A show called Friends incites expectations that friends will be interacting. You watch Top Chef, and you presume that excellent chefs will be competing. And when it comes to a show called Eaten Alive, those tuning in more than likely did so to watch someone get eaten alive. Such was most definitely NOT the case when it came to Discovery’s most recent piece of stunt programming, which should have been called Embraced Firmly, as the heavily advertised special basically showed conservationist Paul Rosolie getting a nice long hug. The only thing being eaten was Discovery’s bullshit.
Instead of a situation that justified the massive backlash that animal lovers poured on Eaten Alive since it was announced, the two-hour special culminated with the smaller-than-expected anaconda restrictively coiling around Rosolie’s body for a while, with the emergency team brought in to help when the snake tried to eat Rosolie’s helmet. No anacondas’ bellies were harmed or even politely brushed up against in the making of this nonsense.
As you might imagine, the world (or at least the parts of the world where Eaten Alive was watched) went berserk when Rosolie made it through the entire runtime with nary an ounce of anaconda saliva covering his body. Social media went crazy, and everyone with their thinking cap on said that it was Twitter, and not a snake removed from its natural habitat, that ate Rosolie alive.
Discovery isn’t just sitting around taking potshots about this, especially after having its famed Shark Week get panned for including conjecture-filled specials about megalodons and other giant sharks of the sea. Now, the network isn’t coming out and saying that “Eaten Alive” was a really great name or anything, but they’re quick to point out that we’ve all just completely missed the point. Here’s how they put it, according to EW.
Paul created this challenge to get maximum attention for one of the most beautiful and threatened parts of the world, the Amazon Rainforest and its wildlife. He went to great lengths to send this message and it was his absolute intention to be eaten alive. Ultimately, after the snake constricted Paul for over an hour and went for his head, the experiment had to be called when it became clear that Paul would be very seriously injured if he continued on. The safety of Paul, as well as the anaconda, was always our number-one priority.”
Everyone knows that the greatest display of safety puts two living beings in constant danger of one another. Check out the below Today clip to see the snake’s big embrace.
This is only the latest in a long line of misleading TV programming out there, though this one falls squarely in the “not just having fun” camp. Let’s hope that next time Discovery decides to fake us all out, they do it without ruining a snake’s afternoon.