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.
Eaten and Regurgitated alive? And I thought I was crazy. #EatenAlive— Richard Ray Rawlings (@RRRawlings) December 8, 2014
I can't believe I am going to watch a guy get eat by an anaconda, especially when I am deadly scared of snakes. #EatenAlive— Ashley Foust (@AshybearFoust) December 8, 2014
the #EatenAlive premise is so stupid. i can't believe this is an actual thing that is happening that i'm making popcorn for when it starts.— Kirk FM (@KirkLikesStuff) December 8, 2014
Throughout mankind there had been 3 great happenings: Man creating fire, landing on the moon, and man being eaten by a snake. #EatenAlive— Billy Biang (@billybiang12) December 8, 2014
Should probably be doing homework... But too distracted watching some guy get swallowed by an anaconda on discovery channel 🐍 #EatenAlive— Heather Irwin ⚓️ (@heather_irwin4) December 8, 2014
"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?
My anaconda don't want none unless you got a snake-proof suit ig😳 #EatenAlive— Melissa Harvey (@MelissaHarvey_) December 8, 2014
I don't think that anaconda will want none unless that guy's got buns. #EatenAlive— Kristen Brooke (@MissKristenBB) December 8, 2014
If I was Sir Mix A Lot or Nicki Minaj, I would fire my agents for not getting any piece of providing a soundtrack for #EatenAlive— Brett (@slegrbombs71) December 8, 2014
So when does sir mix-a-lot make a guest appearance on this snake show? #EatenAlive— #thatsfootball (@goldnhawk1) December 8, 2014
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.
OK #EatenAlive, let's do this. For anyone watching, I study reptiles and happy to answer your questions and get to the bottom of this show.— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) December 8, 2014
We were told that #EatenAlive would communicate a conservation message, but I haven't heard one yet. Just, "I'm going to get swallowed"— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) December 8, 2014
I’ll reiterate my prediction for #EatenAlive: The snake won’t eat him, so they Myth Busters-it & stick a camera down its throat instead— Jason Bittel (@bittelmethis) December 8, 2014
In other words, #EatenAlive will be the modern equivalent of Geraldo opening Al Capone’s vault.— Jason Bittel (@bittelmethis) December 8, 2014
Lots of people are telling me that an Anaconda killed two boys in Canada. That was a python, not an Anaconda. Period. #EatenAlive— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) December 8, 2014
For those of you just tuning in, there are no known fatalities from an Anaconda. Zero. So, #EatenAlive is more than a little stretch...— David Steen, Ph.D. (@AlongsideWild) December 8, 2014
Wish they’d taken 5 min to talk abt the cartilage-reinforced snorkel snakes use to breathe while swallowing prey. Coolest part. #EatenAlive— Jason Bittel (@bittelmethis) December 8, 2014
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.
I don't care about how they found the snake I just want to see the part where he gets eaten. #EatenAlive— Trevor Hancock (@PortableTrevor) December 8, 2014
My anaconda don't! My anaconda don't! My anaconda don't ..wanna stay up watching 'cuz it's taking too long, son. #EatenAlive— RachRiot (@RachRiot) December 8, 2014
45 min into the show and they still don't have a snake.. Wtf !! This show isn't called "walking through the Amazon" !! #EatenAlive— Arthur M (@ciomdx) December 8, 2014
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.
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.
Finally the moment everyone has been channel surfing around until it actually happened. Hes about to be #EatenAlive— Guillermo Guajardo (@GJGunit) December 8, 2014
Wait. Now he's taking off parts of the suit? This dude is insane. Good lord. #EatenAlive— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) December 8, 2014
Just back up everyone. Let Paul earn his Darwin Award. #EatenAlive— caposa (@GrabakaHitman) December 8, 2014
They keep asking him if he's okay, fool he said he's lightheaded and can't feel his arms, maybe the snake can eat yall next? >_< #EatenAlive— Kary (@KaryDegrassi) December 8, 2014
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.
That snake didn't even get through the appetizers. #EatenAlive— Carolyn Scofield (@NewsCarolyn) December 8, 2014
So #EatenAlive turns out be "Not eaten at all, but squeezed a bit by a possibly fake snake and then saved at the first sign of pain."— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) December 8, 2014
Don't worry guys, the snake felt like it wasted a few hours of its life, too. #EatenAlive— Ken LaVicka (@KLV1063) December 8, 2014