Finding Bigfoot, “Squatch Wars”, January 3, 2016

The eighth season of Finding Bigfoot premiered with a two-hour episode entitled “Squatch Wars”—a gimmicky battle royale to try to determine which place was “squatchier”: Washington state, or the Canadian province of British Columbia. (If you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to be spoiled, be forewarned: there be spoilers ahead.)

We’re not watching to see the stunts!

I’ve often wondered if the producers of Finding Bigfoot understand why people keep tuning into the show—the gimmicks and stunts they come up with in an apparent attempt to liven up various episodes range from silly to completely ridiculous. Previous antics include girl scout troops and a looped recording of a crying baby, but this episode, in which Bobo dresses in drag for no imaginable reason, is probably the most ludicrous to date.

Finding Bigfoot Team
Finding Bigfoot Team Prepares to “Battle”

The show has also featured various gratuitous vehicles (quads, jeeps, boats) and some gadgetry, but none of that seems amateurish or insulting the way the Bigfoot Bait tactics do. Personally I don’t mind the wide shots of our four bigfooters riding quads out to an investigation site, and it doesn’t even bother me when product placement for Marmot and Arc’teryx is in-your-face obvious.

Why We Actually Watch Finding Bigfoot

There are a number of reasons people keep watching this show even though the cast’s night investigations have not yet produced an actual Bigfoot sighting (or even a footprint). Obviously we like the cast; this isn’t a typical group of reality TV stars, and they’re preternaturally charismatic. Even when Ranae is forced to read scripted lines that she’s obviously uncomfortable with, we can’t help but like her and the show. Bobo: always a hoot. Cliff: delightfully earnest. Matt: usually tolerable if a bit loud.

The real appeal—the show’s yummy, chewy center—is in showing us likable people who love the outdoors and appear to spend most of their time tromping through idyllic forests. And they have expensive technical clothing; that’s why we don’t mind the product placement. If I’m someone who lusts after advanced fleece and technical hiking boots, I probably am not going to mind seeing my favorite TV bigfooters sporting them.

Who really won the Squatch Wars? Who cares?

Bobo in Drag
Bobo in Drag: Was This Really Necessary?

OK, so the US “won”. Yawn. Does the team’s experience actually prove anything about which country has a greater population of Sasquatch? Highly doubtful.

I was heartened just to see the show return to the Pacific Northwest, where—if Bigfoot is real—there’s a serious chance of encountering the beast. The show has made some odd choices for location in the past (Bigfoot in Rhode Island and Indiana?!), and I’ve always felt they should spend more time in the place where the legend originated. It’s also where the first pre-fame sightings were made; no one in 19th-century Oklahoma was talking about seeing a giant ape-man, but they were in British Columbia.

Maybe someone should have a nice chat with these producers and explain, kindly, that they can just knock it off already with the gimmickry. I don’t need to see Bobo in drag—why the hell was he in drag, anyway?—and we don’t need to see the cast making pig noises or doing any of the other shenanigans that come perilously close to making them look like damned fools.

I want to see the four bigfooters (yes, even Matt) parading around a forest at night, wearing and using expensive, cool gear, so that I can imagine that I could spend that much of my time in nature. They don’t need to actually find Bigfoot. They just need to keep looking.




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