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Hunting icebergs makes a rather enjoyable show

Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 12:01 am

It may not be as enterprising as selling ice to Eskimos, but it is certainly as challenging.

Three members of the Richards family in Canada have hit upon a unique way of earning money. Brothers Whyman and Dale and rookie Travis (Whyman's son) are the stars of “Iceberg Hunters,” airing Tuesday nights on The Weather Channel.

Weather permitting (or sometimes not), they take their 38-foot boat out into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland in search of the title prey. Unlike the proverbial supersalesmen sweet-talking Eskimos, they hawk their haul, allegedly the purest ice on Earth, to a water bottling plant to melt into the purest water on Earth.

The boys pack along a rifle and lots of ammunition and get some level of revenge for the Titanic by blasting apart huge icebergs to create manageable “bergy bits,” as Dale calls them.

I realize in the past I have made no secret of my disdain for most reality programming, but this was very entertaining, mostly due to the unique concept and the likability of the characters.

That said, it wouldn't be a true reality series without some contrivance. On a recent episode, in the battle between iceberg and rifle, the iceberg was holding its own. Alas, the boys had spent quite a bit of time in this endeavor with no luck.

Down to their next-to-last bullet, Travis took another shot, and bam! — a nice clean chunk fell into the sea. Really? They just happened to succeed with the 199th of 200 bullets? These producers have seen way too many action films where the hero disarms the bomb with two seconds left on the timer.

But aside from some embellished editing, this show is an enjoyable way to kill a half-hour.

Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is marinating@tribune.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.