Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Deadliest Catch": Captain Phil Was A Lion Among Men (Salon)

There's moral terror in the scenes that show Jake Anderson, the aforementioned, knife-wounded crewman, being hazed by his mates on the fishing vessel Northwestern as a useless "one-armed bandit." There's dread in the tight closeups of cigarettes clenched between Phil's fingers and butts piled high in his ashtray, and in Jake's confession that he was stealing his dad's pain medicine because "I'm an addict." And there's fathomless sadness in the scenes revealing that all the fleet's crewmembers (Phil included) are routinely pushed to the brink of collapse -- pressured to do 20, 30, even 40 hour shifts with little or no sleep, often in pounding rain or bone-chilling snow. ...
It's hard to say how much of its blunt honesty comes from its makers' ethical sense and how much is bound up in its chosen subject - a hard job staffed by men who barely have time to eat and sleep, much less adopt fake, corny screen personas and sustain them over weeks. Either way, "Deadliest Catch" is a Trojan Horse reality show, smuggling integrity into a morally bankrupt genre. It's as real as TV gets.
I've been a huge fan of this show for many seasons, and Phil is my favorite of the captains. He wore his heart on his sleeve - there was never any doubt that he loved his two sons, even as he was griped "now you know why lions eat their young" when one of them pulled something stupid. He's a classic and he'll be sorely missed.
Read the full article here.

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