Let’s face it, everyone loves whales—and everyone hates the 9th Circuit Court of appeals—and as Gary Lewis once musically reminded us, everybody loves a clown—so what a complexity of enthusiasms course through our brains as those lubberly Looney-tunes from the Animal Channel’s “Whale Wars” are hauled before the most-reversed court in the nation to hear an appeal by Japanese whalers to the effect that the good ship Steve Irwin (named after the crocodile guy, but he was dead at the time) and her crew are a menace to navigation and just about everything and everybody else afloat! One hopes that the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which puts to sea repeatedly to harass Japanese whaling operations will send lawyers to the Seattle based court rather than the stalwart crew of the good ship Steve, because the crew would, without doubt, get lost trying to find the place, argue, bicker, back bite one another, lose all cohesion as a unit and erupt into hissy fits plus one or two crying jags, without ever arriving.
If you haven’t tuned in the “reality” television show Whale Wars, you are missing one of the great comic events of recent years—the spectacle of a crew composed of
hilariously inept hippy-dippy do-gooders caught up in a brain-dead crusade to save a whale—any whale. And after at least five seasons it is fair to say they have never come close. But therein lies the program’s irresistible draw. Whale Wars is the keystone cops on the high seas—the ever-enticing allure of self-serious, monomaniacally sanctimonious bunglers making a hash of everything they set a hand to, and all on record for our personal amusement.
The problem seems to be that one cannot muster a crew of experienced sailors dopey enough to subscribe to the creed and comportment demanded by the Sea Shepherd Society, (including an all-vegan on-board mess menu) and as the only available option, a bizarre assortment of stoners, environuts, collegiate space cases and bitchy hippy chicks got the job—all without any particular experience—and all led by their redoubtable skipper, Paul Watson, a guy so nuts he got kicked out of Green Peace for radicalism—though he seems to be the only hand aboard who knows a scupper from a binnacle.
During any hour-long episode one can sit and gleefully watch the entire complement of the Steve Irwin making hopeless marplots of themselves. They may lower their high-dollar Zodiac speed boat to intercept a Japanese whaling ship, at which juncture the Zodiac–with crew aboard– hits the water slantwise and flips over, requiring rescue; they may intrepidly board a whaling vessel only to be taken hostage when skipper Watson changes course without retrieving his boarding crew; they may repeatedly attempt to get their helicopter—which never works—aloft despite the protests from the chopper pilot that it isn’t safe to fly; or send their super modern racing ship (a contribution from its original owner) into the path of a whaler that unavoidably hits it, slices it in half and sends it to the bottom; or they may become dangerously enmeshed in ice flows, first because the crew has no idea what it’s doing and then because the weirdo placed at the helm all night ignores his instructions and follows his psychic impressions instead—getting them into so much additional ice that Captain Paul has to interrupt his habitual writing of poetry (about whales) in his cabin and come out to steer. We especially enjoyed the climax to the first season when Captain Paul clutched his chest yelling “I’m hit!” (despite the fact that nobody was shooting at him) and produced a bullet from under his sweater claiming that his trusty bullet proof vest (which he displayed the uncanny foresight to be wearing) had stopped it. This was offered as evidence of the sheer malignancy of the wily whaling creeps.
Life below decks in the off hours is equally entertaining as each social misfit takes a turn whining, inveighing against the fates, criticizing the skipper, or lashing out at other crew members for affronts real and imagined. When the ship’s fresh water supply is depleted in one episode, (oops!) the crew cravenly radios the whaling ship they’ve just tormented, requesting fresh water. The level of indignation when none is forthcoming is a laugh riot.
So don’t miss Whale Wars, dear readers, it’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys—and very aptly compared to a barrel of monkeys, come to think of it—and wish them well in their dealings with the only land-locked organization as profoundly disconnected from reality and as self-indulgently intragint as themselves: The 9th District Court of Appeals! The court issued an injunction recently debarring the Sea Shepherd from coming within 500 yards of Japanese whaling ships in Antarctic waters while it contemplates the Japanese side of the argument—but we don’t think the Steve Irwin will be dry-docked by the court—far from it; for what is the 9th Circuit but a a veritable cauldron of like minded Utopians? And who better to free the fatuous laughing stock aboard the (remaining) Sea Shepherd ships than the fatuous laughing stock that is the 9th Circuit Court? Ahoy, maties, WOOF predicts that Captain Paul and his dysphoric rabble will cast off shortly for more fun afloat, springing leaks, losing tempers, and making general nuisances of themselves upon the bounding main—unless they screw up and go after a Russian whaler, of course—those Ruskies would sink this series in a heartbeat!