Going hog wild on 'American Hoggers'

Robert Campbell puts protective vests on the dog Robert Campbell puts protective vests on the dog in A&E's real-life series "American Hoggers." Photo Credit: A&E Network

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REALITY PREMIERE "American Hoggers"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres tonight at 10 on A&E

REASON TO WATCH Texas babes in full makeup ride horses, shoot guns and tie hogs, while bearded-'n'-booted Big Daddy drawls with a mouthful o' marbles.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT You need to know more? OK, eerie Western-movie music plays while paunchy patriarch Jerry Dean Campbell leads his young'uns out through central Texas scrub lands on feral hog hunts. Gotta git 'em, 'cause they rippin' up fences 'n' stuff. So hefty Daddy steers his ratty wheels -- "I don't drive a Jeep, I wear one" -- while 20-something son Robert "Hunter" and daughter Krystal "Pistol" ride horses after hounds that chase and pin boars in the brush. Sometimes, they have to shoot the critters, and sometimes they just tie 'em up and haul 'em off. So that demonstrates what "hogtie" means, providing verbal education as well as knot instruction.

In case you don't get (git?) the Lone Star flavor, reality production king Thom Beers ("Deadliest Catch") includes close-ups of the Campbells' Texas flag and steer horns adorning their homestead. Night cameras give us 200-pound boars with glowing eyes, and dog-cams offer the hound's-eye view of hog pursuit.

MY SAY "Hoggers" is more down-market than Beers' crab fishermen and ice road truckers. Jerry's got "preditor control" written in Sharpie on his Jeep and jacket. (For the record, it's spelled predator.) Just when you're thinking, "Geez, I can't understand a word he's slurring, why don't they use subtitles?" Beers provides subtitles (but at random moments only, so best enable your TV set's closed-caption option).

Jerry has clearly been encouraged to say things like "It's colder than the ex-wife's heart this mornin' " as often as possible (but not as often as Dan Rather used to when big news was breaking). Son Robert Hunter has possibly been, uh, advised to say things like "The big boar reminds me of one of Chaucer's medieval demons." But daughter Krystal likely outfits herself with leather chaps and neon blue nail polish.

BOTTOM LINE Great gosh almighty, is there any animal pursuit left uncovered by reality cameras?

GRADE B

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