What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Immortalized is a reality competition that rewards technical skill and artistry, so contestants and challengers can turn out some pretty impressive -- albeit occasionally bizarre -- stuff. There's very little blood because the taxidermists work with animals that are already dead. But you'll still see some exposed animal tissue, skin, etc. There's also some light sexual innuendo in the form of phrases like "size matters" and words like "scrotum" and "penis," along with some occasional bleeped swearing (as in, "holy s--t!").
What's the story?
Each episode of the competitive reality series IMMORTALIZED pits a new challenger against one of four "Immortalizers" (Beth Beverly, Dave House, Page Nethercutt, and Takeshi Yamada -- all expert taxidermists who are respected in the field) and assigns them a project based on a predetermined theme. The winner is then selected by a panel of judges (Smithsonian taxidermist Paul Rhymer, artist Catherine Coan, and comedian Brian Posehn) who decide whether the challenger or the Immortalizer did a better job.
Is it any good?
In theory, Immortalized sounds like the stuff reality TV dreams are made of, turning taxidermy into a head-to-head competition that puts a little-understood art form in the spotlight with the corny intensity of, say, Iron Chef America. It sounds weird, just weird enough to work. Only in this case, it totally doesn't -- in spite of the concept's guilty-pleasure potential.
The main problem is the show's bungled format, which completely saps the series of any drama by devoting a mere five minutes to the actual creation process and breezing through the hours of painstaking work that goes into each display. As a result, the bulk of each episode feels more like filler than compelling television. And even weird subjects deserve more dignity than that.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about reality television's tendency toward the outlandish and bizarre. Does taxidermy make a good topic for a reality competition? Is Immortalized a show a lot of people will want to watch?
Why did producers choose to have the taxidermists do most of their work outside of the studio? Would it be possible to film them doing their work in a studio environment? What do you think about the show's format? Does it work for you?
What preconceived notions, if any, did you have about taxidermy before watching Immortalized? Did the show change any of your opinions about the "art" of stuffing animals?