|Posted by Silja J.A. Talvi|
August 22nd, 2006
This is easily one of the strangest shows I’ve ever watched. It’s kind of like COPS, but with heart. Sort of.
Take a very muscular, long-haired, self-righteous, ex-con-turned-bounty-hunter, his very … hmmm … unusual family, and arm them with a bunch of OC Spray. Give them a bail bond agency, a bunch of massive SUVs, and the power to hunt down people addicted to the crystal meth-derivative, ice, in Hawai’i. Nearly all of whom are brown, poor, and down on their luck.
The show draws in viewers with its moralistic, crusading style of bounty hunting. What draws *me* in is the fact that this is the first time that the real, suffering face of drug addiction has such a constant, raw presence on a reality television show. (And that so many of those faces are those of women, Native Hawai’ian and people of Asian and mixed descent.)
Once he busts ‘em, Dog usually has a heartfelt spiel about gettin’ off drugs, and how he was once where they are. He means it, and that much is clear. And then they’re off to serve undoubtedly jail and prison sentences. (Most Hawai’ian prisoners are now sent out of state, to private prisons on the mainland, where their families cannot visit or often even afford to call.) You know, because that will certainly help poor people in a community flooded with Ice kick their addictions. (Sarcasm implied, and intended.)
The ratings for this show, Dog: The Bounty Hunter, are through the roof. Viewers are apparently eating it up.
A recent episode featured the Dog crew giving us an earful of their special brand of criminal justice gender theory.
Women are harder to “hunt,” explains Dog’s wife, Beth. And why is that? Well, as Beth explains, “That’s like a woman’s main job: outsmarting men.”
(Ah! So *THAT’S* what I was supposed to be doing, all this time! Dang, that makes a lot of sense. Time for a strategy shift!)
Later, as the crew chases down one freaked out woman after another, Dog and company explain the inherent dangers of dealing with women. That women about to be caught feel like it’s “high noon” and will put up more of a fight.
The “girls,” as we learn, “are absolutely more aggressive [than the men],” although of course there’s no such evidence–visual or otherwise–to back this claim up. The women are wrecked by drug use, by their circumstances, and by their own sadness. They flee, yes, but there is no fighting back to speak of.
But it’s Tim, Dog’s brother, that sums up the group’s sentiment the best. “I think all women are crazy,” he muses while roaring down the street in his SUV, “except for my mom.”