"Eaten Alive!" the massively promoted Discovery Channel special that prompted PETA outrage, a thousand stories, possibly even some flyby viewing Sunday night, was a snake-bitten hoax. No one got eaten alive -- although I believe the camera lens was briefly in mortal danger. In fact, our gullibility got eaten alive. (Can "gullibility" get eaten alive? By heavens, if it can, then it got devoured last night.)
The snake: That poor sweat-drenched, muddy, and now permanently, psychologically damaged snake, which was only trying to extricate itself from a very strange man who for some reason wanted to get eaten and then decided that -- on second thought -- he didn't really care to get eaten after all because his arm was "torqued."
"What is it with the human race?" mused the snake, pondering the very question that generations of philosophers and comics have puzzled over for millennia. "And what does 'torqued' mean anyway? Or did the guy say 'twerked?'"
Twitter, of course, had fun with this Discovery Channel bait-and-switch baloney sandwich, as well it should: To paraphrase one reasonable reaction, the next time you say someone is going to get eaten alive, you bloody well better make certain someone gets eaten alive.
A better title, or at least a more accurate title: "Help! I'm a Would-be Celebrity and my Arm is Being Torqued by a 235-pound Anaconda! Get Me Out of Here."
This was the Discovery Channel's own version of Geraldo's Vault -- you remember Al Capone's vault, hidden for years, until Geraldo Rivera finally opened it to find a layer of dust and an old bottle of wine.
Would that he had only found an anaconda...
Anyway, what the heck. You know I'll be watching the sequel on TDC: "Eaten Alive 2! And this Time, We Really Mean It!"
By the way, even PETA is officially mad about the bait-and-switch, and that the snake was effectively deprived of a meal. It sent out a statement a little while ago, saying, in part
"Paul Rosolie and his crew put this snake through undeniable stress and robbed her of essential bodily resources. She was forced to constrict and then not allowed to eat."
To the clips. The first is what viewers witnessed last night. The second clip is what Discovery said viewers would see, as naturalist Paul Rosolie entered the belly of the beast..... Differences are signficant: