Fans of reality television are often disappointed that the shows they check out appear more “staged” than “reality.” It is hard to find “real reality” in reality television these days. But, viewers who are looking for reality television with a grittier edge will do well to check out truTVs hit reality show Black Gold. This week’s episode was a good example of the harder side of reality television.
Black Gold focuses on Big Dog Drilling Rig 28. Everyday drilling, not including the frequent problems and challenges, on an oil rig is dangerous, and can be fascinating for the casual reality show viewer. It also can make one think a little harder about the jobs out there that people do every day to keep our daily lives of comfort going smoothly; oil drilling is definitely one of those jobs. It takes determination, strength, skill, courage; it takes a certain type of worker, dedicated to the job to get it done, much less to get it done safely. Having the opportunity to see these workers close-up should give us all a moment to pause and appreciate the jobs they do. Sure, there is the usual personal drama one expects to see on a reality show, but the actual drilling scenes are plentiful, and they are thrilling, often scary, to watch. And, watching those scenes definitely makes one think about how hard their own job really is--or isn't.
Black Gold will no doubt make the average viewer move to the end of his seat more than once during an episode, anxious to find out what will happen next.
No Room for Error on Rig 28
Drilling deep into the earth leaves little room for error, if any room at all. This week, Brandon, the lead driller, pushed the team too hard and “twisted off” the pipe. Not such a big deal if you are working on a project above ground, whatever it may be; a much bigger deal when that pipe is, as the computer detected, 7,500-feet underground. And, to his credit, Brandon did not try to pass the buck or make excuses for the project-halting error:
“This is about the worst thing that could happen to me and Rig 28 right now. … I’ll take it. I’m a man, I’ll admit to it. I twisted off,” he said straight into the camera.
But, that did not change the fact that his mistake could be the end of the Rig 28 project.
Next Move by Rig 28
So, now what?
Well, Oscar, the tool pusher, has the task of keeping the rig running, and it is his responsibility to get the pipe removed and repaired—not, one can imagine, the easiest of tasks to complete. And, as the episode closed last night, the crew was still on the job, but things were not going as hoped. And, although Brandon is a skilled driller, he has his own problems—his temper and troubles with the law, to name a couple—that may not make him worth keeping in the long run, especially with mistakes like this now facing the rig. With tempers flaring across the rig, each decision could make or break Rig 28—and possibly Brandon’s career with Big Dog.
Black Gold airs on truTV on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m.
UPDATED: Is Brandon on his way off Rig 28?
Video: truTV/Black Gold