completely awesomely Texas-y that one person an episode in Texas just gets hosed
Anna: one reason to like texas!
Megan: in NY and Detroit, hardly ever. it's usually the horse-abusers, who are always truly awful.
Anna: sometimes when the agents are dealing with the abusers, i wonder: how do they stay so CALM? cause i'm often about to put my fist through the fucking TV screen and why don't they yell more? that's one thing that bugs me. they don't really ever chew them out. at least not to MY liking.
Megan: sometimes they aren't, which is even more awesome. i've definitely seen people- even the gruff dudes (NY and Detroit again) like tear up. and i've totally seen people get ripped new ones. see, i obviously watch this alot.
Anna: well then you are watching the right episodes and i am watching the WRONG ONES. one awesome thing: the women in animal precinct (the show set in nyc) are often parked outside the deli and diner in my neighborhood in queens, getting coffee/food. i was starstruck when i saw the blonde woman... annemarie lucas. i waved, albeit shyly
Megan: see, i like the really rough-seeming ones, because they're soooo cute to see go ga-ga over the animals
Anna: the men?
Megan: yeah. annemarie seems like an animal person, more than a cop. well, a couple of the lady cops look like they could do some damage, and then they're all like, kitty kitty kitty and it's totally sweet. and there's that lady in detroit
Anna: the heavyseat one with the curly dark hair?
Megan: yeah, her in detroit, too. she could take someone down. and the black dudes in detroit are cute!. but she could kick my ass halfway into next week.
Anna: i wonder if they have groupies
Megan: omg, they HAVE to have groupies. i would totally hit on them in a bar, are you kidding?
Anna: haha ME TOO . so the horses bother you the most. they bother me for sure, but so do the puppies and adult dogs
Megan: well, let's not get me wrong, the dog situations are usually horrifying and sad and awful
Anna: embedded collars, etc.
Megan: but with the horses, we're talking months and months and months of starvation if not years, whereas a dog I can at least pretend that it's like 6 weeks, tops
Anna: yes. there was a family of pigs on a recent episode of one of the shows (phoenix maybe?) that were being starved and that really got to me. which is perhaps hypocritical because i eat them?
Megan: plus, then, the owners are always like, but i just rode him last week, and you've got this horse that weighs less than me. no, the starving piggies are sad, too. i mean, a starving pet is just terrible. my friends feel bad if they forget to feed their dog at 7 and do so at 8
Anna: i would like for someone to start a blog with the names/email addresses of the abusive owners seen on those shows so that... so that... i dunno. i could write to them and tell them off? send them a care package of shit? something?
Megan: flaming bags of poo would, i think, be completely appropriate. (unrelated point: i know a lobbyist who had that done to him at his office door)
Anna: hahaha. i know a guy who got a baby ruth bar, melted it slightly (just slightly) in an office microwave, shaped it a bit with his fingers, and laid it in the bed of a pair of tightey whiteys and left that on his office mate's desk. the company sent out a memo the next day saying they were looking for the perp and that they'd had the substance tested and it was found to be human feces
Megan: what does that say about poo?
Anna: speaking of poo? there isn't a lot of shit to be found on animal planet. my experience is that animals generate a LOT of shit
Megan: It might be Discovery instead of AP, but Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs on whom I have an enormous crush deals in animal poo all the time. They need to get an animal poo roundup show with him on AP.
Anna: oooh good one!
Megan: But, you're right. Miss Adventure would be the only one who would ever traffic in poo
Anna: i think jeff corwin has made some shit jokes
Megan: Jeff Corwin would. And he's cute.
Anna: and he's funny. even though his jokes can be kinda lame?
Megan: And Jeff Corwin always seems to end up wet. Sorta like Mike Rowe ends up shirtless a lot. I think they're playing to our baser natures, and I'm fine with that.
Anna: you should ask your friend who works for AP but, do they have two distinct demographics? young males who like lizards and snakes and then women, who like the cuddly creatures and hot guys?
Megan: Ummm, I'm going to guess that they mostly gear towards kids and women. Because I like lizards and snakes and it's really education, and the only men I know who are devoted watchers are gay.
Anna: on the plane back from california the other day, i was watching the new orangutan show on AP and paul was watching some GUY SHOW on some other channel - south park? something - and he looked over at my screen for a bit, then changed his channel to animal planet too.it was cute
Megan: omg, i love monkeys, too. also, awww.
Anna: i love the orangutan show! i'd never seen it. i actually started crying halfway through the second episode, but that may have been the high altitude
Megan: oh, please, who doesn't cry at Animal Planet shows here and there? I think my roommate made me watch one once in college about lemurs and the lemur died and I wept.
Anna: oh i do all the time but i also don't usually go from zero (no crying) to 60 (full-on sobs) that often or, that quickly. do you like emergency vets? i think i am developing a crush on the lead doctor.
Megan: Yeah, definitely. They're after our souls! Hot guys, and Puppy Bowl? It's a winning combination.
Anna: haha. i like puppy bowl BUT i get bored quickly. speaking of, when i was on the AP site tonight loooking for a HOT IMAGE OF CORWIN i saw that AP is selling puppy bowl dvds, which, for some reason, i find ridiculous. it is a genius idea, however - puppy bowl. isn't there a kitten halftime show? or am i making that up?
Megan: but you know why I'll bet people buy puppy bowl dvds? to leave on for their dogs during the day.
Anna: which brings us to... do you have a pet?
Megan: I do not, actually. I used to work the kind of hours I felt were mean, so I'm godmother to my neighbor's dog Ronnie and I dogsit for my friends' dog Bourbon. I'm a doggie aunt.
Anna: no pet? see here's my experience with AP and pets
1. i leave AP on when i'm not home for them. sound turned down but picture on.
2. when i AM home and watching an Animal Planet show that i find upsetting, i go to them for consolation.
them = 2 cats. thing is, they could give a shit about giving me consolation
Megan: Well, they are cats.
Anna: so it's just me with wet eyes and cooing and shit. i do think they watch AP quite often. they like the meerkats
Megan: I love the meerkats. [sniffs] Poor Flower.
Anna: i'd like for your friend at Animal Planet to find out how many people leave the channel on for their animals when they leave the house. i'd think that would boost ratings!
Megan: I would bet a ton of people do. I wonder how they'd find that out? Also, I wonder if advertisers would then try to develop more pet-specific advertising, and whether it would work.
Anna: ok hot guys: who else is hot? is corwin the only one?
Megan: Well, I mean, Sean Astin voices Meerkat, and I still have a residual Goonies-era crush there. I saw him once in DC, and I got all schoolgirl about it, especially when I realized that no one else around recognized him but me because he's short-ish and just looked like any other Hill staffer if you weren't paying attention.
Anna: Ok, so, him, the 2 Detroit guys...
Megan: the snake assistant on the Miami version (Mario, I think he name is), and, frankly, the pudgy guy (Charles?) on Texas got me when he cried over a horsie dying in his arms. because i was like, awww, big teddy bear.
Anna: dude if you are going to have a proper crush on the detroit guys you need to LEARN THEIR NAMES
Megan: Sean Hairston is the one without dreds
Anna: ok one down! do u know the other one's name?
Megan: damn you! um, no I'm blanking
Anna: ok i'll give u a HINT. it's actually VERY SIMILAR to the name of a certain discovery channel hottie you mentioned earlier
Megan: so, it's Mike?
Anna: yes. and last name is just one letter different. DOWE. mike dowe
Megan: so, they're cute, plus Mario and Charles. are there actually other men? Mo Rocca used to do a voice over and he's kinda fey nerdy cute.
Anna: (note to animal planet: need more men)
Megan: there are some ripped ones on Arizona, but I hardly ever see new episodes
Anna: well there was STEVE IRWIN. but he never did it for me
Megan: nah, he never did it for me either. he was too hyper for my taste. But Jacques Cousteau's hot grandson...
Anna: why is it that men who work with animals are especially hot? i mean i get it but
i don't think that men who work with, say, children are hot. i don't think they're NOT hot but i certainly don't think they're extra hot
Megan: Well, it sorta depends on the guy, but I think we're starting to be conditioned a little to view men that works with children with a touch of suspicion. because of the relentless media coverage of pedophile teachers and coaches and stuff. but that doesn't exist with men who are good with animals, and we're projecting that they would then be good with kids, probably. also, the hot grandson is phillipe: http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/09/06/cnna.cousteau/index.html
Anna: i don't like the scruff on him. too manicured. also he has highlights? or is that just from days on the ocean?
Megan: yeah, he's looking kinda too manicured
Anna: read = GAY
Megan: well, could be but i've heard otherwise
Anna: it's the whole gay or european debate. So, did we figure out anything? were we supposed to? or were we just riffing on animal planet? oh, i wanted to know how many hours a week or day you watch it
Megan: Um, I'd have to say 5 hours a week? I really don't watch and blog because I get distracted.
Anna: yeah i turn on cnn during blogging hours. animal planet only weekend. i would like for them to do more programming on how animals are farmed in america. not judgmental just educational
Megan: oooh, yes.
Anna: because if they're airing "mature" stuff like GRIZZLY MAN they can air something about industrial food production
Megan: it's actually really interesting. I am a big educated carnivore. Grizzly Man was amazing!
Anna: i loved that movie THE FOXES! oh one last question! your avatar is a monkey right? if so, WHAT KIND???
Megan: actually, i believe it's a puppy in a costume. it used to be a lioness, but it MYSTERIOUSLY changed the time i blogged from Moe's. not that i'm accusing
Anna: hahahaha. SHE had that avatar once! it's haunting her home. well i think it's the right amount of "cute" and "intimidating"
Megan: yeah, that seems to be about my style