After the death of everyone’s favorite animal-loving jungle man Steve Irwin, the world probably thought they would never again watch someone wrestle an alligator with such charisma, hilarity and aptitude. Enter Gary Saurage and company, who know way more than anyone should about alligators and have a great time showing it off.
Fridays at 9 p.m.
In “Gator 911,” CMT is clearly taking inspiration from Animal Planet’s “The Crocodile Hunter” by taking what Irwin did and simply relocating it to Texas. From culverts to golf courses, Saurage and his gator-hunting crew capture the scaly beasts bare-handed, with the occasional rope, lasso or fishing pole. Afterward, they relocate the creatures to either Saurage’s gator sanctuary or to the wild, where it’s harder for them to harm humans.
In the world of reality TV, unfortunately, it’s hard to be innovative these days, and alligator wrangling is definitely nothing new. When Irwin first appeared on the scene, his show was exciting and original. But while “Gator 911” may not be ground-breaking at this point, the thrill of the catch is still there. These are still wild animals, and the threat of being seriously hurt is always apparent, which is admittedly entertaining, if in a sadistic way. Viewers will watch in amazement as the crew searches out and then continues to catch alligators like it’s no big deal.
But the amount of knowledge Saurage has about an alligator’s lifestyle and attack methods is on the verge of creepy. Clearly, he has had one mad obsession with gators for his entire life and he won’t be stopping anytime soon.
One sour point of the show is Saurage’s use of the alligators in his sanctuary to practice his handling skills. Throughout the show, he always professes his love and care for the creatures and expresses that he just wants them to live a peaceful life ― that is, until he decides that he needs one to practice on. It clearly was not a pleasant experience for the animals to be captured, relocated and then jumped on while Saurage practices his skills and customers come to his conservatory to watch. Saurage better hope that PETA doesn’t watch CMT or else he might be in trouble.
Needless to say, the manly men of “Gator 911” will make you forget metro-sexual even exists. From the overly chauvinist pickup truck with “Gator 911” sprawled across it, to the sheer cajones it takes to step into muddy water with a 9-foot gator, these dudes are not reaching for the hair gel anytime soon. At one point, Saurage gets a fishing hook caught in his leg after he wrestles a gator to the ground. Instead of going to the hospital like a normal person, Saurage takes a pair of pliers, yanks out the hook and then walks it off — all within 30 seconds so he can get back to catching his gator.
From gator-pouncing to corky personalities, “Gator 911” has everything viewers would want from a thrill-seeking program. Because of Saurage’s unlimited bravery, someone’s got to wonder if he does this show because he loves his gators or if he’s just showing off. And everyone watching the show is wondering how long until Saurage and crew get an arm or a leg chomped off by a pissy alligator.