"Animals Behaving Worse"
I'm not much of a fan of nature programs, and regrettably, Animals Behaving Worse did not erect my flagging interest. In fact, I only made it through two of the program's segments (crazy squirrels steal yellow ribbons! mischievous foxes steal newspapers!) before slinking back to reruns of The Office on "BBC America." I'm such a bad PBS Member, and I will own that.
To be fair, it's not this particular show's fault. I think I'm just annoyed, on principal, by shows that feature people following animals around with cameras. I mean, I'd hate it if the animals did that to me.
I suspect that if I'd stayed tuned, I would have learned how human encroachment into wildlife areas has led to a modern race of super-angry grizzlies, ants that breathe battery acid, and cunning labradoodles who quietly switch the decaf pot at your local Denny's — as well as, of course, those increasingly evolved, boat-entering stingrays that we read about so often in today's headlines. Fascinating, all.
Alas, the two segments I did watch illustrated a lively buddhist lesson in human nature; many Americans will assume that they are being menaced by their neighbors unless someone can show them it's just some random animal trying to build a house out of stuff they found in the yard. Come to think of it, that's actually a pretty good lesson, so maybe you should at least go watch those two segments. Go ahead. I will wait for you back here.
Also, in fairness, I'm not saying that every nature documentary should have lots of sped-up and backward footage and be scored to Boots Randolph's classic "Yakety Sax," but it certainly couldn't hurt to give it a try. Just something to think about.
And, finally, just be aware, documentary fans: it's only a matter of time before these animals will have all the tools they need to make their own PBS documentaries — perhaps ones in which you are clearly shown stealing your neighbor's newspaper or his yellow ribbon. So, when the ants, labradoodles, and stingrays start following you around with a camera crew — trying to explain your behavior in their terms —don't act all stuck-up, like you didn't have it coming.
These animals are mad, but they are clearly not stupid.