D. is a remarkable and patient man, for I know few people other than him who could tolerate watching a TV show about dinosaurs with me. I am incredibly annoying. I have a tendency to argue with the television, pause the show to make a comment about what I feel is wrong with the most recent shot, and so on. I do this a lot with science shows in general, but dinosaur shows for whatever reason have a greater likelihood of skewing towards hyperbole. (That, and I don't know enough about astrophysics or material science to keep up my end of the argument.)
I guess I must have paused the action one too many times (is three times in the first ten minutes a lot?), because D. turned to me and said, "You know, we should create a dinosaur show drinking game."
Voilá. We took notes during the show and added a few other things based on previous things we've watched. (Walking with Dinosaurs, etc.)
- Drink for tired clichés -- "gentle giant", "vicious carnivore" etc. -- that make assertions about an animal's temperament based solely on what it eats. (Cape buffalo and hippos are herbivores, but no one would call them gentle!)
- Drink for scientific inaccuracy, like showing T. rex urinating on its territory. (Feel free to call me if you aren't sure. Here are a few to start you off.)
- Drink for Jack Horner. (Jack Horner is awesome!)
- Drink every time they show a digital animation of an asteroid hitting the earth at the end of the Cretaceous. Drink twice if the ensuing explosion is reflected in the eye of a dinosaur.
- Drink for Montana.
- If anyone says "Brontosaurus," (including the narrator!) finish your drink.
- Drink each time a prehistoric critter breaks the fourth wall (bumps the camera, etc.) -- prevalent in the "Walking with..." series.
- Drink for paleontologists in cowboy hats. (One drink per hat.)
- Drink for dinosaur-on-dinosaur violence or dinosaur mating.
- When a female paleontologist or other scientist appears, finish your drink. (Don't worry, guaranteed not to happen more than once per show. The Wikipedia page for Sue is longer than the page for the woman who discovered her. These are very male-dominated shows.)
In the end, though, as critical as I am of these shows, I have a deep affection for them. Perhaps its the part of me that hasn't stopped hoping to see a real, living dinosaur someday, or maybe I'm just a nature nerd. I couldn't tell you which. But check out the Arctic dinosaur show, it was actually quite interesting. Bring a beer over to your computer while you're at it. Keep an eye out for cowboy hats.
PS: Forgot to mention -- if you have anything to add to this list, please leave a comment!