By Caitlyn Hwang
With their salty vocabulary and dressed personalities, the cast of ‘Wicked Tuna’ is not one you will forget. The show, which finished its ninth season last June, follows the competition between a group of bluefish tuna fishermen based in Gloucester Bay, Massachusetts.
It’s not hard to familiarize yourself with what goes on on-board. A “butterball” is a codename for a fatty fish. The boats have a weird fascination with good luck charms and pineapples. Captain TJ of Hot Tuna has a blooming romance with the Pinwheel’s first mate. You scream “deep color” when the fish is close enough for you to see but not enough to gaff. Useless, yet entertaining information, if you ask me.
Still, the show is surprisingly educational for those unfamiliar with the fishing industry. It brings to light the relationship between fisherman and fish, how one can so easily affect the other. Due to overfishing, the boats have a one-catch limit a day, a quota that they sometimes fail to meet. At times, crews will find themselves hooked on a fish for hours, only to lose it in the end. Fluctuating prices further this struggle as the crewmates’ livelihoods depend on a good paycheck.
In the show’s most recent season, the boats must work through a market shutdown in the wake of an oversupply of bluefin tuna. Depreciated prices run wild even at the sight of a cherry-red core. Yet, after a rough day out on the waters, you’ll often hear them say something along the lines of, “We’re gonna get back out there tomorrow, and catch another fish.” They stay painfully optimistic, making it hard not to empathize with them despite their snarky characters.
It’s no question that ‘Wicked Tuna’ has a recipe for good reality television. The drama isn’t ridiculous; at most it’s found in the humorous rivalry found between the newbie “Tourists” and the veteran “OGs” in season nine. There’s also an interesting relationship that emerges among the “OGs,” teetering between allies and foes. The show turns their careers into a competition for first place; really, it’s an individual struggle to support themselves amidst a cruel market.
If you’re looking for a show that will keep you entertained without making your head hurt from unnecessary subplots, ‘Wicked Tuna’ is perfect for you. It’s quite easy to become invested in the success of the boats, so much so you may find yourself in too deep. And don’t worry if it finishes too quickly, there are another seven seasons of ‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’ which follows the fishermen down south off the coast of North Carolina where the stakes are high and waters rough. Get “hooked.”