The Other day I happened to catch a few minutes of Animal Planet’s reality show. King Of The Jungle, the hour-long weekly series combines a few elements from other, better established shows. Twelve people, all with experience in the handling of animals are vying for their very own Animal Planet series. To me this would be a dream job. The thought of traveling all over the third rock from the sun in search of animals in their natural habitat is inspiring. To be able to observe them and educate people at the same time is like a dream come true. Gettingpaid to do this would be icing on the cake, and really, who doesn’t like icing?
I missed almost the entire first episode, so my recapping will officially start with Episode two, creatively titled “King of The Jungle: Episode 2”.
We spend a few minutes at the camp, watching the 11 remaining contestants getting out of their tents and heading for the canopy over the very natural concrete slab to eat their breakfast. Christina knows she was close to going the night before and feels that she needs to prove herself worthy of staying. I think that’s kind of the point of the show for everyone.
The contestants’ head over to the main area to meet with the host Jeff Corwin where they sit in an open air class room setting watching Professor Corwin’s hands fly in excitement with his welcoming speech. He talks about the fact that there will be two challenges today, and by sunset one more person will be handing in their compass and asked to leave.
I can’t help but think maybe they should be given a compass when they are asked to leave, but I guess it’s more dramatic to slip the necklaced direction finder off someone’s neck. He goes on to introduce the judges then, palms turned upwards, he glances to the sky as he declares “Thank gosh I don’t make the decision”. Now, don’t get me wrong, if Jeff doesn’t want to thank God, that’s fine, but with his actions it only served to look as though he’d forgotten the Big Guy’s name and in a Homer Simpson D’Oh moment referred to him as ‘Gosh’.
Nigel Maven welcomes the remaining players then introduces the group to Stan Brock. Poor Stan, he doesn’t get to say a single word.
Nigel warns the players that he will show no mercy if they mistreat any of the animals they may come in contact with. You go Nigel. No Mercy. The camera pans to the group and they all look disturbed by the statement. Not because they are afraid they will see what No Mercy means to a man named Nigel, but because they wouldn’t think of ever mistreating an animal. You’d have thought that Nigel thought Joe Rogan was a contestant and he was looking for lunch.
The group goes back to camp to await the first challenge.
Is That an Alligator In Your Pond…?
The answer to that is, of course, yes. In fact that’s about 50 alligators in my pond. My murky, lily pad covered, muddy, grimy, shadowy pond, and your going in to get some.
The contestants had to make the choice between retrieving their own alligators to measure or asking the really hot alligator expert, Jeremy to hand them one to measure.
They were put into groups for this activity, so the pond wouldn’t be inundated with 11 people diving for gators at the same time.
Jeremy not the hot one, Ed, Christina and Jamie. Christina and Jeremy decide to go into the water to try and get their own gators, while Jamie asks the expert to hand him his first one.
This is where my notes fail me as I sit and read that Ed gets his second one. I will assume he did get his first one somewhere along the line.
Watching Nigel watch the activity in the pond is fascinating. He uses his “Wild Animal Documentary” voice as he describes the handling of the creatures by the humans. In hushed tones we hear that someone is doing a fantastic job, handling that animal beautifully.
Christina grabs a good sized alligator, I’d bet it was 3-4 feet in length, but she can’t keep a hold of it. The animal is thrashing it’s tail and twisting it’s head dangerously close to Christina’s face. We get to see the jaws inches from her nose a few times in slow motion. We get to hear Jeremy (the expert) yell at her to let go a few times. I wonder why they didn’t save this group for last in the editing room, and get visions of someone else actually losing a finger or two.
Nigel informs us that Ed is pathetic in his attempt to find his own gator, as he’s walking through the water with his hands hovering a foot from the surface and clenched into tight fists.
Everyone knows you can’t catch an alligator like that. Which is precisely why that is exactly how I would be walking through that pond.
Jeremy finds his second of the day and after he measures it Jeff calls time.
Total Gator count: Ed ~ 2, Jeremy ~ 2 , Christina ~ 1 and Jamie ~ 2.
Mike, Aletris, Adam and Ernie.
Mike proves to be quite speedy when he almost immediately pulls a gator out of the pond, Aletris gets one too and although Nigel is impressed with her handling technique, he was not at all happy with her searching abilities. Adam and Ernie start worrying that they may run out of time, so they ask Jeremy to catch them one apiece. Adam then goes back in and gets one by himself. It seems Aletris has finally noticed the hot alligator guy and asks him to grab her
Mike catches his second of the day pushing Ernie to look harder and make his own catch too. He does, but a second later Jeff calls time and Ernie’s second gator won’t count.
Total Gator count: Mike ~ 2, Aletris ~ 1, Adam ~ 1 and Ernie 1
Jarod, John and Kelly (no, all you Amazing Race fans can relax, it’s not that John and Kelly)
Jarod wastes no time and finds himself a good sized gator shortly after stepping into the water. John, although terrified of gators, is right behind him, and neither of them has had time to measure before Kelly brings in one of her own.
Before Kelly is done measuring Jarod has Gator number 2, I don’t know how much they edited out, but before I finish writing “Jarod had second” in my notes, he’s coming out of the pond with his third. John is feeling the pressure, and winds up getting one more, but before the contest is over Jarod catches and measures his fourth alligator.
I’m nodding to myself thinking he did very well, plus he’s easy on the eyes. Not a bad combination. Any man that can handle a gator is OK in my book.
Total Alligator Count: Jarod ~ 4, John ~ 2 and Kelly ~ 1
We break for commercial, and then jump right into challenge two.
Trees don’t really grow like this
In the final challenge of the day the Host Wannabe’s must first climb up a tree using the handy –dandy wooden spikes, then walk along a log that connects it to another tree. Upon reaching the end of that one the contestant must take what looks to be a 2 foot jump to another log tied up to connect two more trees. Once they reach the end of that log they must peer into a nest and absorb as much info as they can. Once they return the way they came they must report their findings.
Nigel informs us (and possibly them) that there is something remarkable and if someone can tell him what that is they will definitely get brownie points.
I would like to report on each persons progress, but A) they only showed Chritina and Ernie in their entirety, and the others didn’t have their names under them as they went.
Stupid Animal Planet, do they really think I know these people already? What? Stupid me?. Yes, I suppose you are right, but I can’t be the only one out there….. can I?
So, we have Christina, who is very afraid of heights up first. If Jeff hadn’t have mentioned her phobia, no one watching ever would have known. She climbed up and all but ran to the end of the first log. She took a breath and jumped the span, landing on her feet and running to the end of the second log. Her only downfall was taking less than 2 seconds to look into the nest before running back and getting herself to terra firma.
Following Christina was a montage of clips. We saw many of the guys straddling the logs and inching forward braving splinters in the very worst of places for a shot at their own show. We got to hear descriptions from many of the players, one saying he saw a snake in the nest around the eggs.
No one up to this point had been able to tell Nigel the remarkable fact. At home we learn that the eggs in the nest actually belong to a Peregrine Falcon and Peregrines don’t lay eggs in a nest, they lay them on mountaintops.
Our last hope is Jamie, he did well in the alligator pit, but has trouble even climbing the tree. Once he does the dangerous splinter-finding-scooch across the first log he stands against the tree looking at the second log. We hear him say that it looks hard from up here. He says he’s going to go for it and just hope that the harness watchers can catch him if he falls. He stands. He waits. He mentally pictures every terrible thing that could happen. He waits. He tells us hes going to go for it.
Jeff calls time.
Back at camp everyone is talking about the challenge and one of the women says they heard one person didn’t even jump. Jamie owns up to it, but they think he’s lying.
As the others all talk about the methods they used to cross the logs, Jamie walks farther away from the group. He wishes he’d at least tried. He knows he may have failed, but to never have tried is worse. He is beating himself up about it enough, so I feel no need to agree with him here in this recap.
Time To Hand Over The Compass
Jeff gives a nice speech about how great everyone is. The challenges were hard and he is humbled by how well everyone did, but…..
Nigel comes to the front of the group and heads over towards Jamie. He tells Jamie that he did superb in the alligator challenge. Next he heads to Jarod. Nigel just wants to shake the hand of the man who caught four gators. He makes his way to Ernie and is disappointed because Ernie is the one who says he thought he’d seen a snake in the nest, when in fact there was no snake at all. He tells Ernie that he really needs to be careful with the information he gives out. Nigel finishes his speech by letting Ernie know he did good with the Alligators. His last speech goes to John. Nigel wants him to know that his performance was superb with the alligators.
Back in front of the group Nigel says everyone has been so close but Jamie had to go. Nigel wished Jamie had at least tried to make the jump. He tells Jamie that he likes him, but it’s time to hand over the compass and walk the bridge of shame back home.
Jamie shakes everyone’s hand and leaves the camp. He is disappointed but not surprised. That’s about how I feel Jamie.