Remember when Animal Planet used to be about animals? Now that season three of Finding Bigfoot has arrived, the network has clearly figured out that hunting crypto-zoological curiosities is at least as interesting as showing veterinarians pick fleas off feral cats.
The new season is the same as the previous two. Four people travel around the world looking for Bigfoot in what amounts to religious pilgrimages.
One of the researchers, Ranae Holland, is a welcome skeptic, but the others--especially Matt Moneymaker and a guy named Bobo--see Bigfoot in everything. And there's an excuse for everything. Why haven't we ever found any bones? Maybe Bigfoot's a ghost. Every burst of wind, every cracked twig and blurry picture--it's all Bigfoot.
Technically, it's all Bigfeet, but nobody on the show uses that word. They often refer to "Bigfoots," but more often, just "squatches" and various permutations of the word--much like the way Smurfs contort the word "smurf."
In one episode, Bobo--who looks a lot like Bigfoot, or at least like 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander--is searching in "some of the squatchiest terrain in America," and says, "It's squatchy; it's real squatchy."
The season premiere takes the researchers to an area in Idaho near Pocatello, where some teenagers recently filmed what appears to be someone trying to appear to be Bigfoot.
Bobo applies deductive reasoning to the mystery: "So I'm thinking this is another one of those squatches that ain't a rocket scientist, and so who knows how its teeth got broken out--probably not something real brilliant."
But whether or not these Bigfeet are building rockets, the cast remain undaunted.
"There are Bigfoots in Idaho, and it's just a matter of figuring out where they are now," Moneymaker says.
They don't figure it out, of course, but they'd better find some semblance of proof soon. Otherwise, the show is going to get squatched.