August 25, 2008 08:33 PM by Lisa Stauber
America’s Toughest Jobs premieres tonight on NBC. The producers of Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Catch have chosen the most difficult, dirty jobs in the world nad made competition. “What if you had the chance to change your job,” host Josh Temple asks. “Would you take it?” Thirteen competitors will take their chances doing the hardest work around.
The very first job is crab fishing on the Bering Sea, in the Arctic circle. There’s lots of heavy lifting and grunt work, in 20 degree temperatures, while sloshing on frigid waters. It’s the deadliest job on earth, with a nearly 100% injury rate. Michaela, age 23, is kicking butt and taking names. Her captain is impressed, so far. Ben, age 28, isn’t nervous. After two days at sea, the worst 4 will have to do it all again, and the worst worker will then have to go home.
Sandy, a schoolteacher, is gearing up. “It’s like going to the moon!” she says of the bulky boots. The captain of one of the boats makes his workers bite the heads off of frozen fish. Amy, age 40, claims she’s allergic and eating it will put her into anaphylactic shock. She also says she’d rather eat a mouse than bite the head off a herring!
The first real activity is chopping 40 lb. blocks of fish into bait. Amy’s finding the heavy lifting difficult. Now they have to gut pounds and pounds of cod, in order to bait 30 traps. After 4 hours, the crew starts puking, and the deck boss hands them a bait jar. Yes, they’ll use vomit to catch some crab!
Sandy’s seasick, too. She’s gone to the rail four times and her captains getting a little worried. She has to wash dishes, too, because that’s the rule! Amy, a Wall Street executive, is the galley cook, but she’s never touched a stove before. Michaela, however, is going strong!
Rick, a software executive, isn’t fazed by the waves, either. They’ve been on the job 12 hours, and it’s time to get the crab pots into the water. Amy knocks Eric on the head with a buoy – he’s lucky he didn’t get caught in the rope and get dragged underwater to his death!
Sandy’s found a second wind and is baiting the pots. “Definitely the biggest improvement from yesterday,” her deck boss says. “Very few people make it on the Bering Sea,” Captain Tony says. “We need to go much faster!” Johnny, a deckhand, thinks Michaela is the best competitor. 15 hours in, and half the pots have been heaved overboard.
Eric, a 53 year old sculptor, is staying busy, but he’s not actually accomplishing much. Sandy throws a line and entangles Ben, almost causing him to be pulled over. It’s time to bring the pots up and harvest the crab. Senta can’t hook the line, and Michaela takes over. She gets it on the first try and encourages the crew. She’s a natural.
Ben tries hard and finally hooks it in. Unfortunately, the first pot is almost empty. Steven is slow, and stands back. “Steven doesn’t hustle,” Michaela says. 22 hours have gone by, and the catch is scanty. Sandy does know how to hustle and pushes right up until the end. Now, the captains must select the bottom four for another round on the sea.
The captains vote Michaela and Sandy as the best crewmembers. Tony thinks college student Steven and secretary Senta were the slackers, and Captain Kiwi John chooses Amy and Eric.
Amy starts the elimination time by breaking the rules and sitting on top of the pots. It’s dangerous and the Captain calls her on it right away. “I’ve never worked so hard!” Steven says, but he’s finally trying hard. Senta isn’t very strong, and it’s been holding her back. She says “I can’t”, a lot. “I don’t want to hear ‘I can’t’ come out of your mouth again,” Captain says. “Can’t doesn’t work out here.”
Eric, the oldest competitor, is exhausted. He climbs on top of the pot, too. He’s really suffering from lack of sleep. “Eric still seems a little confused to me,” Captain Kiwi says. Steven, however, has redeemed himself by throwing the hook accurately. Amy manages to snag the line after five tries, but stands in the wrong place and almost gets badly hurt.
Eric can’t tell the different types of crab apart, and throws the wrong species in which means big fines for the captain. Senta’s working, but she just can’t handle it. Amy is still trucking, giving it her all, and Steven turns out to be a real worker.
The grand prize for America’s Toughest Job is the combined salaries for all of the jobs. It’s time to eliminate one crewmember, and the captains chose Senta. “I’m sorry, you weren’t tough enough,” Josh tells her.
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Photos courtesy NBC.