Pubdate: Sun, 01 Jul 2012
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Times-Standard
Author: Dave Stancliff


Reality TV filmmakers will tramp around the hills of Mendocino county 
this fall, documenting marijuana eradication teams as they bust pot farmers.

How exciting. When California Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) and 
local law enforcement come together in their annual waste of 
taxpayer's dollars, the rest of the nation can watch (between beer 
and Tequila commercials) all the action.

Residents of Mendocino County can thank Studio Lambert, a reality 
television film group which has produced such gems as "Wife Swap" and 
"Undercover Boss." Not exactly highbrow TV productions, primarily 
designed for drooling idiots who actually believe the shows are unscripted.

I shouldn't have to explain how reality TV programs work. They've 
been around too long for you not to know the formula. Mix just enough 
reality in with scripted drama to please even the most violent fans.

Cops was one of the first reality shows. The film crews rode along 
with patrol officers and filmed what happened on their watch. Looking 
back at that first attempt, the episodes were dull by comparison with 
what's offered today in reality TV.

According to an article in the Press Democrat (June 19) Mendocino 
County will allow the filmmakers access to all the fun this fall. 
Sheriff Tom Allman and his team of Merry Marijuana Marauders will 
show the world how tough they are on marijuana growers who break the 
law, by cooperating with a film studio looking for ratings.

Studio Lambert producers have hit the jackpot. When the six one-hour 
segments hit the airwaves next year, they will appeal to a growing 
number of tokers (numerous polls show over 50 percent of Americans 
think pot should be legal) who'll watch out of morbid curiosity, if 
nothing else.

Can't you just hear the background music in each segment? "Bud boys, 
bud boys, whatcha gonna do when the raiders get you?"

Sheriff Allman, a good man by all reports, hopes this reality show 
will slow down people wanting to illegally grow in his county. In his 
interview with the Press Democrat, he brought up how a reality show 
had helped State Fish and Game's efforts to reduce abalone poaching 
on the coast.

All well and good. Marijuana however, is more plentiful than abalone 
and searching for illegal pot gardens is a lot more difficult due to 
the vast area and other factors involved. For instance, abalone 
poachers rarely pack guns. And, as far as I know, no cartels are 
involved in abalone poaching.

Where am I going with this? Do the stakes get higher now that the 
Mendocino Marijuana Marauders will be celebrities?

How times have changed. They (law enforcement) used to wear masks 
with their military looking gear which gave them a pretty fearsome 
appearance. Like terrorists actually.

I imagine that won't fly now. Not only will TV viewers see the 
raiders happy little faces grinning for photo ops, but each one will 
have to assume a roll. You know, like Austin "Chumlee" Russell in the 
reality series "Pawn Stars"?

Sheriff Allman could take on the personality of Richard Benjamin's 
"Old Man" who is the co-owner of the pawn shop. The possibilities are endless.

I am concerned that some of the "actors" involved might get a bit 
carried away for the camera and while looking like Rambo's twin, may 
decide to take down a few rascally growers for ratings. Like I said, 
the possibilities are endless.

I think the idea of county governments using reality TV to help solve 
their problems is so novel that it deserves spinoffs. For example, 
"American Restoration" is a spinoff from "Pawn Stars."

The next one could be about rampant corruption among local 
politicians in rural counties. Or, wait! How about "Homeless in 
Humboldt" with a colorful cast of local characters?

Or, "Mendocino Movers" featuring a family that has been in the moving 
and storage business for generations. It could tie in with another 
popular reality show, "Storage Wars."

Or they could film "Secrets in Siskiyou County," where old settler 
families could tell stories about all the usage they had for cannabis 
crops back in the day when it was legal.

As It Stands, the possibility this reality TV production will 
discourage marijuana growers is about as likely as Chumlee taking 
over the pawn shop!
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