Hey y’all, guess what’s back? (Besides Lindsay Lohan + jail = besties for eva).
GOLD RUSH! Which Discovery Channel is now touting as the number one show on television. Which I find very hard to believe because my fellow-love-miner-for-life XFE and I have never run across another single solitary person who watches it. And believe me….anytime the talk turns to the economy or reality television, we mention Gold Rush.
Here’s why (in case you missed the first season, which I suspect you did):
Gold Rush is a show about a lovable group of losers from somewhere in the Northwest (Washington? Oregon? I don’t know. I just know there is a lot of flannel and ungroomed facial hair).
This group of losers is mostly unemployed and on the verge of losing everything: their homes, their businesses, their F150s, their families, their dogs.
So what happens when a man has nothing left to lose? He takes his destiny in how own hands, maxing out all his credit to buy equipment, talks all his friends into following him, and goes on a foolhardy quest to dig his millions out of the ground. I’m talking prospecting here. Even if no one on the crew has any experience prospecting for gold or anything else. Wait, I take it back, the old man of the crew, Jack Hoffman, went prospecting for gold once. And failed miserably. So…there’s that.
The group of greenhorns went to Alaska last season and failed. Hoffman and his son Todd invested $250,000 and only found $20,000 in gold. They were clumsy, inexperienced, and painful to watch. Really, we just kept watching because we were riveted by the train wreck.
This show truly specializes in getting your hopes up that somehow this hapless crew will stumble onto some luck, only to then let you slam down to earth as you realize (a) how insurmountable the task is; and (b) just how unfortunate and luckless they really are. We’re talking obstacles galore: many of them mechanical, some of them natural (one of their kids almost died last season from drinking water that had been contaminated with beaver feces. Yeah, you read that right. BEAVER FECES.) But most of the obstacles are just self-made.
The show returned for its second season last week. And oh man. Talk about self-made obstacles.
Season Two started with the revelation that Todd wants to mine TWO claims this summer – Porcupine Creek and one further north in the Klondike. Uh, ok. Sure, because if you failed, you should try, try again.
Anywho, the Klondike deal falls through anyway over some water permitting issue, so the ragtag crew heads back to Porcupine Creek. Which, in my little brain, seems like the better and easier option anyway. After all, it’s closer, and it’s where all their equipment is (equipment which, by the way, they didn’t take the time to store or winterize and therefore, have been out exposed to the Alaska winter for the last five months. It’s like they want to have equipment problems!).
Plus, they’ve already done a ton of work there, including digging what they call a “glory hole” where they believe the gold is. (I snicker every time anyone says “glory hole.” I’m incredibly immature.)
And that’s when the evilest man in all of Alaska shows up to gut punch the Gold Rush crew.
Dakota Fred showed up about halfway through the last season. He was hired by the claim owner to help Todd et al get over that whole learning curve they’re struggling with. The claim is leased to Todd and crew – they don’t own it. (Remember that. It’s gonna be important.) And the claim owner gets a percentage of the value of whatever gold is found on the claim, and 20% of zero is zero. So the owner sends Fred, an experienced miner to go see what’s up on the claim and get folks set straight.
This season, Dakota Fred shows up and tells Todd and crew that he has bought the whole damn claim from the previous owner. And he wants to prospect it himself. Without the Gold Rush crew. And while Dakota Fred should just be told to take a hike since Todd has a lease with the previous owner, that just doesn’t happen. Why not? Because Todd didn’t make one of his monthly lease payments and now the lease is thrown out completely. They now have 48 hours to get off the property.
I was exploding off the couch at this point. This moron forgot to make a payment and now all their months of hard work, blood, sweat, tears, are just wiped off the board? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Then Todd does something that is incredibly unbelievable – he sells his equipment to Dakota Fred! The low-down, conniving, claim-jumping scoundrel who’s about to swoop in, right when the Gold Rush crew is on the verge of making some money and take all their work for himself.
Todd wants to take the $80,000 Dakota Fred paid for all the equipment to Klondike, try to find another claim, and buy more equipment up there. And, hopefully, his loveable crew of losers will go with him.
Reader: I am apoplectic just typing it out. But it did lead to one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen: a slow-motion chase involving a large excavator, a father, his son, and a utility cart. Jack says he won’t sell his favorite piece of machinery to Dakota Fred: “It’s my 400 and I’m taking it out of here,” and he heads for the river. He’s followed by his son Todd, who (quite rightly) points out: “Listen Dad, I love you, but when you go off on your own, that’s when stuff gets broken.”
And scene. Actually, there was a big pep talk and prayer session to convince the other four yahoos to embroil themselves even further in this lunacy and make the hike up to Klondike. Where they have no claim. And no equipment. And no anything.
Ugh. This show is gonna kill me. It’s on Friday nights at 9 pm.