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YMMV / Deadliest Catch

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  • Archive Panic: As of 2019, 14 seasons/242 episodes PLUS nearly 100 specials, aftershow (filled with the cast explaining/resolving/going into further detail regarding stories from the main show), and supplemental "best of" episodes that further flesh out the captains, their ships, the lives of their crews, and the stories seen on screen. Toss in a cast of several dozen people (some of which come and go as the series progresses) and a shocking amount of continuity porn, you would have a lot of work to catch up if you just started watching.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Plenty.
    • Captain Keith and deckhand Freddy Maugatai jointly became this with their relentless Jerkass treatment of a greenhorn aboard the Wizard in Season 9 (along with the rather harsh treatment of greenhorns on the vessel in general).
    • Captain Scott Campbell Jr. of the Seabrooke alternated inconsistent competence with probably the biggest ego on the show.
    • With his near-constant trainwrecks in life frequently overshadowing the show, Captain Elliot Neese zigzagged between this at best and an outright Scrappy at worst. On a more meta level, he arguably became a Creator's Pet because his misadventures fueled so much drama among the crew(s) and on land.
    • Phil Harris' younger son Jake Harris started as this, exhibiting pretty poor judgment and impulse control in the early seasons of the show — and that's before he descended into complete irresponsibility and heavy drug use. Made worse by comparison to his older brother Josh, who actually is working hard to make himself a better fisherman and carry on their late father's legacy.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Freddy Maugatai (one of Captain Phil's deckmen up to Season 7) is pretty hardcore. He's known to eat the intestines of fish and even once covered his face in the blood of a fish for good luck.
      • He topped himself on the July 23, 2013 episode: the Wizard came up to a floating walrus carcass and wanted to drag it aboard to cut off its tusks for the ivory (which meant a few thousand dollars of extra money). But they couldn't get a line secured around the thing to lift it up. So, Freddy strips down to his sweatpants and jumps in the freezing Bering Sea in order to help properly secure the line! And when he's pulled out after several minutes, he's not even shivering, unlike other people who are reduced to shivering wrecks after a lot less time and wearing a lot more clothes. Captain Keith Colburn probably said it best with these two quotes:
      Keith: (as the incident is happening) Holy fucking shit, that guy's a fucking maniac!
      Keith: (after the incident) Freddy Maugatai's wired differently than pretty much anybody I've ever met in my life.
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    • Edgar Hansen occasionally indulges in this; in addition to his pyromania (including the flaming hook ritual) and biting the head off a cod, at one point he drank the blood of a cod, getting greenhorn Nick Totman to join in.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • Later seasons have suffered this, with the death of Captain Phil Harris being a huge turning point towards the dark. In the wake of Phil's death, Elliot Neese and Scott Campbell Jr. joined the cast, and many fans reacted quite negatively to watching the two men struggle mightily while engaging in Ted-Baxter-level narcissism (Campbell Jr.) or just plain unlikable self-destructive behavior that quickly turned Elliot Neese into the biggest show-killer since Scrappy-Doo. Similarly, other ships suffered this mightily: Sig and Jake Anderson's master/apprentice relationship going from cute to toxic due to Sig's tight psychological grip on Jake, the entire bullied greenhorn saga on the Wizard, not to mention the self-destruction of the Hillstrand family — which came after the departure of Mike Fourtner, a much-loved member of the Time Bandit's crew, whose absence was a major blow to the show.
    • Season 9 is this trope in spades. Between the Wizard bullying arc (which turned Captain Keith and Freddy Maugatai into pariahs amongst the fans of the show for quite a while), the Time Bandit falling apart, and Jake Anderson's "I quit before you can fire me" departure from the Northwestern, the show became a black hole of darkness and unlikeable characters. This only became worse, due to the writers (in order to pair off what little footage they were allowed to film of Jake on another ship with footage of the Northwestern crew) doing about three episodes in a row that heavily featured fan-loathed Captains Elliot Neese, Scott Campbell Jr. and Keith Colburn — and at this point, Keith was still a Base-Breaking Character due to his handling of the bullying incident between a greenhorn and Freddie.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Deckhand Mike Fourtner of the Time Bandit, who has since retired but was regularly a Nice Guy among his shipmates.
    • Greenhorn-turned-deckhand-turned-captain Jake Anderson started off as one of these, earning plenty of focus since his introduction.
    • Deckhand Mac White, formerly of the Seabrooke and now part of Wild Bill's crew, who lacked the ego of his old captain (Scott Campbell Jr.) and tends to be a Nice Guy towards shipmates and viewers alike.
    • Within the show, the occasional greenhorn has actually impressed their captain and crew enough to get a promotion after a season or two.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • After a very good season, the Harris brothers have gotten a bit boastful. Jake Harris gets a friendly beatdown, after which he tells his father that he will be dependent on the two sons. Cue a few years later...
    • Another one may end up being Lenny messing with Captain Keith of the Wizard in one Season 7 episode. After Lenny gets his head driven into the sorting table by a BIG wave, Keith calls him inside and does the standard "How many fingers am I holding up?" test to make sure he's alright, and Lenny jokingly gives an incorrect answer before answering correctly. One season later (Season 8), and a greenhorn named Chris on the exact same ship has been brought in after complaining about numbness and tingling in his arm; when Keith comes in just minutes later, Chris is lying on the deck, convulsing and barely coherent (he would later need to be medevaced by the Coast Guard and went on to make a full recovery):
      Keith: *holding up two fingers* Chris, tell me how many fingers you see.
      Chris: ...Four.note 
    • Season 3 ends with a happy reunion at the docks for the crew of the Northwestern and their families and the camera, for the final moments of the episode, linger on Jake Anderson meeting and hugging his dad. A couple of seasons later, Jake's dad is brutally murdered and his body is not found for nearly 18 months. Eighteen months in which Jake has to endure the nightmare of not having closure, let alone the fact that the police had no clue as to who murdered his father.
    • The "Bull Riding With Captain Keith" segment in the first episode of After the Catch VI, which consisted of Keith getting thrown off the mechanical bull in several amusing ways, including once into the camera. The next episode revealed that Captain Johnathan Hillstrand had also ridden the "bull", only when he got thrown, he was seriously hurt. Captain Keith was lucky he wasn't seriously hurt.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Season 2 saw the addition of bearded captains Phil Harris (who had a blink and miss cameo in Season 1) and Captain Jonathan Hillstrand to the cast is seen as this, in terms of the show becoming more interesting with their presence.
    • For the Northwestern, the addition of Jake Anderson to the crew can be seen as such, as the father/son relationship between Sig and Jake provided a hook towards viewers watching the Hansen siblings.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Mike Fourtner's (of the Time Bandit) reaction to one of his last interactions with Justin Tennison. At the end of the 2011 opilio season, Mike and Justin got into a verbal sparring match on deck (partly due to lack of sleep, partly due to a wake-up firecracker from Andy Hillstrand going off near Justin putting him in a less-than-hospitable mood), which culminates in Fourtner shouting "We've got a crybaby on deck!" in reference to Justin. Two days after the season ended, Tennison died of sleep apnea. During one of the specials filmed after Justin's death, that fight was discussed with Fourtner; the first words he said in response to the footage:
    Mike Fourtner: "*sigh* I am such a jackass."
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Be thankful for the fact that TVs don't yet come with Smell-O-Vision.
    • Personal hygiene goes right out the window when crews are out fishing. Sig is said to not wash at all when not out at sea and Matt Bradley, during an opilio season, once claimed to have not bathed since the new year (Edgar claimed to be able to smell "poop" whenever in Matt's vicinity and shamed his friend into washing).
    • Cameramen and greenhorns' reaction to rough seas.
    • The Northwestern's tradition of biting the head off a fish for good luck.
    • Some of Freddie Maugatai's Samoan customs can induce this, such as a Season 7 episode where he cut open a cod and drank some of its blood, smearing the rest all over his face. He even invited some of the other Wizard deckhands to join in.
    • Some injuries (what they show of them, at least) are this. The X-ray of the crewman who accidentally caught his hand in a grinder and needed to be evacuated by the Coast Guard by helicopter stands out — his index and middle fingers are both going sideways after the first knuckle.
      • Sometimes they show how injuries are treated while out at sea, including suturing lacerations and lancing swollen fingernails, basically turning the mess table into a clinic, with nothing stronger than Tylenol for pain relief.
    • The sight of one of "Wild" Bill's greenhorns squeezing bloody pus out of his badly infected finger.
    • Casey having to squeeze the large cyst that formed behind a deckhand's ear. The entire crew (with the exception of the deckhand in question) is screaming and groaning at the sight and Casey gets hit in the mouth with blood and pus! Then Casey decides to eat lunch as if nothing happens while Josh stares in disbelief and queasiness.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Ramblin' Rose captain Elliot Neese is quickly becoming one, with some fairly rabid Hatedom, what with the trainwreck involving his personal life.
      • He began to be Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in Season 9, due to his generally competent handling and ownership of his new boat, the Saga — and also due to Junior now outdoing him in the Jerkass department. He backslid a bit in opilio season, though. In Season 10, he became aware enough of his bad habits that he tried to mitigate them, concentrating on fishing while he was on the boat, staying off the phone, etc. — not entirely successfully though, as between king crab and bairdi season he was served with a legal order regarding delinquent child support payments. His behavior (rescue of the Arctic Hunter's crew aside) rapidly went south from there, until he was confronted by his own father and he checked himself into a rehab center.
      • His descent continued in Season 11. He was fully back under the control of his addiction (constantly leaving his post to do heroin in his room) and his behavior became so erratic that he had yet another crew on the verge of mutiny. What makes it worse is that this time the crew is made up of his own father and friends. He entered rehab, once again, but no one is wishing him well this time around. All the captains on The Bait say unequivocally that Elliot's done as a crab boat captain because no one will trust him with their lives. The show's production team lamented that Elliot had a chance at redemption but chose to give in to his urges instead.
      • Elliot's bad behavior became so much that his financial partners bought out his share of the Saga, hired Jake Anderson as a full-time replacement, and paid for a major overhaul that made a point of removing various embellishments Elliot made while he was captain.
    • Jake Harris counts too, especially compared to his older and much more level-headed brother Josh. His own drug issues are starting to rival Elliot's personal troubles for sheer train-wreck status. The few times he's seen onscreen since leaving the Northwestern show him speaking oddly and covered in blemishes/sores. He hasn't been seen onscreen in years, though, and Josh says that Jake is still having problems and has apparently been breaking into the storage locker containing their father's belongings to fund his habits.
    • Scott Campbell Jr. (AKA "Junior"), a huge braggart who has voiced his desire to be a "legend" (which has been interpreted by many as him already thinking himself as a "legend") in the context of his track record as a crab fisherman. His Chronic Backstabbing Disorder habits during the king crab half of Season 9 have only made it worse.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: A person on the production team was arrested for selling cocaine at Deadliest Catch parties in the town of Unalaska.


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