An open letter from Screaming Reels to our confused Australian neighbours

An Australian network is showing the NZ comedy show Screaming Reels in a time slot usually reserved actual fishing shows, suggesting the broadcaster was not aware it is a parody. The Spinoff asked co-host Leigh Hart to apologise to his confused Australian viewers. Instead, his ‘producers’ came back with this.

It has come to our attention that there is some confusion as to the genre, and overall intention, of the award-winning fishing show Screaming Reels (awards are pending).

Many Australian viewers are suggesting that the broadcaster 7 Mate has mistakenly scheduled the programme at the wrong time, a time normally reserved for serious educational documentary programming.

As far as we are concerned, 7 Mate has scheduled this high-octane fishing show in exactly the right time slot. Screaming Reels was conceived as a low to medium-budget educational fishing show that people could enjoy on a number of levels: its exciting techni-colour action on the one hand, and the educational information that comes in the form of top fishing tips on the other.

We’ve been given to understand that Screaming Reels pioneered the concept of using ‘sticky’ Go-Pro cameras, and even cameras with propellers on them – or ‘drones’ – that can go up and down to give the show a high-budget look.

Thanks to our high-tech approach, when it came to finding a duo to host the show we producers had many top fishermen to choose from. But in the end we decided to go with the proven experience of Leigh Hart and Jason Hoyte.

Jason and Leigh were keen to share with viewers many of their less orthodox fishing tips, like using Venetian blinds to attract fish to the surface, but also insisted they be given camera time to share some unsolicited information about themselves.

“We felt that it was important that viewers didn’t just get two-dimensional fishing action, but also got to know us better as people. We felt the best way to do this would be to share details of our sex lives, discuss how we might react in totally unlikely hypothetical scenarios and, if time allowed, share further information about other people’s sex lives. We didn’t want to be typecast as just run-of-the-mill fishing show hosts,” said Leigh, while putting a red mackerel into his Shimano smoker.

We are are, however, slightly concerned that some viewers – in Australia especially – have found the show humorous on occasion.

“This is a major concern,” said Jason, while running hose water through the back of an outboard motor. “We don’t mind the odd laugh as it can lighten the mood after a hard day on the brine. But at the end of the day we are there to educate fishermen, especially the ones on the other side of the Tasman who may be a little less experienced than us. But if there is one thing Leigh and I have learnt after many successful expeditions, it’s that you never stop learning… especially if you have an open mind.”

Leigh and Jason admit that to the novice fisherman or inexperienced fishing TV critic the fact that they never actually catch a fish in the entire six part series could be seen as a slight negative. But any fisherman – or woman – who won’t admit to going out on the water and not catching a fish on occasion is a straight-up liar.

This is perhaps the single greatest thing that separates Screaming Reels from other more contrived  and predictable fishing shows: the brave realism Jason and Leigh bring to the genre. We believe it is this realistic approach that qualifies Screaming Reels as a documentary or reality show. How is two men not catching any fish in a six-part TV series any less real than four people not catching a Bigfoot in seven seasons of Finding Bigfoot? What’s their excuse?

“The odds of us not catching a single fish in the entire series were astronomical, to be honest, But I think the fact that we were battling  El Nina and El Nino weather conditions at the same time had a lot to do with it. This is a phenomenon that only occurs once every 451 years, so the chances of us hooking up big in the next series look pretty dam good, providing we get out on the water before March!” said Leigh, while taking a red mackerel back out of the smoker. Beautiful!

Postscript: Leigh and Jason are currently in negotiations with a number of Australian networks about a reality show that features them using their experience to relocate crocodiles in the Northern Territory.

Click here to watch Screaming Reels on TVNZ Ondemand


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