Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice

Discovery Channel has a new show, Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice, from the creators of Deadliest Catch. The programs explores a new kind of gold rush going on in Nome, Alaska. Using chain saws to cut the ice and heated diving gear. They are digging for gold in the dead of winter.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bering Sea Gold The Hit TV Show News Update.

Reunion show fights are usually reserved for "Real Housewives" and "Bachelor" wannabes -- but a fracas broke out this week between two of the cast members from the show "Bering Sea Gold" over allegations of stealing.

During the taping, a red-faced Vernon Atkinson accused his captain, Scott Meisterheim, of lying, cheating and stealing from him. That didn't sit well with Scott, and after he threw a drink at Vernon ... the two went to blows.

According to our sources, paramedics and police were called to the scene. Both guys suffered cuts and bruises, but no charges were filed.

The reunion specials air March 23 and 30 at 10:00 PM on Discovery.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bering Sea Gold The Hit TV Show News Update.

Scott Masterheim Bering Sea Gold
Some documentary-style reality television shows give us a glimpse into the lives of professionals whose experience and talent expand our sense of what is possible for a human being to achieve. Others might not display professional prowess, but they can still inspire a sense of awe, it seems, by showing us just how reckless, determined, or just messed up in the head some folks are.
Check out Troy Landry hunting an alligator on Swamp People or watch Sig Hansen pilot a boat right over the front edge of a moving herd of crab in Deadliest Catch, and you’ll wonder what you could’ve gotten good at if you’d had their talent and drive and focus.
Watch Gold Rush, with its desperate, recession-slammed amateurs making every mistake in the book, and you’ll learn a lot more about toughness than mining; still, there’s something pretty special about that Hoffman crew.
But, what is the lesson of the Discovery Channel’s new show, Bering Sea Gold? Well, whatever it is, Scott Meisterheim is right in the middle of it, and it seems to have something to do with anger (or idiot) management.

No one on Bering Sea Gold embodies amateur desperation like its most prominently featured undersea miner, Scott Meisterheim, Captain of the Wild Ranger. If you’ve seen the posters for Bering Sea Gold, you’ve seen Scott. He’s the blond with the rugged good looks and determined squint. (In fact, he looks a bit like Deadliest Catch‘s Sig Hansen.)
What the still images can’t convey, though, is Scott’s temperament. And by “temperament,” I mean “temper.” This is one high strung dude. By his own account, he isn’t easy to get along with, is desperate for money, and has no experience mining off-shore for gold. Now, that’s a recipe for some reality tv drama, and that’s exactly what Scott is cooking.

It is tough to tell how short Scott’s fuse really is, since he is surrounded by people who could make the Queen of England lose her lady-like ways. Steve Riedel, who also doesn’t have any experience diving for gold, but who somehow made it onto Scott’s crew, is one annoying joker. He seems good-natured enough; but, he can’t stop talking (or singing), he doesn’t seem to have any sense of time or personal space, and he has this habit of trying to make all of the misfortunes of mining into causes for a very vocal celebration of life. I’m trying to think of another character on any of documentary reality TV show who tries (and fails miserably) to lighten the mood the way Steve does, and I can’t think of one. Oh, and no matter how many times Scott fires Steve, he just keeps coming back.

So, when confronted with the possibility that he has an anger management problem (because he, for example, threatened to throw Steve off the boat or, for another example, ended up punching a generator out of rage), Scott denies it explicitly. He doesn’t have any anger management problem, he says, just an idiot problem.

Steve isn’t the only marginal character Scott has to deal with, though. There’s Jason Walker, another newbie to gold dredging, who impressed Scott with how long he was able to stay underwater on his first gold dive. Sadly, he also impressed Scott on that first outing by dislocating his shoulder as he fell off the boat into the frigid Bering Sea.
After Scott got Jason back on the boat, and to a hospital onshore, it was just him and Steve again. That did not take Scott to his happy place. (Does Scott have a happy place?) Jason seems much better at keeping his mouth shut than Steve is, so he catches a lot less of Scott’s temper; but, that might just be because Steve catches so much of it. If Steve really walks away from the Wild Ranger, and Scott hates Jason as much as he tells the camera that he does, then Jason’s not going to have a lot of fun out on that dredge alone with Scott. Nope. No fun at all.
As if it weren’t challenging enough for Scott, who is a rookie captain, to make a productive crew out of one silly inexperienced miner and another injured inexperienced miner, it turns out that they’re all working for a rookie dredge owner, too. Vern Adkison has experience running ships on the Mississippi river, but he was drawn to the stability of gold because of the craziness of the world economy. Who knows what a dollar or a euro will be worth 10 years from now? Vern is banking on gold being a bit more durable, so he put a dredge together. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, though, any more than the rest of them. Nice.

So, just to review. Scott Meisterheim is ill-tempered, he says, because he is surrounded by idiots. He’s working for someone who has never bankrolled a dredge before and his crew consists of two men who have never dredged for gold. So, he is certainly surrounded by people who don’t know what they’re doing; but calling them idiots might be a bit too strong. And, hey, wait a minute. How would Scott know gold dredging idiocy when he saw it? He doesn’t have any more experience than the rest of them! Vern and Steve and Jason might not know what their doing; but, Scott doesn’t know anything either. He isn’t a gold dredging veteran. Why is he in Alaska at all? Why did he choose to put himself into this infuriating situation?
Well, as he tells the story, he is behind on the child support payments for his daughters. Way behind. So far behind that he’ll be thrown in jail if he doesn’t come up with some money very, very soon. So far behind that he was willing to leave his wife (who is not the mother of his daughters) and borrow money to go to Nome for the summer to mine gold. According to an interview that Meisterheim gave to a newspaper in his home state, Michigan, he doesn’t owe quite as much as the show says he does, though. Discovery says he’s in the hole for $100k, when the total is more like 20k according to Scott. Still.
In the same interview, he said that he knew he was going to be portrayed as a villain, and he said he didn’t mind. He can be nice or not, depending on the people he’s with. And these people definitely don’t bring out the nice in him.
Dredge Wild Ranger Bering Sea Gold
^ Scott Masterheim and the crew of The Wild Ranger return to port in Nome
When you put all of this together, Scott doesn’t come out looking very good. Let’s grant that Steve would be a difficult man to be stuck at sea with and that Jason isn’t much better. Let’s even grant that Vern isn’t giving Scott the support he needs, although there’s not much evidence of that. The bottom line is that Scott is the captain of the Wild Ranger, and it is his job to make it profitable. No one promised him a perfect crew or a perfect boss. They gave him a dredge and a chance. It is his job to make something of it. And, at least halfway through season one, he just isn’t coming through.
The Christine Rose, with its huge excavator, is in a class of its own; but, both the Clark and the Sluicey are out-mining the Wild Ranger, too. Scott is simply not doing his job. Can we blame this on Steve or Jason or Vern? Well, I suppose we could; but, no self-respecting Captain would. Can we blame it on Scott’s anger or perhaps just his inexperience? Maybe. What do you think?

Photos: Discovery Channel

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bering Sea Gold The Hit TV Show News Update.

This episode of Bering Sea Gold it is July in Nome, Alaska and Emily and Zeke are on "The Clark" as Emily drops the anchor, she falls overboard. Fortunately, she comes right up from the 40 degree water and Zeke has several changes of clothing. After 15 minutes of Emily's icy plunge, Zeke is below just as the swell starts to pick up, making Emily seasick. She toughs it out and Zeke goes below again.

On "Wild Ranger" it's been problems with the hot water to the dredging suit and now in port awaiting a part, they check the sluice box for gold from the last trip. Scott, the captain breaks the cardinal rule by checking the gold without the entire crew aboard. Steve shows up an hour and a half late and gives Scott grief for checking the box without him. This is the boat's gold, not just the captain's.

Deckhand Scott is out on the "Sluicey" alone while Ian watches from shore. Scott has been a dredger for his whole life, Ian only started a year ago, even though he is the owner of the dredge. Something goes wrong with the dredge and the rocks start pummeling him while he is under water.

On the "Christine Rose" Shawn is working the dredger for hours on end in severe pain. Shawn calls for a shift change and his dad and Cody come to the dredge. As Shawn's dad takes the helm of the digger, he makes a bet with Cody to see who can come up with the biggest amount of gold. Although Steve won, he was proud of Cody and will elevate him to deck boss.

On the "Wild Ranger" there are still crew problems; Scott is not an easy guy to work for, but his crew does not respect him either. At the clean-up shack, Steve finally arrives. Scott dictates to his crew and Steve tells him that his captaincy sucks, he then sends Scott away, but he refuses to leave until the owner, Vern gives him the official toss, which he does via phone and Steve finally leaves.

A storm rolls into Nome and all dredging stops. Time to check their earnings of Bering Sea Gold:

"Christine Rose" found 98 ounces for $166,000.

Despite all the repairs, the "Sluicey" still found 2 ounces worth $3,400.

The "Wild Ranger" adds more trouble by only finding a quarter of an ounce of gold worth $400.

"The Clark" found almost three and a half ounces and Zeke gave Emily a check for $3,700 so she could go to Vienna, Austria to study for her master's degree.

The "Sluicey" boys and Zeke and Emily go to the hot springs to unwind and talk about their adventures under water. As the episode ends, the Jeep with Emily and Zeke overturns and all viewers can hear is Zeke asking Emily if she is alright.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bering Sea Gold The Hit TV Show News Update.

More than one reviewer has already called Bering Sea Gold, the latest vein-popping, sweat-stained nonfiction serial from producer/baritone narrator Thom Beers, a cross between The Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush Alaska (A.K.A. "The Deadliest Reality Show"). But aside from the setting and the shiny nuggets that have drawn people there, the show really betrays the influence of two other shows that Beers has had a hand in: A & E's big hit Storage Wars and last year's mining-operation flop Coal, a weird mismatch for its network, Spike, which quietly let it slide off its schedule after half a dozen episodes. Bering Sea, which is about aquatic prospectors looking for gold on the ocean floor in Nome, Alaska, seems to have been shaped at least as much by an awareness of the factors that kept Coal from being a hit as by the ones that have worked for Beers' other Alaska shows.
Once again, the work demands a lot of effort for what may turn out to be very little reward. (The crews have to sift through a lot of muck and rubble to get to the good stuff, over the course of a gold-hunting season that starts out short and may be cut even shorter if the weather doesn't cooperate.) And it may not be much less dangerous. But if the risk of drowning in freezing waters or dying of hypothermia isn't all that much more enticing than that of contracting black lung, it sure does look prettier. The people talk incessantly about how they need to get back out there and make some money before the sheriff shows up at their door with a notice and a padlock, but compared to the West Virginia miners who had to show up every day to go underground and grind their lives down to the nub, the desperation here looks like a working summer vacation. As hard as the work is and as scary as the life can get, at least some of the people here chose to pursue it because the thought of sitting indoors in a cubicle for eight hours a day scares them much worse. One of them, Ian Foster, is just starting out in his new trade after years spent as a social worker. He says he spent his last $15,000 on his boat, and from the looks of his craft, a glorified rowboat called the Sluicey, whoever sold it to him had better have thrown in a treadmill and a plasma TV. Soon, he'll be lamenting his sorry lot and his aching back like everybody else here, but when we first meet him, he's fleeing the offices of his old job and saying something about how he's been thinking about this day for the past six months.
The Storage Wars element comes from the decision to focus on four different operations and review and compare everyone's haul at the end of each episode, turning things into a jerry-rigged competition show. Besides the footloose Foster, there's the eighty-foot, eighty-ton Christine Rose, a family operation headed by the crusty, acid-tongued Steve Pomrenke; the Wild Ranger, captained by Scott Meisterheim, who makes Pomrenke look like the kid in the "Leave Britney Alone!" video; and the Clark, a two-person outfit that looks like the floating junk yard that Kevin Costner was driving in Waterworld. If you discount the Sluicey, which is easy to do, the twenty-foot Clark at first looks like the underdog in this race. Its captain, Zeke Tenhoff, is a youthful D.I.Y. type whose screen image combines the least marriageable features of Steve Zahn, Rainn Wilson, and Michael J. Pollard. Joining him on this magical mystery tour is Emily Riedel, an inexperienced "greenhorn" whose dream is to make enough at this summer job to launch herself towards a master's degree in opera. "She's not used to doing this kind of work," says Emily's father, Steve Riedel, who is a deckhand on the Wild Ranger. "She's used to going to art school."
Zeke turns out to be a capable worker who knows his shit, and the Clark is soon raking in respectable hauls on a regular basis, but why is Emily even there? After she comes up from a dive feeling very much the worse for wear, Zeke tells her, "If you feel sick tomorrow morning, you're not going down all day. You're going to sit up here, with a book, and you're going to, from time to time, do things that I tell you to do." Not exactly slave driver talk, but Zeke delivers this speech as if he wanted to add, "If that's okay", every five words. In the first episode, trying to account for Emily's presence, Zeke says, "Even though she's not my girlfriend, she's tremendously loyal." After a long day spent vacuuming the ocean floor, it's time to go through the good and see what's there. "For Zeke and Emily," Thom Beers intones on the soundtrack, "the process takes place in their beachside yurt." Inside the yurt, Zeke, pleased with his catch, says, "As long as I have enough of this, I don't need a girlfriend." "Ha ha ha," says Emily.
After awhile, the constant reminders that Emily is not Zeke's girlfriend (...and she doesn't want to be, right, Emily? Because if you really would like to be, and every time I remind you that you're not, it's breaking your heart, you can just tell me. Because if you're worried that it would spoil our friendship, it totally wouldn't!) start to give their scenes a certain degree of subtext. The show may be having some fun with this in the fourth episode, when it uses instructional animation to describe a technique he wants to use that would involve him diving down and stradling the vacuum hose while Emily stays on board the Clark to monitor the controls. We see the figure representing Zeke at the ocean floor, with a long, thick hose between his legs that extends to the deck of the boat. We are shown how, if someone gets distracted or overexcited and Emily mishandles the controls, the hose would retract too fast and Zeke would come flying up, his head connecting with the engine, to unfortunate effect. Sadly, the imagery is strictly all-ages, but I bet there was a moment when the producers were tempted to outsource it to the South Park guys.
At the opposite end of the scale from Zeke and Emily and Ian, in terms of resources, we have the Pomrenke family operation, which is the only one making do without a diver. Instead, the Christina Rose uses an enormous shovel mounted on a long neck, which makes the ship look like Robo-Nessie. By itself, the Christina Rose makes this show must viewing for anyone who misses Battlebots. (At one point, the ship's motor gives out, and the crew uses the damn shovel to paddle its way back to port.) But the true monster of the Bering Sea, and the man positioned to be this show's breakout star, is Captain Scott Meisterheim, who sums up his own personality, along with his relationship to those under his command, when he snaps, "I don't have an anger management problem, I have an idiot problem!" The prize idiot here is Steve Riedel, who looks like a Bob Balaban who's been ridden hard and put away wet.
Riedel is either a genius at passive-aggressive behavior or the sort of strangelably clueless git who insists on getting jollier and jollier the angrier the people around him become. You can imagine his last thought, just before a bullet hits him right between the eyes someday, being "Hey, I think maybe he really is a little pissed off. I thought we were just teasing each other!" In the first episode, he shows up for work late, then wanders off again until Meisterheim, in a fury, leaves without him. He returns later to get into a fight with the ship's owner that builds to a "You can't fire me, I quit!" exchange, then shows up again the next day. When Meisterheim asks him, incredulously, what the hell he's doing there, he confesses that he's as mystified about it as anyone. But Meisterheim is so hard up for help that Riedel ends up sticking around, even when he persists in singing "She'll be fillin' up my gas tank when she comes," to the tune of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain," while filling the gas tank. "It's been forty-four years I've been alive," Meisterheim says to the camera, "and I still can't figure out why God keeps puttin' assholes in my life." To Steve, he says politely, "I'd really like it if you didn't [bleep!]in' sing today." Steve smiles, nods just as politely, and sings, "She'll be riding that Wild Ranger when she comes..." One hates to imagine what it's like being around this joker on Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Steve is such a doofus that it says a lot that, after a while, Meisterheim's choking rage begins to seem a little over the top. Of course, he has other things making him testy. He is, he says, "$150,000 in debt. I got bills to pay that, if you don't pay, you go to jail for." It develops that his most worrisome debt is a dog-choking load of unpaid child support. In my misspent youth, I spent some time in grad school, where I met a douchebag named James who had won some kind of prize for his poetry and who, until people learned to dive out the nearest window at the sound of his approaching footsteps, liked to pull a crumpled copy of his award-winning poem out of his pocket and treat you to an impromptu reading. After a few episodes of this show, I started wondering if Meisterheim might carry a copy of the court order around in his pocket, so he could pull it out at bars and impress the ladies. He refers to his situation again and again, with a little more detail every time, and a little more visible anger, as if he thought that being a deadbeat dad was the most relatable thing in the world. There's not much going on around him to lighten his mood, either. As his ship falls apart and the gold eludes him, he begins to take on an almost Job-like aspect, with the crucial difference that Job didn't have it coming to him.
watch this cool new series about the gold fever in alaska and our interest in alaska.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bering Sea Gold The Hit TV Show News Update.

The fortune hunters featured on "Bering Sea Gold" (Sun., 10 p.m. EST on Discovery) are a tough bunch, so when Shawn Pomrenke got injured in a bar brawl in Nome, Alaska he wasn't overly keen to seek medical attention.
Although his left hand had been sliced open and blood was pouring out, the dazed-looking co-owner of The Christine Rose didn't want to go to hospital. However, as the guys walked away from the bar, deckhand Cody Moen realized that Shawn's injuries might be much worse than they first thought.
"I looked and I seen his coat was all bloody in the back, and sure stuff he had a stab wound right in his back."
In Cody's opinion the guy who attacked Shawn in the bar did it out of jealousy and to create trouble for The Christine Rose. If Shawn was out of action, it could mean an early end to the season for the dredger.
"Bering Sea Gold" airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on Discovery.

Bering Sea Gold The Hit TV Show

Rated in the top 10 for males 18-49