Whisked away by Whisker Wars

I’ve been watching a fair amount of IFC lately.

By the time I get home in the morning, there’s always some sort of alternative programming on that’s worth the watch.  Don’t get me wrong, they air just as much garbage as the other major networks but I dig me some Portlandia and any channel that routinely shows classics like Full Metal Jacket, Fight Club, Miller’s Crossing and 2001: A Space Odyssey at all hours of the night is good in my book.

Recently, IFC has been promoting the hell out of this show called Whisker Wars that I’d never seen before.  As you already know, I don’t watch much reality TV.  I find it annoying, mind-numbing and most definitely not based in “reality” as the tag suggests but since football season is coming to a close, I figured I’d have enough spare time to waste on another distraction.  While Whisker Wars might not be sports-related in the old-fashioned sense of the term, a bunch of dudes traveling around the world to participate in “competitive bearding” was off-kilter enough for me to give it a try.

The show airs Friday nights at 10 pm, although can you imagine the kind of people who stay in on Friday nights to watch guys grow beards?

“Hey, Mildred, whatcha wanna do tonight?”

“I don’t know.  How ‘bout we stay in and watch us some Whisker Wars!”

I guess I shouldn’t judge since I’m watching the show myself.  I’ll say hi to Mildred for you.

Wars initially attracted my attention because of a) IFC’s incessant self-promotion and b) the characters seemed genuinely weird, and not contrived as the other reality TV shows which are replete with those who want to cash in on their fifteen minutes of lame.

I went into Season Two blind, with no background information other than what I had seen on the previews.  There’s some dude, who calls himself Jack Passion, with a big ass beard, who a bunch of other guys, also with big ass beards, can’t stand.  Passion is the defending champion of all things beardness and weirdness.  I have no idea if Passion is his real name (guessing not) but I’m assuming he spends a fair amount of his reality TV pay on conditioner and combs and not suits and ties.

And so I delved goatee-first into Whisker Wars with the unrealistic and firmly grounded hopes of finding original entertainment, wondering how many episodes I’d actually watch before giving up entirely.  IMDB’s paltry 2.5 (out of 10) rating scared me but I was determined to find out what would prompt a network to create a weekly television show out of guys who refused to shave.

I soon found out.

The episodes are full of bearded dudes who, as you might imagine, work in health foods stores, live on compounds and drink a lot of mead.  You also won’t be surprised to find out the show features guys named Myk, Miletus and Aarne or that they have facial hair clubs for men, none of which I plan on subscribing to after watching the series.

To be perfectly honest, I fell asleep during Episode One, perhaps because it was boring but more likely because I had worked four doubles in a row.  In the subsequent episodes, however, we find competitors traveling from Columbus, Ohio to Brooklyn, New York to Austin, Texas to Portland, Oregon where we actually witness a minor scuffle between competitors that rivals your average NBA fight.  (FYI… basketball players can’t fight.)

With every open, Whisker Wars teases the grand finale: the German International Beard and Moustache Championships.  The season-long objective of the string of US competitions is to gather enough strongly-bearded Americans to conquer the world’s greatest non-shavers in international competition, despite their constant bickering.

The most heart-warming story of the season has to do with the soft-spoken, German-born Aarne Bielefeldt who switches from the main competition to what they call “freestyle.” He goes on a bearding tear from there on out, winning competition after competition in that category.

In the end, I grew tired of Whisker Wars partially because of my short attention span, partially because the program didn’t really provide me with anything new and mostly because I just didn’t want to watch grown men with facial hair down to their knees bitch about this and that.

Maybe next time I’ll listen to IMBD.

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13 Replies to “Whisked away by Whisker Wars

  1. Lameos trying to cash in on Duck Dynasty!

    One question do these guys have groupies?

    /Throws away Mach4

  2. Oh, Han.

    You should see the groupies.

    Does the phrase ten-foot pole mean anything to you?

    By the way, I’m pretty sure you’ve won my Time Machine contest. Still waiting on more entries but I don’t think anyone can touch the David-Goliath reference.

  3. Never seen the show you’re pushing. I gotta admit, I was fully expecting to read about Anthony Davis’ forehead moustache upon reading the title of this post. Dude needs to go 40 Year Old Virgin on that bush.

  4. I’m sorry but you lost me at Whisker Wars . I was under the impression we’d be discussing Whiskey Wars and bootlegging .

    A Rod and Nelson Cruz being implicated in another steroids probe . Say it ain’t so ?

    And the city of New Orleans madly looking to clean up their municipality of the infestation of crime ( has the highest homicide rate per capita in the nation ) in time for the Superbowl .

    Consider also , mayor Mitch Landrieu now has to clean up the mess of his predecessor Ray Nagin , after his recent arraignment and indictment by the Feds (Justice Dept) for money laundering , racketeering , fraud , postal fraud and accepting bribes . That’s par for the course for the state of Louisiana , isn’t it ?

    Mixed signals , smoke signals and all other type of idiotic signals … name it and you will genuinely find it in the world of sports

    Tophatal ……………

  5. Bleed…

    “Dude needs to go 40 Year Old Virgin on that bush.”

    I had to say it again to see if it sounded just as vulgar the second time around. It did.

    It’s gonna be a while before I get that visual out of my head. Thanks, brother.

  6. Al…

    I think we’d both know I’d be down for a show called whiskey wars.

    And to be perfectly honest, I don’t know why anyone’s surprised when anyone’s name comes up in the steroid mix anymore.

    Re: New Orleans, Al? I’ve heard nothing but positive things coming out of the city and this week’s experience. Like my boy Jeremy says, that town knows how to host a party.

  7. I once had a competion quality beard, but I had to retire due to the rising price of Just for Men.

  8. Never could grow a beard. Patches here, patches there. Apparently, some folks get more of that “gene” than others. I imagine things can get a little hairy for them…

  9. I’m actually one of the few people in the world who was looking forward to this show before it even went on the air. I’d been following competitive bearding for several years and knew who the central figures were (yes, I’m “that guy” who has favorite Starcraft 2 pro players and who cares about the rivalry between Chestnut and Kobayashi at the top of competitive eating).

    I personally quite enjoyed the show, though the typical overly-dramatic reality show editing does get a touch old. Given where I was coming from, though, I imagine my experience was rather different than that of most viewers.

  10. I also think you alluded to this in a prior comment, but for the record (to the guy claiming this knocked-off Duck Dynasty) Whisker Wars premiered first.

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