This article examines a reality television show about crab fishing on the Bering Sea, “The Deadliest Catch,” from three angles. First, it looks at how the content of the show, the story it tells, fits in with broader ideological patterns associated with neoliberalism. The other two angles analyze the program from the behind-the-scenes perspective of the labor that goes into its production. By uncovering the creative and editorial work that goes into the crafting of the program, a window is opened onto recent struggles to maintain a strong union presence in the TV industry. By pulling back the curtain still further and discussing the actual conditions in the crab fishing industry that the show purports to document, another window is opened, this time onto the emerging struggles of deckhands and skippers to maintain a foothold in a drastically restructured world of commercial fishing.
Richard Wells; The Labor of Reality TV: The Case of “The Deadliest Catch”. Labor 1 December 2015; 12 (4): 33–49. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-3155143
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