How many (perceived) “Cool-Points” can our beloved Zak earn in one episode?
Bonnie Springs | Zak Bagans Is A Bitch – SA Magazine
In regards to the Bonnie Springs Ranch episode, I find the actual outline of this show nothing short of hilarious. The show opens with a smexy shot of Zak ‘The Bitch’ Bagans and his ghost huntin’ cowboy cohorts, ridin’ up on ‘hosses’. We then cut away to buff Zak’s narration, while he’s sportin’ shades and another of his signature black, dragon shirts, rambling along about how badass he is without a shred of humility. We are subjected to this drivel for a good three minutes. (Zak-Self-Given-Cool-Points: 6)
Next, Zak interviews the carnies who run the Bonnie Springs Ranch and makes fairly lame attempts at cool jokes, repeatedly looking to the audience for a supportive chuckle. To fill up time, the show’s editors begin randomly displaying creepy fake images of cowboy ghosts sporting bad teeth, just cause it looks kewl. We’re then introduced to a supposedly self-moving merry-go-round inside Bonnie Springs that never yields any relevance for the rest of the episode. Except for… when Zak and the gang all decide to play on the merry-go-round. Almost on cue, Zak steps off and pretends to be dizzy. This ends up being the Ghost Adventures equivalent of watching your eleven year old A.D.D. cousin pretend to be drunk at the family New Year’s Eve party, because your Aunt let him have a tiny sip of champagne. (Zak-Self-Given-Cool-Points: 4)
Eight minutes into the show, we are forced to watch yet another cowboy skit with the costumed crew. This time Zak ‘gets shot’ and falls off the roof of the Shootin’ Gallery’ onto a pile of mattresses four tiny feet below. (Zak-Self-Given-Cool-Points: 9.5). We are then teased as they go into commercial break with a guy dressed up in Paiute Indian garb rambling on about animal spirits and general ghostly gossip from the Reservation, leading us to believe that some pretty spooky stuff awaits. The show comes back, and we find Zak talking to a burrow from the backseat of a car. “Aww… he’s cute, bad ass, wears thumb rings, is funny… and he loves animals!” (Zak-Self-Given-Cool-Points: 9) We then cut to Zak telling the carnie about his fear of dolls and mannequins. “Aww… he’s cute, badass, wears thumb rings, is funny, loves animals, and isn’t afraid to share his feelings!” (Zak gives himself 6.75 more Cool-Points.)
Next, Zak makes some sophomoric observations about a fake bear-mannequin who lost some fur below the waist. This is followed by one of the carnies sharing the uninteresting tale of a Master Lock that came undone in his hand before he could even put a key to it, purporting that it was paranormal. The Ghost Adventures Crew buys this idea, hook, line and sinker, never once considering the probability that perhaps the lock simply wasn’t locked. This is followed by a close up picture of a photographer’s thumb finding it’s way in front of the lens and into a photograph, which is also treated as de facto proof of spooks. Zak and the carnie then blather on about a breeze being a “cold spot”, as opposed to, you know, just a breeze.
We are then taken to the Paiute Reservation where Zak holds some incense in his hands, and respectfully listens while the Paiute ‘Tribe’ does a phony rain dance and listens to the Paiute Chief spew out some stuff that sounds all existential. Zak pretends to be touched and gives himself 4 more cool-points for making sure all the chicks watching the show are aware that he’s comfortable sharing his innermost feelings. It is here where we realize that we are nineteen minutes into the show, and there hasn’t been a lick of anything ghostly, unless you count a merry-go-round that spins exactly the way it’s supposed to, a misplaced thumb in a photograph, and a shitty padlock.
Next, instead of investigating the paranormal, Zak and the gang decide to go play some more, in some caves before dark. Zak does his best Nat Geo Channel impersonation, talks about the ghost huntin’ they are going to do, and we get to watch Aaron waltz into a cactus and drop some F-bombs. Zak also shows off his hill climbing abilities in a tight T-shirt (yes ladies, he’s athletic too!) which of course means that Zak’s perceived cool points are now, clearly, off the chart. Then we cut to commercial at the twenty-three minute mark, with shots of the paranormal investigation that still hasn’t started yet. When we return from the commercial break, it’s now dark, Zak’s T-Shirt is still black and tight, however, it’s now strategically tucked in behind his silver biker belt buckle. Zak proceeds to repeat everything we already know- that this is a ghostly place, and some good old fashioned ghost hunting is just around the corner. Aaron falls down. Now, twenty seven minutes in: Zak informs us that we are going to be joined by other ghostbusters, Joe & Billy, whom they’ve worked with before. Ya know, guys that have actually found spirits before, and hopefully will tonight, if and when the actual ghost chasing ever begins.
At that point, the camera jumps around to be sure and capture Zak from all sides, while ‘Joe’ never has any bearing on the rest of the show. Then Aaron talks about some new equipment, which, twenty nine minutes into the show still hasn’t been used… because the actual ghost hunting still hasn’t begun. But it looks cool… and Aaron doesn’t trip, fall, or slobber. Finally, Aaron goes on for another thirty seconds to explain how they will ghost hunt, using Billy as an EVP analyst, leading us to believe that at some point during the show, there really will be an actual, honest to goodness ghost adventure.
We cut to a night vision look at the nearby mountain range (mountains are not ghosts), while Zak repeats, literally, absolutely everything Aaron just spent four minutes telling us, reiterating the fact to the viewer that yes, there eventually will be some semblance of an actual investigation at some point. We then catch a few shots of the guys unlocking a door, walking up steps, and making fun of the mannequins again… except this time, it’s on heat vision, so at least the investigation has sorta began. Kinda. But not really.
Then we dedicate a seemingly endless amount of viewer time to a water spot on the wall, and heat-vision it ad-nauseum. Two minutes later, after much debate and banter of how much it looks paranormal, we are told what we already know, that it’s not paranormal. After a replay of something the carnie said earlier, we now stop the investigation of mannequins and water spots to return to the merry-go-round and explain how they plan to investigate it, as opposed to actually investigating it right then and there. They never do investigate the merry-go-round. Then we cut to coyote noises (not ghost noises) being pushed on us while Aaron giggles. Zak then reminds us before cutting to commercial, that the equipment is set up, and by God, after the commercial break, they will be ready– really, really ready, to investigate… which is good, because we are now thirty-seven minutes into the show.
After commercial break, ‘water’ rears it’s ugly head once more, as we dedicate another sixty seconds to debunking some water dripping sounds. Zak takes us back outside to tell us that they walked around with the thermal camera a little bit, and that he’s inviting even more ghost hunting peeps, Wallie & Christy, into the investigation, which means we now have four extra bodies on hand for an investigation that hasn’t even begun yet, in spite of the fact that there is less than twenty-five minutes of the sixty minute ghost investigating show remaining. In other words, we’re chock full of ghost adventurers, but there is no actual ghost adventuring taking place. But there is a leaky pipe. We then listen to more coyote sounds, while Aaron and Nick talk about them, and how spooky they are, compared to ghosts, which they haven’t hunted yet. Curiously enough, at this point I would gladly welcome a coyote hunt as a consolation.
We meet Wallie & Christy. They repeat stuff about ghosts, equipment, and investigating that we were already told in the first twenty minutes of the show. Then they tell us about their own previous tribulations, way back in their own history, when actual paranormal investigations were taking place– unlike now. Zak then takes over the narration and explains how they are going to (eventually) investigate with Wallie & Christy, talks about the thumb-photo again, and explains that he needs to visit with Billy the EVP analyst. Zak then reintroduces us to Billy, and re-explains how he is going to do his job during the eventual investigation… which Aaron already did for us (without falling down) twelve minutes ago. We’re then reminded, yet again, in lieu of actual ghosts, spirits, or even coyotes, how creepy the wax mannequins are– thirty nine minutes in. Joe & Billy walk in to where Zak is. We never see Joe again.
Zak then pauses to reflect and wax poetic about how he got “shot” earlier on top of the Shootin’ Gallery. Since doing an investigation seems to be impossible at this point, we revisit the phony Zak shooting, this time in sepia, slow motion replay. From two angles.
Zak then explains to us, one more time, exactly how they are going to go about their investigation, when they actually get around to it. The editor wastes a little more time while Wallie asks questions about how to do an investigation- even though he is, by trade, a paranormal investigator. We revisit Wallie & Christy’s historical tribulation-story again, while Aaron reminds everyone that his EVP recorder is on, and ready to record, when they do decide to dive into doing a real live ghost adventure, which, despite the name of the show… still hasn’t happened yet.
Forty one minutes in, Aaron, Nick, Christy and Wallie are all standing in a circle, looking about as comfortable with each other, as one is when running into a relative at a funeral whose name you’ve forgotten- and they think they hear voices. Zak pops in to tell us that, unfortunately, none of these imaginary sounds got recorded, but at least we are kinda, sorta investigating now. Perhaps a little less cowboying & spelunking, and a little more ghostbusting would have prevented this? Then again, it is all about the cool-points. Either way, we go to yet another commercial break.
We return with only thirteen minutes left in the show, to Zak and the carnie in the opera house. We revisit (for the fourth time) the wax mannequins, and yes, in case you were wondering, we are reassured once again that they are still creepy. We are then met with more shots of everyone else still standing in a circle with their thumbs in their belt loops, looking even more uncomfortable with each other, and kinda, sorta, at least talking as if they’re investigating- even though they’re kinda, sorta, not. Then we revisit the breeze that was touted earlier as a ‘cold spot’. The carnie then blathers on about some “angry spirit” that no one has investigated yet.
Now, down to less than ten minutes remaining in the show, instead of investigating, the wacky Ghost Adventures production crew decides instead to continue the nothingness by displaying a VH-1 Pop Up Video type ‘Angry Counter’ in the corner of the screen, making light out of how many times the carnie says ‘angry’ during a not-so-serious EVP session, which really amounts to nothing more than poking fun at the carnie while Zak snickers and poses for the camera.
The show continues, and finally delivers us a whopping grand total of six and a half minutes of actual investigating, where we are presented with hard scientific evidence of paranormal activity like goosebumps, new breezes (cold spots) and some “EVP’s” that sound a lot more like the amplified sound of paper being dragged across a school desk than actual talking. The ensuing commercial about buying Two-Dollar-bills for ten dollars is actually more interesting.
With three minutes left in the show, it’s more of Billy, the carnie, and Zak. This time we have a gigantic red arrow on the screen, pointing to absolutely nothing on the edge of the camera’s view, that’s supposed to be something… and they play this clip literally twelve times, while Zak takes up the last two minutes and forty seconds of the show desperately trying to convince us, the judge, jury and bailiff, on exactly why we should believe that the emperor isn’t naked, and that the red arrow really is pointing to something relevant and paranormal. We then hear some footstep sounds. We figure it’s probably that Joe guy leaving, since he’s clearly not being put on camera.
The show ends with ten more shots (for a new grand total of twenty-two) of the big red arrow pointing to nothing (complete with harp sounds), while Zak wears a really hip baseball hat (3 more Cool-Points), takes more jovial ‘angry’ jabs at the carnie, and makes sure to get a few more badass shots of the gang dressed in their cowboy garb. Zak ends the episode by giving us less than five minutes of Ghost Adventuring, but does at least rack up 42.25 Cool Points for himself and his middle-school fans.