On “Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice” (Fri. at 10:00 p.m. on the Discovery Channel), Zeke Tenhoff is often too busy dealing with life or death issues to chat much. Even when his ex-girlfriend Emily Riedel wants to complain about her bad day, he usually has to tell her he’s trying to fix something or stop the dredge from falling apart so she needs to zip it for a while. Guess what? Zeke’s a lot of fun when he’s not dealing with important issues that may make or break his ability to make a living or, you know, survive.
Melinda and I had a great time talking to him about all sorts of things, some serious (such as his grief following the death of his best friend John Bunce), some insightful (why there are so many reality shows about Alaska) and some, well, silly. He’s not thrilled that one of his highlight moments on the show was having a near-miss diarrhea attack under water (see the clip below), but he gets why the Discovery Channel couldn’t resist featuring it. Here’s the rundown:
:45 He admits he’s an interview newbie. We promise to be gentle, mostly.
1:35 Why dredge for a living? It wasn’t exactly a master plan.
2:30 He didn’t do well last year, despite reports to the contrary.
3:30 He admits life is a constant struggle, which bums us all out.
5:15 He knows what he does is dangerous, but he forgets that sometimes.
8:02 His private life is public, but that’s okay, really!
9:10 How he dealt with John’s death.
11:21 He didn’t find Emily all that important — oops.
13:02 He discusses grief, and I think it’s safe to say both Melinda and I were moved.
14:56 He addresses some bad decisions…
16:40 … and the diarrhea scene.
19:35 What he’s most proud of about the series is being real on the show.
20:15 Still, he’s not famous — at least not in Nome.
22:10 He doesn’t get fans! Come on, people!
24:00 We talk about how easy it is to die in Alaska.
25:40 Did you know Nome has a reputation for alien abductions?
26:35 The heroism of ice dredging.
29:00 What he watches on TV — not much!
29:40 He doesn’t get why there are so many Alaska reality shows, which is entirely logical.
31:35 “Pawn Stars”
33:15 He talks about working with a film crew in his face.
35:30 It may be frustrating to deal with camera men, but he’s impressed by what they do, too.
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