It's their nature: Hot times for the Discovery Channel

March 19, 2000|By Brendan A. Maher | Brendan A. Maher,contributing writer

While the Discovery Channel has been busy thawing out woolly mammoths from frozen tundra this winter, it's become what you might call hot stuff itself elsewhere on the TV and radio dial.

Recent network TV shows and a heavily played pop single by the Philadelphia-based Bloodhound Gang have celebrated the more prurient side of those Discovery nature shows: the mating sequences.

For instance, in Bloodhound Gang's "The Bad Touch," radio listeners and MTV viewers hear front-man Jimmy Pop's deadpan monotone croon this refrain over and over: "You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals. So, let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel."

"The Bad Touch" has become one of the most requested songs on Washington-based alterna-rock station DC 101, and the video of the monkey-suited band has become a regular on MTV's "Total Request Live."

Meanwhile, on a recent episode of Fox TV's "Malcolm in the Middle," Malcolm's middle-aged parents got a bit, um, carried away while watching a Discovery documentary.

For its part, the Discovery Channel appears unfazed by the attention being paid to what some wags have termed "kitty porn."

"It just goes to show how the Discovery Channel has disseminated into the popular culture," says Discovery's director of publicity, Karen Baratz.

That certainly seems true in the case of "The Bad Touch." The song's lyrics (described on the band's Web site as "one-half wit, and one-half half-wit") also make pop culture references ranging from Rip Taylor to Lyle Lovett to "The X-Files." But rhymed as it is into the song's catchy hook, the Discovery Channel stands out.

About that hook: Some radio stations have been reporting a rumor that Discovery Channel employees have been buying up the Bloodhound Gang CD to keep it out of the hands of the public. "I would be extraordinarily surprised if that were true," Baratz says, pointing out that such a strategy would probably only boost radio play. Besides, she says, the Discovery Channel has no problem with the song.

"People sort of chuckled when they first heard it, but that was all," she says, noting similar reactions to mentions of animal mating scenes and Discovery on "The Simpsons" and "Friends."

Does that mean Discovery might consider jumping on the bandwagon itself, and perhaps promoting the sexual aspects of its programming?

"Absolutely not," Baratz says. "We're too busy thawing mammoths, and that sort of thing is way out of the ballpark of what we try to do."

Pub Date: 03/19/00

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