Whale Wars, if you aren't familiar, is the reality TV show that documents the efforts of the Sea Shepherds, an organization of passionate (and clumsy) activists who are trying to stop Japanese whalers from killing hundreds of whales in the Antarctic Ocean. The whalers claim they're doing it for research but really they're butchering the animals and selling their meat in Japan for millions and millions of dollars. Seems like a good idea to stop them, right? Except there are a few problems with the Sea Shepherds, which make watching the TV show both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.
They're led by Captain Paul Watson, a Santa Claus-looking man who was kicked out of Greenpeace for being too radical. He's a drama queen. In the first season he claimed he was shot by one of the whalers, and he had a broken badge (that apparently blocked the bullet) to prove it. But really, there was no way he was actually shot. He just likes pulling stunts like that for press. He's like the Spencer and Heidi of the open seas. He's usually annoyed by the rest of the crew, who, in many cases, have never even been on a boat before. And now they're battling in the Antarctic Ocean for months at a time, risking their lives to save whales.
The Sea Shepherd's efforts to stop whaling are impeded by their constant rookie mistakes. Last season the crew was convinced they had lost a couple of their peers at sea because they couldn't establish radio contact with them after the team had taken a smaller boat out to chase after the whaling ship. A storm was coming in, the seas were rough, and the radio was silent—it didn't look good. Turns out SOMEONE JUST DIDN'T TURN ON THE RADIO. Another time a guy was fucking around with some rope on the deck, you know, just because, and he ended up denting one of the blades of the Sea Shepherd's very expensive helicopter, turning it into a very expensive flying hazard.
It's an absolute clusterfuck. It's a clusterfuck for a good cause, but it's still a clusterfuck. And judging from this season's premier (which airs tonight on Animal Planet, and can be seen in OnDemand right now), things aren't getting much better. Spoiler alert: they mistake an iceberg for a whaling boat and spend half a day chasing after it.
HA HA! And sigh.