The great thing about watching Planet Earth is that you, an adult, are secretly learning things without the stunning difficulty of actually trying to learn something. The bad thing about watching Planet Earth is that you, extremely stoned, don't retain any of it. Well, good news, blurry face. I've watched every single episode of the BBC’s Planet Earth II, which concluded this past weekend, and I can tell you one thing I did permanently grasp: Some animals are good, and some animals are bad.
Now, you may be thinking, Isn't the whole thing that life is about shades of gray — that nobody is inherently good, and nobody is inherently bad? I accept this notion as it applies to humans, for wholly self-serving reasons. However, I now abhor it as it applies to animals. To be clear, I am not just implying, but outright stating that it is possible to place judgment on the entire food chain.
But how do you know which animals you should root for, and which ones you should watch die horribly and think, Yay? Well, again, that's what I learned from Planet Earth II, and now I'll share it with you ... for free.
Sir David Attenborough: Good. Big blue coat that matches his big blue hot-air balloon. Exciting accent.
Sloth: Incredibly Good. Does not cut its nails. Bad at sex with other sloths. Thirsty. Relatable.
Komodo dragon: Holy shit, So Bad. Drools interminably. Blood in teeth. Does not look like the good kind of dragon. I hate this dragon.
Lemur: Bad. Too small but also too big. Too humanlike but also not.
Seagoing iguana: Very Bad. Spiky-headed, swims too fast, more than 7,000 sitting on top of each other on this one island, silent and unmoving. If it touched me I would die of shock.
Crab: Great. Clomps around unself-consciously. Exfoliates its friends. Owns a whole island despite having no credit. Delicious.
Other, multitudinous iguanas: I think I have made my iguana sentiments clear.
Albatross: Literally Good, Metaphorically Bad. English majors have ruined the albatross, by no fault of its own.
Penguin: A Perfect Animal. Nervous, possessive. Quick to anger. Fat.
Nubian ibex: Very Good. Possibly deranged, but in a good way, like an action heroine played by Charlize Theron. Breast-feeds kids on the edge of a cliff.
Golden eagle: Good. Can kill something from 3 kilometers away. Extremely zoomy.
Crow: Bad. Bites other birds in the butt. Signifies doom in literature.
Avalanche: Good, despite killing people. Pronounced ah-va-lansh. Weighs 9 milli but still confident!
Grizzly bear: Controversial; death machines for humans. But Mostly Good. Babies are cute as fuck and love to dawdle. Puts on 140 kilos per summer on purpose.
Bobcat: Good. Falls face first into snow when depressed, as if attempting irony.
Goldeneye duck: Bad. Travels in packs and laughs bitchily at others. Co-opting James Bond without copyright.
Rabbit: Amazing. Goes without saying. Very symbolic. If you have to ask, you don't get rabbits.
Flamingo: Incredibly Good. Travels in massive packs looking dignified and rude. Haughty. Insane.
Snow leopard: Perfect. Petty, savage. Pees aggressively on rocks.
Indri: What? I don't know what this is. This looks way too human-y for me. Uncannily Bad.
Paradise: Confusingly, Bad. Crowded.
Draco lizard: Pretty Bad. Very jumpy. Weirdly competitive about trees. Has a chin that turns into a violent flag. Secretly flies. Secretly flying animals are not Good.
Sword-billed hummingbird: Really Great. Very attractive (to birds). Unique. Kooky. The early-years Zooey Deschanel of birds.
River dolphin: Yes, a river dolphin. Good. Surprising. How often are we surprised anymore, really? When was the last time you felt genuine shock? Do you feel alive?
Capybara: Horrifying. The biggest rodent in the world. What the fuck. What the fuck?
Jaguar: Great. Not a cheetah, but it's OK. Contrary to popular snacks, cheetahs aren't orange. Tigers are orange. "Tigos" makes way more sense as an orange snack puff. But we mustn't punish cheetahs for this. Or jaguars, for not being cheetahs.
Fungi: Impressively Good. Has free will. Glows psychotically. Uses "fruits" as a verb.
Railroad worm: Bad. A normal worm, but smart. A smart worm has never done anything good.
Lion: Extremely Good. Matches the desert. Fails a lot. Relatable.
Giraffe: So Good. Elegant. Yet kicks things in the head. Yet very coy.
Hawk: Honestly, Bad. Has bad nails. Jogs, weirdly.
Snake: HAHAHA of course snakes are Bad.
Butcher-bird: Terrifyingly Bad. Literal serial murderer that uses cacti as butcher hooks. However, probably aspirational to other birds.
Locust: N/A, could not watch this horror movie come to life and sewn into a pair of wings.
Zebra: Unequivocally Great. Pronounced zeh-brah. Mysterious. Looks fake in the best way. What the fuck are zebras?? Who can know.
Bat: Extremely Bad, omg. Satan's pet. A literal flying rodent. Why?
Giant beetle: Bad. Wow, so bad.
Mustang: Good, Possibly The Best. Early-aughts Pete Wentz hair, but somehow it works. Most attractive. Sexually confusing. Help.
The Sun: Bad. Relentlessly Bad. Kills everyone.
Saiga antelope: Fabulous. Like Bambi, but less whiny. Has a crazy-looking nose that detects fresh things from hundreds of meters away. Understands the metric system.
Lion: Objectively Wonderful. Similarly sexually confusing à la the mustang. Blame Lion King? But what to blame re: mustang? Check with therapist.
Buffalo: Monstrously Bad. Does not let lion eat it.
Some kind of talented rat that I fast-forwarded through: AHHHHHHH!
Carmine bee-eater: Good. Eats bees.
African bull elephant: Very, Very Good. Could crush the talented rat very easily. Cuts a striking figure.
Serval cat: Bad. Cats know too much in general; this cat knows even more thanks to its enormous radar ears. Moves in short and unpredictable bursts. Jesus.
More birds trying to fuck: I've had enough birds now, thanks.
Langur monkey: Terrible. Mostly bachelors. Imitating Aladdin, a defunct cultural icon, by stealing bread from carts and running amok all over the desert city.
City leopard: Good. Aspirational stalking capabilities. Very sneaky and does not fuck around.
Pigeon: Bad. "The most successful urban bird," says David Attenborough, which is rude.
Starling: Wow, Very Bad. These guys poop everywhere.
Sex and the City joke made by David Attenborough: Just OK.
Raccoon: So Bad. Opportunists, desperate.
Hyena: Confusing, But Ultimately Good. Screams crazily, butt is not to scale. Appreciates a good rack of ribs.
Catfish: Brand synergy dictates that I deem catfish Very Bad.
Electricity: Bad. Massacres turtles.
Humans: Extremely, Extremely Bad. A scourge. Starving bears. Shrinking mountains. Drying out the deserts. Ravaging the grasslands. Destroying the jungles. Ruining the light balance so dumb turtles go the wrong way and get killed by cars.
Turtles: Good. But dumb.