'Swamp People' draws 4.6 million viewers: Who else is obsessed with this crazy show?


Image Credit: History Channel

Swamp People, History’s fascinating reality series about Cajun alligator hunters in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp, has been quite the Leviathan in the Thursday night cable ratings recently. For the past two weeks, it’s pulled a solid 4.6 million viewers, yet it doesn’t garner the sort of attention that a soapier, sexier show might. But it should! Seriously, don’t let this show slip bayou. (Sorry — I couldn’t help it.) It’s awesome.

Swamp People is a refreshing departure from the over-produced, glossy fare that dominates much of the reality TV landscape. Instead of showcasing trendy, urban 20-somethings trying, like, SO hard to break into the entertainment biz, Swamp People, as devotees know, features a cast of unpolished gator hunters (like fan-favorites Troy and Jacob Landry, pictured), many of whom are missing a few teeth and speak in over-the-top Cajun accents. They’re hard working men — one woman too! — just trying to get through the hunting season and make some money. Think Deadliest Catch, with an extra bite. (Sorry again!)

But its appeal extends far beyond its crazy cast of characters. Swamp People also incorporates an element of danger that most scripted series would kill for. It was on the History series that I first learned there’s only one way to kill an alligator, and that’s to shoot it in the soft spot between its eyes with a rifle. If you miss, you not only anger the hungry beast, but you run the risk of sending sharp shrapnel from its hard shell in every direction. Watching a swamper wrangle a thrashing, 9-foot gator while his partner attempts to line up a straight shot? That’s must-see TV, my friends.

Yet, Swamp People is as sharp as it is exciting. There’s a business aspect to the show that keeps it from being formulaic — the hunters have an alligator quota to meet, and they’ve only got one month to catch a couple hundred gators. Low water levels, broken engines, bloody injuries, and poachers all threaten to ruin their perfect seasons. (Now, that’s a reality competition show, Mark Burnett!)

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for any of History’s blue collar reality lineup. Ax Men and Ice Road Truckers — that’s my bag. But right now, Swamp People is at the very top of my list.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Are you as obsessed with Swamp People as I am? Are you glad it’s being watched by so many? Sound off in the comments!

Comments (114 total) Add your comment
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  • Dean

    I’m no prude when it comes to blood and gore, but I’ve watched this show and it’s just too violent for me. I understand that these creatures are overpopulated, but I get no pleasure from watching these animals receive shotgun blasts to the head.

    • Bullwinkle

      It’s not SHOTGUN BLASTS, it’s a .22 rifle.

      And quit being a moron and simply don’t watch it !!

      • Eli

        Being nice is a foreign concept to you isn’t it?

    • KSB

      I’m glad that anti-hunting folks like you don’t run the conservation and wildlife portions of our government.

    • Dan

      Shooting them in the head is a humane way to kill them. Most fishermen don’t think about the fact that they’re killing fish. Fish are dragged out of their environment and left to suffocate to death. Think about that the next time you’re enjoying some trout or catfish. By the way. fried alligator taste’s like chicken!

    • Roy Faulks

      Hahahaaa Did u seriously call it a shotgun? No place here…

    • Jamie

      If people did not go out and hunt these creatures, they will overpopulate and threaten the human population. It really is funny when people believe so strongly in the rights of animals and forget about the rights of their fellow man.

      • brandnewchick

        So how do you feel about the killing of fluffy little snow white seals?

    • Deano

      You’re a wuzz!

    • Ken

      Do you understand that you are not forced to watch? So change channels dip stick!!! It’s a case of “Mind over Matter” :; You complain all you want, I don’t MIND because your likes or dislikes don’t MATTER.
      Swamp People are just great and I like the shop

    • gabe sonnier

      Um, they don’t shoot them with shotguns, they use. 22 and if they don’t kill them, we (as in I LIVE in Louisiana) would hav alligator I’m our back yards and ditchs. Plus the meat is sold, and the skin is used in clothing.

  • jcb1628

    I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! I started watching for the action and stayed for the accents, the fashion and my overwhelming curiosity about what gater sausage tastes like!!!

  • NayNay

    I absolutely love this show, especially Troy! I live not too far from where they are and it is all real.

    • Bob

      I’m tired of watching humans kill, mame and abuse animals in this Country. I would love to see alligators start shooting the rednecks in the head for a change. This show makes me sick.

      • Angie

        Bob, first off, eff you for your racist redneck comment. Second, gators DO kill humans. They are a nuisance in some areas and will attack children, dogs and adults. Louisiana has put together an excellent program for population control.

      • KSB

        You, sir, are a moron, who understands nothing of nature.

      • david lebleu

        first of all we aint rednecks. were called cajuns we do this for a living and better yet you are probaly one of those that like to wear exotic foot wear like alligater skin boots belts andshoes but then have something stupid to say like gators shooting rednecks if you gonna call us something call us cajuns

      • Jennifer

        Sounds to me like Bob would rather watch Humans killing humans instead then? Lets see Bob go and visit the area where these guys live for about a week. I bet if he was sitting on a porch chair and saw a gator he would shoot it. Also, these guys and girl are WORKING… They get dirty!

  • Bill

    What a good show & departure from all the sex and true violence on TV. It is very interesting to see how these Americans have to grind out a living from the swamp. They are all very conscientious about their neighbors & friends. We need more shows like Swamp People. I look forward to Thursday Night Viewing. ( CHOOT EM Troy!!!!)

    • Eli

      So the violence on this show is what? Fake violence?

      • KSB

        It is only “violence” in that it involves men hunting animals. When MOST people (though obviously not mush-mouthed twits like you) speak of “violence”, they’re talking about the human-on-human kind.

      • KSB is a teabag

        Violence is violence moron.

      • Jamie

        The people in this world who actually catch and kill the food you eat off your plate everyday don’t see hunting as violent, they see it as survival.

  • hank rowell

    me and my wife love this show. we love the cajan language. me and my family go around saying shoot em liz shoot em shoot em. me and my family love it. yall keep doing what you do and we will be watching every thursday night.

    • gladys

      Sounds like our house. We love this show. I try to never miss it. I like all the people on the show. I have always been fascinated by the way the cajuns live. My favorite is Glenn and Mitchell, the brothers. I wish they could show more of them. I would love to visit their place someday and meet all the hunters and their families. They are my kind of people. Keep up the good work. I hope the show runs forever.

  • linda

    Pay attention! Most of the folks have their teeth. Quit making them all sound like backwater hicks when you don’t understand the culture.
    I don’t like the killing part (and wouldn’t like to even watch a chicken die) but that is a small part of learning about another culture. Cajun folk were part of this country before it was the United States and probably were here before most of your folks got here. So stop showing stupidity and ignorance and learn something new about a culture few people get to know.
    I’m not Cajun and I appreciate being able to learn about another culture.
    And, a pistol and 22 rifles are used in the show to make the kill shot. You would know that if you really watched the show.

    • Angie

      Preach, Linda. Funny how the same folks who scream and holler about making health care available to all are the first to point out who hasn’t had access to top-tier dental care, isn’t it?

  • Chris

    What does this have to do with history? It might be time for a name change for the History Channel.

    • Dan

      This is historical. The Acadians (aka Cajuns) have been hunting gators for centuries since they settled in South Louisiana. The methods have changed with the times abd what started out as catching food for their family has evolved into a business. And the gators, which were an endangered species as recently as the 1970’s are now so plentiful that this hunting season is necessary.

  • dee-dee

    Not me i have a brain.

    • TypoTina

      dee-dee: so do I, and the people portrayed on this show have brains as well. They are some of the most street-smart, wisest, people — if for no other reason than they’ve realized they don’t have to “put on airs” to impress other people.

  • L

    I wonder if they’re going to have a season next year because the floodgates in Louisiana were opened to flood the basin in which they film most of the show. This could mean less gators, and possibly some lost property and issues for the hunters on the show. I really enjoy watching it – wish Junior’s wife was on more! She is TOUGH.

    • Virginia Waterman

      She is tough But Willie! That’s one tough dude. Hard as a light wood knot.

      • KY GIRL

        I love everyone on the show,they all seem happy and happy is good.I have always told my children never think people are dumb, because everyone is smart in there own way.
        And your are right Willie is one tough dude,does anyone know how he lost his teeth???

    • Ragin Cajun

      L, added water to the basin will actually help the gator population as well as fish and crawfish. The basin is a storage area, the water rises slowly and does not flow fast (flush as you might think). The floodwater brings in fresh water with more oxygen. They will thrive under these conditions.

    • Dan

      The floodgates diverted water through the Atchafalya Swamp but it is very large and should handle the additional water. Before the levees were put along the Mississippi River, the river’s spring flooding annually sent water through the swamps. The lack of that water and river silt is what is causing the coastal erosion along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. It has caused more damage than any oil spill.

  • Me

    Confession: I have never heard of this show.

  • me

    Shoot him Elizabeth!!!

    • Bullwinkle


      • Darin

        Troy should have his own show

  • Carolyn

    Came across it on NetFlix and we are so impressed.Great delivery. Only have one episode left to watch – boo hoo!Can’t get way over to Louisanna soon enough!!

  • JSittler

    I love this show because of the peoples old fashion work ethics. They will go to work sick or injured. Family and neighbors are important to them. Need more shows like this, less Housewives of!!

    • brandnewchick

      Totally AGREE. From my side of the world I am SICK AND TIRED of animal rights activists slamming my cultures practice of killing seals for food and money. Yet, there would NEVER be a show on A&E or any other channel that shows that though would there? Just proves that only ugly animals are ok to be killed on TV.

  • n m

    Shoot, ‘Lizabeth, SHOOT!!!!!

    (They are using .22 rifles, a shotgun would turn the gator’s head into bloody coleslaw).

    • Grady Smith

      You’re right! Silly mistake on my part. Post amended.

  • Daniel F

    Hah, I watched this for the first time last night after seeing all of the clips of it on THE SOUP. My roommates were like, “Why are we watching this.”

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