Kathleen Toomey, Hipster Correspondent
One of Gloucester’s big draws over the past few summers has been tourists interested in the National Geographic show “Wicked Tuna.” I’ve had people come into the bike shop looking for the boats involved, but I’ve never actually watched the show. Reality TV is not my thing. OK, except for Teen Mom because that is genius programming. But other than that, not my thing.
Also, I know JACK SHIT about fishing. Seriously. I have lived on Cape Ann for almost a decade, and my knowledge of the fishing industry is limited to the bumper sticker my neighbor has of Calvin pissing on the logo for the National Marine Fisheries Service. I come from a stock of moderately educated Irish folk who do not do extreme jobs very well and will wilt after 30 minutes in direct sunlight.
So my job is to recap this shit for you. Let’s do it. I’m not starting from the beginning of season one or anything, I’m just going to jump right into whatever Hulu tells me the current episode is. We’re on Season 3, Week 7 of … fishing weeks, whatever that means.
Okay, in the opening credits there is a lot of screaming and drama and fish things are happening. Is there always so much screaming in fishing? And here’s the “leaderboard” that keeps track of what boats have earned stuff. There’s a boat called “Hot Tuna,” which was coincidentally my nickname in high school.
And here’s some slow-motion shots of seagulls that make them look majestic and not at all like they steal your hot dogs and shit hot white goo on your Audi all the fuck day long. Fuck seagulls.
Now there’s some talking between the shipguys on the Hot Tuna and I legit need captions. I have lived in this area my whole damn life and I have a wicked sharp Boston accent, guy. But these guys, I can’t understand. JOOTIGHTENNNATBACKUP? I don’t know what we’re tightening. You’d better do it, though, that guy’s real mad. According to one guy, George’s Bank is a nasty place to fish. I don’t know why. It’s far away and smells bad I guess.
Okay on the next boat, the tuna.com one, a guy named Garon Mailman (dude that’s the coolest name ever) says I WANT A TUNA NOW like my preschooler asking for a cheese stick. The head in charge sailor guy says “It is what it is.” I didn’t realize this show would have such deep philosophical discussions, but you learn something new every day.
OH HERE COMES A FISH AND A LOT OF YELLING OH GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING oh no it’s a seal nevermind carry on.
Meanwhile on the F/V Lily, there is a guy throwing an actual pole in the ocean to catch a fish like Tom Hanks in Castaway. He misses, and they all act like a middle school coach, trying not to blame him for totally fucking up. You’ll get ’em next time, tiger. You put forth the effort and that’s what matters. On the third attempt, another guy tries throwing the harpoon, and here comes dramatic music so a thing might happen. Nope, guy doesn’t even take a shot.
Oh look a fish got caught, and it takes approximately seven years to reel it in.
Now we’re on the F/V Stonerboat, run by total stoners. This is my favorite boat so far. I think one guy is wearing a backpack and they all look like they got lost in the woods searching for a high school keg party and ended up on this boat hunting tuna. I have heard the word “dude” uttered fifteen times in four seconds.
Some people don’t catch fish for twenty minutes even though they thought they would. Then the Lily catches a fish with just straight up harpooning it. Someone on stonerboat makes a “your mom’s fat” joke and gets hit with a greasy pizza box.
More interminable reeling and some people catch fish and get paid for fish and then the show ends.
I have not learned much about fishing.
Disclaimer: Despite poking gentle fun at the captains and crew of this show, we actually admire them very much – not only for their hard work, but for helping Gloucester get on the map for something interesting.