'Eaten Alive' Tweet-cap: The Discovery Special Swallows Twitter

Ethan Alter
·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Paul Rosolie with snake on 'Eaten Alive' (Discovery)
Paul Rosolie with snake on 'Eaten Alive' (Discovery)

It's not every day that a major cable television network broadcasts video of a dude getting swallowed by an enormous snake. Which explains why the Discovery special Eaten Alive barnstormed Twitter Sunday night, quickly becoming a major trending topic.

The episode followed snake researcher and conservationist Paul Rosolie as he led a camera crew deep into the Amazon in search of a 25-foot anaconda to swallow him whole. But after stumbling around in the jungle for almost 90 commercial-filled, tension-free minutes, he was unable to nab a snake matching that description and wound up feeding himself to a previously captured anaconda.

Naturally, he wasn't volunteering to be eaten au naturel, of course. Rosolie donned a specially rigged suit designed to let him survive the encounter. Turns out he didn’t need it, though, since he called the whole thing off when he felt his arm beginning to break under the snake’s mighty jaws. At that point all those millions of viewers at home cheering him on in his quest to become snake chow promptly turned against him with fury.

Here's a look back at the way Eaten Alive mania built — and then imploded — on Twitter.

WTF OMG: As Eaten Alive began, the overwhelming consensus was that: 1) Paul Rosolie was crazy for doing it; 2) Discovery was crazy for airing it; and 3) They were crazy for watching it. Naturally, they weren't about to change the channel, though. Instead, they grabbed some food (of the non-human, non-snake variety, natch), snuggled up on the couch, and tweeted out their incredulity.

"Baby Got Back" Is Back: It took exactly .01 seconds into Eaten Alive for the Sir Mix-a-Lot references to start flying, with shout-outs to Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" following not very far behind. Will Discovery get a cut of any new iTunes sales?

The Experts Weigh In: Most actual snake experts wouldn't have been caught dead watching Eaten Alive (or, if they were, they were wise enough to not tweet about it), but there were a few voices of authority that stood out amidst the din.

One belonged to wildlife ecologist David Steen, who blogs at LivingAlongsideWildlife.com; another was science writer Jason Bittel. Kudos to both for heroically attempting to bring some sanity to what was clearly going to be an insane two hours.

Boredom Sets In: After the initial wave of nervous excitement — and the Sir Mix-a-Lot references wore off — viewers found themselves having to adjust to the harsh reality that they'd have to wait two full hours to see if the program lived up to its title.

The Moment of Truth: As Eaten Alive entered its final 20 minutes, Rosolie finally got suited up and prepared to enter the jaws of death.

Related: Discovery's 'Eaten Alive': Secrets of the Snake-Proof Suit

But to the shock (and disgust) of everyone following along, he emerged from those jaws pretty quickly. The snake squeezed him to the point that he lost feeling in his arms, leading Rosolie to tap out and call an end to the stunt without actually being eaten alive. Personally, we think the snake is accustomed to chowing down on a higher quality of scientist.

Final Verdicts: Sorry, Paul — people would have been a lot happier if you actually had been eaten. Turns out that the viewing public appreciates a little truth in advertising every now and then.