Backyard Oil: Real. Funny. Folks.
By: Eileen Marable
There’s nothing we love better at Discovery Channel than introducing you to new characters. Especially the kind that are going to let you into their private worlds to learn a little bit about what they do and laugh with them as they display their quirky charm. If you ask Executive Producer French Horwitz, that’s exactly why you are going to love the Kentucky wildcat oil drillers of Backyard Oil premiering tomorrow at 10|9c. In his words, “They hit the sweet spot between funny and real. These are just ordinary guys out there working hard, and incredibly it just happens to be on oil wells in their yards and on their farms.”
Yes. We know their story sounds just like The Beverly Hillbillies and we think they are every bit as endearing as the classic TV characters. The big difference is that these unlikely oil barons haven’t pulled up stakes – they’ve hit the jackpot in their own backyards and they are working that land for every drop of Texas Tea they can find there. The Kentucky back country is their home, but for us it might as well be another world.
Fortunately, the Backyard Oil boys are happy to share the peculiarities of their world with us. We’ll learn their language, where sayings like “drinking somebody’s milkshake” dominate conversation. For what it’s worth in Kentucky oil-speak that’s a bad thing – it’s when you are drilling a well and you inadvertently tap into someone else’s underground reserve. In other words, a major faux-pas.
We’ll also learn their sometimes strange ways. Like the unshakable belief held by some that “dowsing” or using sticks can predict where the oil might lie. Or the very expensive gamble that a surprising farm animal can sniff out the prize oil. Do these ways work? Well, they think so and we’ll get to see whether their unconventional wisdom pays off.
The one thing we will learn for sure is the fact that no matter how they choose to roll the dice and drill the land, once they commit, these fellas are all in. It’s hard to not root for a millionaire that wants to keep wildcatting and dine on nothing more than a grilled bologna sandwich.
When we asked French to describe the characters we are going to meet he kept coming back to the same traits. Whether it’s Jimmy Reliford who draws comparisons to the infamous “JR Ewing” by being the big land owner or the plain-speaking Jed Clampet-esque Travis Coomer, French describes them as “the salt of the earth.”
As for Brent “Mad Dog” Yates and the father-son duo the Pages? Well, we’ll let you form your own descriptions for them - and we can't wait to hear what you think.
Before we let French Horwitz get back to business on Backyard Oil we had to ask him one more question – the one you are probably asking as well. Do these guys get that they are the modern day Beverly Hillbillies? According to French, they do. As he puts it:
“They’re the ones laughing the hardest. The joke isn’t on them, it’s on us. Sure, we may get a kick out of their hillbilly quirkiness, but they’ve been able to make a mint and do it in their own home town and their own terms. They’re laughing all the way to the bank.”
What’s not to love about that?