You know that mustard and salami sandwich you enjoyed so much for lunch? How about high speed internet? Trail Mix? The carpool lane? Cupcake shops? Digital billboards? Cup o’ Chili? The soft cast? You like all those things? Well, you probably don’t know that you have “Iron” Mike Tyson to thank for all of it.
“Taking on Tyson”, Animal Planet’s new reality series following former man pummeler Mike Tyson, introduces us to the very real, very have been happening before now world of inner city pigeon racing. You see, Mike Tyson loves pigeons, and now that he no longer has the bestial hunger to pound another living human being to within an inch of their life, he has turned his life long love affair with the airborne urban rodent, the pigeon into an interest in “professional” pigeon racing.
Never heard of pigeon racing before, let alone the 6 month long pigeon racing SEASON that Mike will be participating in during the run of this surreal fever dream that is “Taking on Tyson”? Well don’t worry, that’s just because it didn’t exist until Mike Tyson decided he wanted to do it. Sure, the show goes on in great detail to set up this secret underground world of New York roof top pigeon racing, but that’s just because they don’t want Mike Tyson to punch them in the face. Not wanting to be punched in the face by Mike Tyson is the reason why most things in the world today exist. Mike Tyson is one of the biggest drivers of American innovation and invention in the world.
Vulcanized rubber. The second hand. Pizza flavored Combos. Thrift stores. The list of things that science, technology and nature has had to create because at some point Mike Tyson thought it would be sweet is staggering. Fingerless gloves. Space bags. Fish. You heard me, fish. Do you remember fish before Mike Tyson? You think you do, because much like this show, the back story of fish had to be retroactively created and inserted into public consciousness immediately after Mike had the simple fleeting thought of “Wouldn’t it be sweet if like, there were pigeons in the water?” Fish.
“I wanna be world champion. I want my pigeons to be world champion.”
When not creating the very thing he’s now dedicated his life to, Mike is very philosophical about the roughness of his childhood and how he relates training his pigeons to training as a fighter. Mike Tyson is very all or nothing all the time. There is no middle speed on a Mike Tyson. I plan on tuning in to this show in the future just to see Mike’s birds zipping through the sky in silk shorts, punching the shit out of competing racing birds.
Are there flaws in this show? No Mr. Tyson, there absolutely are not. It’s the pinnacle of the medium. In fact, I’m pretty sure television was invented late Sunday afternoon simply for the purpose of airing this program. Of course a few particularly, great, things do stand out as one struggles through this seemingly endless hour of telling me how incredible pigeons are against the backdrop of more slow motion bird footage than a John Woo porn shoot.
For one, the show clearly realizes that since you’re watching a show about Mike Tyson racing birds, you must also be a lunatic, so it recaps the entire premise of the series after every break.
Science has proven that anything can happen, whether it should or not, all that it needs is a little prompting and a lot of motivation. And just know that more than the needs of the masses or the necessity of the thing, the main driving force for the scientific community at large is the constant fear of being viciously and repeatedly punched in and about the head and neck area by the former five time heavyweight champion of the world: “Iron” Mike Tyson.
Oh, and escalators, that was his too.