Mancow, Mark & 'Merica | Bleader

Mancow, Mark & 'Merica

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Mancow considers: Urine or moonshine?
  • Mancow considers: Urine or moonshine?
History, née the History Channel, drags itself further down a new (as of 2008) and questionable programming path with yet another reality show: God, Guns & Automobiles, which follows Mark Muller, the founder and owner of the Max Motors car dealership in Butler, Missouri, and his younger brother, Erich, who until now has been been a silent partner in the business. The money Erich's invested in the dealership comes from a long career in broadcasting: You might know him as the titular Mancow of Mancow's Morning Madhouse, or from one his subsequent short-lived radio shows, or from his current morning show on WPWR. Or, my personal favorite, the Eagle Insurance/Eagle Woman commercial: "Look! She's dropping her rates!"

In the opening credits, Mark proclaims himself a god-loving everyman with the motto "Do the right thing, and everything else will fall into place." The brothers oversee a staff of "outlaw" car salesmen who will cut almost any deal: boats for trade, goats as down payments, and, in the past, a free AK-47 with certain purchases. Incentives for sellers include bonuses and Michael Bay-style car explosions (that's one way to get rid of inventory). In the first episode, a guy comes in to buy a hybrid and ends up in a huge truck doing doughnuts in a field; the test drive ends with him jumping out.

But for all the gimmicky middle-America stuff, the most interesting thing about the show is the siblings' relationship. Mancow is totally cowed by his older brother. "You don't have to curse me," he whines when they argue; he reacts suspiciously when Mark offers him what appears to be urine, but turns out to be moonshine. This is the same guy who's taken on the FCC. He has a criminal record! (Admittedly, for tying up traffic in LA during a publicity stunt back in 1993.)

The show debuted on July 8 with two half-hour episodes and little fanfare, though Think Progress expressed concern over Mancow's "far-right" politics. Neither the network nor the production company (Zone3 of Montreal) would talk about it, which is a shame, since their reality-based shows are, on the surface at least, more factual than some of their other programs (let's not get started on The Bible or Vikings.) In fact, History has been criticized by everyone from Jon Stewart to the ACLU for historical inaccuracies. But at least it's no longer known as the Hitler Channel.

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