Near the end of tonights Finding Bigfoot, the TV shows four stars light up a dark Idaho forest with flashing green disco lights.
Having a rave out in the woods can bring in the Squatches, explains James Bobo Fay of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. Its something they dont see very often especially in Idaho.
Its one of the most ridiculous moments of reality TV ever. (And thats saying something.)
Yet, as a whole, the hour-long, all-Idaho episode is strangely entertaining.
From high-school students with supposed Sasquatch footage to Southeast Idaho adults with their own crazy tales, the third season of Finding Bigfoot (8 p.m., Animal Planet) gets off on the right, um, foot.
Speaking by phone last week, field biologist Ranae Holland the shows resident skeptic explained that Finding Bigfoot was lured by a supposed sighting near Pocatello in May.
And we Boiseans thought cougar encounters were cause for concern.
You have these young, very likable kids, Holland says. They were very sweet. They were working on a high-school project. They were in the Mink Creek area beautiful right outside Pocatello. They thought they saw something on the opposing ridgeline, and took out their camera phone and attempted to document it. Thats what originally took us to that location.
Lo and behold: What the Finding Bigfoot crew actually finds is a town full of lunatics. Apparently, roughly half of Pocatello has seen Bigfoot.
Eight or nine feet tall! This huge barrel chest! proclaims a dude in a camouflage cap.
It just scared the stuffins outta me, confesses another gray-haired man.
Naturally, this does not faze the Finding Bigfoot crew. Two of the shows three male co-stars claim to have seen a Sasquatch themselves, Holland says. The third has examined enough evidence to become convinced.
These guys really believe, Holland says. Theyre not faking it.
Besides, whenever you visit a place and invite all the citizens with Bigfoot stories to come out, youre going to draw a crowd.
We kind of call it Bigfoot Anonymous, Holland explains.
If you envision the Finding Bigfoot investigators as the Scooby-Doo gang, then Bobo is the shows Shaggy. A buffoonish sort, he wears a cap that reads, Gone Squatchin.
Holland? Shes Velma.
I basically make observations and come to the most rational conclusion, she says. Thats what a skeptic should do.
Something Holland concluded about Idaho is that its full of fantastic wilderness. In an attempt to gather additional Sasquatch proof on tonights episode, she splits off on a three-day solo camping trip (with a cameraman in tow, of course) near the Sawtooths.
I found some odd tracks, she says. They were too degraded for me to make a valid analysis of any type.
Even though this isnt included on the show, she did spot a moose, elk, wolf and beaver.
As a research field biologist, I have worked from Alaska to northern California all the way into parts of Montana, Holland explains, and I gotta say props to Idaho. Because there were a few moments there when I felt like I was back in Alaska or something.
Hanging with her three co-stars, Holland must feel like shes on Mars most of the time. Yet skeptic or not, she is a willing participant. During tonights show, youll see her unleash a blood-curdling female Bigfoot shriek in the middle of the night. She also cops to enjoying Bobos forest rave.
I love being in that part of the country, she says, and to incorporate a light show and odd sounds to see if we could elicit a response? I was on board. I had a great night.
Finding Bigfoot hasnt been without controversy. During the shows first season, its stars clashed with producers over a misleading edit that went beyond the usual reality-TV butcher job.
Holland says everything is hunky-dory now. Still, she mentions repeatedly that 100 hours of film is condensed into less than 45 minutes for each episode. And lets be honest: The spooky sound effects and Blair Witch Project edits often turn nothing into something.
Were filming a television show, and at the end of the day, this is entertainment, Holland says. We all know that. But these guys have spent the last, each of them on average, the last 20 years of their life (in search of Sasquatch).
Which is why the three men tend to believe when she doesnt.
Holland thinks the Pocatello teens are honest but probably filmed a person bundled up in clothing on that treeline.
Its a popular hiking location, she says. I see no reason why that isnt a hiker.
Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization founder Matt Moneymaker disagrees. At the end of tonights episode, he declares were convinced that the footage is real, adding that Idaho is part of a Bigfoot pathway along the Rockies from the United States into Canada.
In the end, it doesnt matter if you believe. Finding Bigfoot is still fun to watch.
Holland says she hopes viewers find the show both entertaining and inspiring.
If (theres) anything that our show can do, I hope that people can, first of all, enjoy the controversy and fascination of what Bigfoot is, she says, but also (gain) an appreciation for the beautiful parts of the country that we have around here and that we need to protect. Absolutely.
Æ Finding Bigfoot, 8 p.m. Nov. 11, Animal Planet
TONIGHT IN THE OTHER STUDIO
Co-host Tim Johnstone and I will discuss the latest music news in Boise and beyond, plus spin songs from The Civil Wars, Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ben Folds Five, Datsik and more.
The Other Studio airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
COMING IN SCENE MAGAZINE NOV. 16
Æ Shock-rocker and golfer Alice Cooper, who headlines Garden Citys Revolution Center on Nov. 21, shares his post-election analysis.
Æ Holiday movies: A look at the must-see films hitting theaters between now and Christmas.
Æ Celebrity chef Robert Irvine tells us about the show hes bringing to the Revolution Center in Garden City on Nov. 18.
Michael Deeds column runs Fridays in Scene and Sundays in Life. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @IDS_Deeds