Anti-War Opinionizing Not "Exterminated" in TV Reviews

Neil Genzlinger finds an anti-war message in a reality show about pest control.

Catch-all culture critic Neil Genzlinger watched the new A&E reality show "The Exterminators," which airs Wednesday night and follows the trials and tribulations of pest control specialist Billy Bretherton on his rounds in Benton, Louisiana. But Genzlinger couldn't help but reach for a larger anti-war point:

Watching Mr. Bretherton get rid of snakes, bats, raccoons and other interlopers is both fun and enlightening; he dispenses interesting factoids about the various species as he works. And despite the skull in Vexcon's logo, Mr. Bretherton proves to be an exterminator with a heart. He is more interested in relocating the animals than in killing them.

It's a stretch, maybe, but this black-clad exterminator has an outlook that could solve far bigger problems than pest infestation.

"You can't go kill things that you're afraid of and that you don't understand," he says. He's talking about a six-foot snake he removed from that besieged couple's house, which he will shortly release on a riverbank. But it's good advice in other contexts too. Too bad the new president has already filled the job of United Nations ambassador.

Yes, it is a stretch.

Genzlinger demonstrated a disturbing ambiguity in his June 2007 review of "Hot House," a documentary of Palestinian female suicide bomber Ahlam Tamimi.