Look, it’s Adam Driver from HBO’s “Girls,” only instead of hanging out in Brooklyn, he’s in the Yukon, steering a boat across a vast body of water framed by snow-capped mountains and saying things like, “You can’t tell me to take it or leave it and then tell me to take it or leave it again.”
But he’s not talking to Lena Dunham. Because it’s actually not Driver but a doppelganger: 20-year-old Parker Schnabel, who has the same rangy frame, high cheekbones and squinty eyes. He’s one of the real-life miners in “Gold Rush,” the Discovery Channel hit back at 9 p.m. Friday for Season 6.
Last season, 5.52 million viewers tuned in each week, making “Rush” the channel’s top show. And 4.2 million were men — the biggest male audience for any Friday night program, cable or network. The series is a global smash, too, from England to Scandinavia to Japan.
The rugged scenery, rumbling machines and cool nuggets of geology are part of the appeal. (Did you know streams erode gold from deep faults within mountains and send it tumbling down? Me neither!) But the heart of the show is the all-too-human miners. Schnabel’s team dug up $3 million in gold last season, but foreman Gene Cheeseman quit due to his young boss’s disregard. As Schnabel puts it, “Communication is neither Gene nor I’s strongest suit.” Now the kid must try to make it without him.
Then there’s the multigenerational Hoffman team. Middle-aged Todd and his dad have “Duck Dynasty” beards. Sixteen-year-old Tyler could be a teen idol. Todd roared back from near bankruptcy last season and is dreaming big … maybe too big?
The show may inspire viewers to pan for gold. Is it possible here in D.C.? I asked executive producer Christo Doyle, who grew up in town and now lives in Chevy Chase, Md.
“There’s gold in Virginia,” he says. “They say if you pan right near National Airport, where some of the tributaries dump into the Potomac, there’s gold.”
He pauses, and sounding like a character on the show, adds, “I don’t know if I believe that nor would I want to pan in the Potomac River.”
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