'When The **** Hits The Fan': The Eccentrics of Doomsday Preppers
One couple of teetotaling Baptists in Alabama stocks up on liquor in bulk, not for libations, but for barter and weaponry. For another prepper, the survivalist mentality takes a tragic, dangerous turn when he nearly shoots off his thumb while teaching his sons how to fire guns.
With Doomsday Preppers, National Geographic has done a fine job highlighting a certain subset of American life. In the eyes of the show, these people are the eccentrics among us. For the most part, they could be any of our neighbors, friends from work or church, or even our kids' classmates, but they are outliers nonetheless. Don't think that the show's branding of preppers as different from the norm isn't lost on the survivalist community. One blogger rants:
The bottom line is, Doomsday Preppers isn’t necessarily doing us a lot of favors in their presentation of us to the mainstream.
The consequence of Doomsday Preppers is a negative viewpoint being presented and built of our community. (emphasis his)
And this is exactly what they want. I’ve talked to them – long before the pilot was put together last year. Their view of our community and the view that they want to present is that we are on the fringe, we are not normal and that we are gun nuts. And WE are letting them do it – for a literal 15 minutes of fame. They are getting exactly what they want; they present a show with a bunch of crazies and they get the largest viewing audience they’ve ever had all at the expense of our community and how the public perceives us.
One of the most fascinating features of the show takes place over the closing credits. An announcer examines the probability of the preppers' fears becoming reality. In practically every case, the odds are infinitesimal. Much like the people who freaked out over Y2K, these preppers expend untold amounts of time and energy getting ready for events that are highly unlikely to actually take place.
The first season of Doomsday Preppers has come to an end, but National Geographic reruns the season's episodes incessantly. The channel claims that the show has garnered the network's highest ratings ever, so it stands to reason that future seasons could well be in the works. Eccentric or not, it's clear that these preppers have struck a chord with viewers.