Let’s All Joyfully Await The End Of Civilization With TV’s ‘Doomsday Preppers’

Promo for Doomsday Castle, National Geographic

Ten years ago, if someone were to tell you they were buying a bunker and stocking it for the end of the world, you’d call them crazy. You’d probably say the same thing today, but you’d be yelling it at your teevee screen, thanks to a plethora of doomsday prepper shows that inexplicably give television exposure to people who turn their property into medieval fortresses.

The newest season of “Doomsday Preppers” just started on National Geographic Channel (which is clearly trading in respectability for relevancy) and it was partnered with a faux-documentary called “American Blackout,” a prepper’s wet dream.

The fauxmentary followed several “real” individuals who managed to keep a sustained charge in their cell phones for more than twelve hours without power during mass panic. Three days after the power went out, people were already starving and shooting each other as if we had reverted back to the dark ages.

Except of course not the prepper, because he had a plan and he stuck to it. Throwing the family into their “bug out” vehicle, he traveled to a compound deep in the woods (but not too deep as a neighbor is able to walk right onto the property???) and starts living a life that would make Paul Bunyan blush. It is truly a wonderland of canned goods, sleeping bags and survival living in the heart of nature.

Or it’s a nuthouse.

This is a pretty common occurence on “Doomsday Preppers.” Overzealous men and women who believe that something terrible is coming for them and society, so they start to bury tubes of silver in the yard, buy large shipping containers to live underground and force their families to play along. And you would think these would all be bearded mountain men, but you’d be wrong. There are teenagers, businessmen, old couples and all types of suburban families just lining up to buy junk and run off into the woods when the world “ends.” A memorable one is a gentleman who claimed to have two of everything, including his wife and her twin sister. He would spend his nights pretending to be a raider, crawling through their yard to test his family and their defensive skills. Fun for the whole family!

It’s the circus of life brought into our living rooms weekly thanks to NatGeo, slowly competing with History and Animal Planet for dumbest reality television concept of all time (Bigfoot is not real, they will never find him, what is your endgame?)


And worse yet, every episode is packed in tight with ads for freeze-dried food and survival equipment hosted by folks like Marie Osmond. Every commercial break is heralded by her pearly whites shilling for Wise Company 7-day freeze dried food kits, allowing you to eat like an astronaut in the comfort of your own home or jungle fort.

It is mainstream television that is trying to appeal to the Alex Jones generation. They’re selling solar generators and life straws which would be helpful on Peace Corps missions, to Midwestern housewives, who generally do not need such things unless they subscribe to an economy based solely on the “will they or won’t they” relationship between the planet and the apocalypse.

And people are buying into it hook, line and sinker.

Watching it is most definitely entertaining for all the wrong reasons and the pointing and laughing, but that still doesn’t mean it makes any sense. Sinking your supplies under the water in an effort to keep it away from hidden bandits is not helping you now.

It’s a strange lifestyle made stranger by the gung-ho, rah rah attitude that accompanies it into the television world. Where previously these people popped up to be cryptic and weird conspiracy theorists, now they’re being painted as heroic family men and women fighting against tyranny before it pops up. It’s “The Twilight Zone” shelter episode done in real time, with the normal folks begging to get in while the heroic prepper plans to ride out the storm in his fortification, looking like a genius. A lucky genius.

If Nat Geo is right and the doomsday preppers are our only hope, we’ll probably just stop hoping.

But we won’t stop watching.

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  • Guest

    Interestingly, a Doomsday Prepper from a couple seasons back, Josh Wander, lost big-time yesterday as the Republican candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh. Google up the whole wacky Wander saga.

  • Farb

    I won’t start watching, thank you.

  • missannthrope

    Why do these people all seem to be in Arizona?

  • Lazy Media

    Sigh. These people. The winners in a post-apocalyptic world are the ones who are the quickest to put together a cohesive team of @ 30 people. Once we’re geared up, you can join us and contribute your prepper supplies (our ultimate goal is a self-sustaining commune of 150), or we will take them from you. It’s your call, Zebediah.

  • edith prickly

    Yeah, if civilization ever does collapse I don’t want these nutbars anywhere near me.

  • x111e7thst

    My plan come doomsday is to beat up my prepper neighbors and take all their stuff.

  • Antonin Dvorak

    Two thoughts: 1) These people are preparing for a dystopic future where money has no worth; yet they are all too ready to earn some now while they wait? 2) Animal Planet had a show called “Mermaids: the new evidence” (part of Jumps the Shark Week, probably) that will and forever be the dumbest reality show concept off all time.