TV Recap: Eaten Alive

Written by Megan LaBruna

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Eaten Alive Plot:

Paul Rosolie and his team of friends and experts travel into the depths of the Amazon in search of one of the largest anacondas in the world. Using a one of a kind snake suit, the team’s goal is to have the snake eat Paul alive on camera.

Eaten Alive premiered last night on the Discovery channel. The special, featuring researcher and conservationist Paul Rosolie and his team, focused on finding a green anaconda to eat Paul alive on camera. Prior to the airing of last night’s show, PETA and several other animal rights organizations were in a tizzy about the premise, stating the act of eating a human being would harm the snake by having it exert energy to consume him and then regurgitate him leaving the snake without the vital nutrients it requires. They took to various media sites calling for the show to be banned. Luckily for them the snake didn’t seem to exert all that much energy as the two hour special built up to a very anti-climactic ending. *Spoiler Alert* Paul was not eaten alive by an anaconda. He was however restricted for about an hour by a 20 ft green anaconda that did attempt to try eating his head, sort of.

Photo Credit: Discovery Channel
Photo Credit: Discovery Channel

The marketing campaign for this special was pretty genius. While very informative and still intriguing, I, like many others would have never tuned into a special about trying to find the largest snake in the Amazon. I would however watch a human attempt to be eaten by one, because that’s insane! Leading up to the premiere, various articles have asked Paul his reasoning behind the premise of Eaten Alive.

Having lived off the grid for the past 10 years researching these reptiles, he did this to raise awareness of how the anaconda’s natural habitat is being destroyed by mining and deforestation and how important it is to save these creatures along with the wildlife that surrounds them.

The last half hour may have been a letdown, but the hour and half leading up to it was full of nail biting scenes that kept viewers on the edge of their seats. The team’s exploration of the Floating Forest, a location in Peru buried deep in the Amazon, was no joke. They were truly off the grid battling all the wilderness threw at them. They suffered cuts, bruises, wasps and parasites all in the name of science. Their goal was to find the snake Paul had had an encounter with before. The green anaconda was believed to be over 25ft in size, which is incredibly rare. Paul dubbed this snake Chu’mana meaning “snake maiden.” The team managed to film the intense capture of an anaconda, which ended up measuring 19-feet-long. Based on their struggle to capture this snake, I don’t see how they would have ever had enough man power to have successfully apprehended the snake they were going after, but one can dream I suppose.

The show itself probably didn’t need to be two hours long. They spent a lot of time focusing on the capturing of the snake which tipped me off to the fact that he probably wasn’t going to be eaten alive. Regardless, I did learn a lot about the Amazon and the animals that call it home and the scenery was amazing. At one point the camera crew allowed Paul and his team to use one of their drones to search for the snake. As a result, the audience gets a beautiful aerial view of the rainforest and the greenery that the Amazon has to offer. It was truly awe inspiring footage. They also shared clips from specialists, one of which stated that the remains of a 48-foot-long snake had been found in a mine dating back thousands of years which help to prove why there is old folk lore about humans being eaten by monstrous snakes. Basically my nightmare.

Photo Credit: Discovery Channel
Photo Credit: Discovery Channel

The last half hour finally focused on what every viewer had tuned in to watch. The moment he’s eaten alive! The exterior of the suit he wore was the only guard against the crushing force of pressure from the coil constriction of the snake. The specialized suit was designed by a team of doctors, snake experts and engineers. The helmet had a camera built into the top, so they did retain footage of the inside of the snake attempting to eat the helmet which was pretty cool. The rest of the suit contained a layer of chain mail to protect against the snake’s teeth, a layer to prevent acid erosion from the snake’s stomach and a layer to monitor Paul’s heart rate. They affixed a pressure sensor to the backside of the suit which was supposed to record the amount of pressure the snake was exerting on Paul’s body, however even that failed to perform since the snake was not directly on top of the pressure sensor.

All in the Eaten Alive lacked the execution on the hype that its viewers amped for. They didn’t find the snake they were looking for, and he wasn’t eaten alive. However, if you enjoy watching interesting and informative shows, than you may have still enjoyed it. For those of you who were left wanting more, I suggest watching the 1997 classic Anaconda. Plenty of people are eaten alive…but they don’t live to tell about it.

Rating: 5 out of 10

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