There’s a hierarchy of reality show participants who fill their houses with crap. On the low (read: “marginally sane”) end, we’ve got those “extreme” decorators who pop up this time of year, showing off their massive, computer-controlled Christmas light displays complete with Santa dancing “Gangnam Style” on the roof. Somewhere in the middle (read: “demonstrably kooky”), we see those coupon-crazed shoppers who fill every closet in their home with gallon jugs of Pert conditioner because they were on sale two-for-one. At the high (read: “certifiably nutso”) end are those hoarders whose houses are hazardous waste pits of stuffed animals and adult diapers. Located just above the coupon crazies but below the people with dead pets smashed under piles of old newspapers lie the survivalists.
National Geographic has dedicated an entire series to these special people, the entertainingly outré “Doomsday Preppers.” Wedged as we are between the fall season finale of “The Walking Dead” and the impending Mayan Apocalypse, now seems like the perfect time to take a cautious look at the survival obsessed among us.
“Doomsday Preppers” is like a happy home tour of the weird neighbors you never want to meet. Some have bunkers stocked with canned food, bottled water and the occasional amenity (a big screen TV!). Others merely have a basement full of toilet paper. The most extreme among them run their broods of kids through elaborate end-of-the-world drills.
It’s interesting to get a look inside the fortress-like homes. They run the gamut from foxholes in the garage to abandoned missile silos to still-
Who knows—when the gawking is done, you may glean useful information from the show. On this week’s episode, for example, a New York-based doomsday prepper explains his plans for escaping from Brooklyn to New Jersey in the event of a meltdown at the Indian Point nuclear reactor. His plans include an inflatable raft and bear mace. That and a closet full of Pert might just get you through Dec. 21.