JUNGLETOWN Gives Us a Taste of Paradise

There’s such an avalanche of shows to watch that it’s overwhelming to make a choice. I’m going to help you cut through the clutter. You’ve got to see JUNGLETOWN the new docuseries on VICELAND​ which airs Tuesday nights at 10 pm.

The NY Times called it “mesmerizing.” The Hollywood Reporter said, “It’s a reality show for people too cool to watch a reality show.” And Sling TV went even farther, concluding “It might be the most fascinating thing to watch on television.”

Why all the hyperbole? I’ve seen JUNGLETOWN and I was hooked from the very first episode. Award-winning documentary filmmaker, Ondi Timoner, has brought to the screen a compelling story of the real-life struggle to create a new world called Kalu Yala in the rainforest of Panama. Founder, Jimmy Stice, recruited the young and idealistic “interns” – mostly young college grads from the U.S. – who are trying to tap into their own dreams of a new life that will give them new hope for the future. A lot of them left privileged lives behind without giving a thought to the risk.

Sounds a little cliché doesn’t it? Not when Timoner puts you in the middle of a battle as these kids try to build a commune, fight the jungle, fight among themselves and, ultimately, grapple with whether it’s worth it to stay. It’s a wild ride. You’ll burst out laughing, you’ll cry and scream, sometimes you’ll want to look away, but you’ll keep coming back for more. And you’ll root for them to make it. I don’t know why. Maybe because in these tough times, these Trumpian times, we are all longing for a little slice of utopia ourselves.

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