What’s with Men and Nature Shows on TV?

A few nights ago, late at night, I fell asleep listening to the following words (imagine a perfect British accent), “The eagle eyes it prey. It readies it wings and takes flight.” Or something close to that. I think I was more asleep than awake. The sound of the screeching eagle, or some other angry bird, takes me further out of my deepening sleep. I look over. David is fully unconscious, remote control in his hand. I guess the latest episode in his series of nature shows, about birds of prey, wasn’t that interesting. But there’s always tomorrow night.

Take a look at the shows recorded on our home’s PVR, or personal video recorder, and you will find a theme. About 25% of the content are children’s shows, like Elena of Avalor or Peppa Pig. Another 25% are shows I watch like Madam Secretary or shows our whole family watches like Master Chef. David recorded the other 50%, with titles like:

Borneo’s Secret Kingdom

Wild Nile

The Beginning and End of the Universe

Walking with Dinosaurs

Destination Wild

China’s Golden Monkeys

Do you see a pattern? Nature Shows. Dozens of them. What’s with men and nature shows? Why are they attracted to documentaries about animals eating other animals? I know lions consume antelopes in the savannah (okay I learned that in the 1990’s when I watched Lion King) and about the hunting habits of birds of prey like eagles and owls. But do I need to hear about this every day? Or to be more to the point, is this what I want to hear as I drift off to sleep?

David admits he is a bit addicted to these nature shows. He has learned all about the life cycle of the trees of the Amazon and the increasingly polluted waters of the Nile River. He and countless other males. I am quite sure these documentaries are produced by intelligent people, who spend weeks, maybe months, researching, writing, shooting and editing these shows. But I just can’t bear to watch them.

Do women watch these? Is it just men? Have you ever checked out the commercials that run during nature shows? There are a few too many focused on erectile dysfunction and Viagra. Sometimes there is a commercial about a cleaning product like Oxy Clean, with a man on the screen, or Head and Shoulders dandruff shampoo. And when David channel surfs late at night, looking for one of these shows about animals eating animals, you can bet there will also be commercials advertising condoms or 1-900 number dating services.

Back to the nature shows. Some fathers bond with their sons over sports. They wait for the day when their son is old enough to watch the Stanley Cup Final or game 7 of the World Series. Not my husband. David started showing Matthew shows about the lost monkeys of Brazil or the mating habits of the Siberian Tiger when Matthew was a very little boy. They like to cuddle up together on the couch, late on a Saturday night, often with snacks in hand, and watch their nature shows together. If there is a special on TV about how the Anaconda kills its prey then I know it’s a boy’s night and I should stay far away from the family room.

Do you watch nature shows? Do the men in your life watch nature shows? What do you think of them? Let me know. Leave me a comment here, post your thoughts on Facebook or Tweet me @AiciaRichler.

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