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October 30, 2014

I'd Never Heard Of 'Billy The Exterminator,' and Then I Watched It

by Don Reisinger, posted Jul 12th 2010 5:00PM
Billy the ExterminatorI rarely watch A&E. For the most part, the channel doesn't offer the kind of programming I like. I used to be a fan of 'Dog the Bounty Hunter,' one of A&E's most prominent shows, but after watching the same basic storyline every week, it became old and I moved on.

Recently, I decided to give A&E another try. I did so with a show about a Louisiana-based exterminator that wears the most outrageous clothes, says the most outrageous things, and performs some of the most outrageous tasks I've ever seen on television.

His name is Billy Bretherton. And his show, 'Billy the Exterminator,' has become my newest obsession on Wednesday nights.

Understanding 'Billy the Exterminator,' which saw its second season premiere to record numbers in March (2.1 million viewers), requires understanding Billy. Like 'Dog the Bounty Hunter,' Bretherton is an interesting personality. He has a spiked, blond mullet, finishes off his look with a strangely placed goatee, and has brought "gnarly" back to television. He might seem odd, but he's the man people call when they have the worst pest issues.

Billy is supported by his family, including brother Ricky, his father Bill, and his mother Donnie. Together they help Bretherton run his business, Vexcon.

And although Billy gets top billing for his show, it might be more appropriate to include him as part of the supporting cast. The real stars of 'Billy the Exterminator' are the beasts Billy battles each week.

And believe me, those battles are worth watching.



This past Wednesday night, for example, Billy was asked to find out where a horrible smell was coming from in a woman's home. After some digging under the house, Billy found the culprit: a 20- to 30-pound possum that found its way under the woman's house and promptly died. It was rotting for seven days in the Louisiana heat, stinking up her home, before Billy came in and fixed the problem.

But that's not all Billy does. Sometimes, he's asked to come in and take care of a mice infestation that has wreaked havoc on a home. Other times, he needs to get rid of baby alligators or find out where snakes are hiding around a farm. Billy has even battled a bobcat that was preying on a woman's livestock. After setting a trap, he was able to relocate the killer cat before it could do any more damage.

What the viewer quickly learns about 'Billy the Exterminator' is that Billy is ready and willing to take on any job. And he usually does it to completion with the kind of success, and ironically, humane treatment of animals, that has undoubtedly made him a celebrity in his hometown.

That kind of success could also make him a long-term winner for A&E. His battles with pests are far more entertaining than criminal-catching on 'Dog the Bounty Hunter," and twice as exhilarating.

Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't issues with 'Billy the Exterminator.' As Billy battles a pest, the show keeps snapping back to post-fight interviews with the exterminator. In those moments, the viewer is not only taken out of the moment, but will quickly become annoyed by the inflection in Billy's voice. He seems to be trying too hard to deliver excitement, and in doing so, comes off as robot-like and scripted.

And although it might only annoy me, Billy's use of "gnarly, dude" every few minutes gets old. I can handle a couple, but too many "gnarlies" and I'm ready to press "mute."

I should also note that Ricky's family lacks entertainment value. In most episodes, they come off rather boring.

Those issues aside, 'Billy the Exterminator' delivers an action-packed 30 minutes that will at some points, gross you out, and other points, make you laugh. If you can get past the sometimes-corny nature of the show, you'll find a thrill ride worth watching every Wednesday night.


Are you a fan of 'Billy the Exterminator,' or will you give it a shot?

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Lesa

Billy seems to be a super nice guy. His compassion for animals really shows. Absolutely LOVE his personality. Seems very genuine. Would date him in a heartbeat if he were single. Talk about an entertaining evening! There's a reason he was chosen from hundreds of others for the reality show. Makes a boat load of money for those who poke fun. I am from rural east Tennessee so much of what you see is 100% real I'm sure. Lots of folks living in poverty and unhealthy conditions doing the best they can in every state in the nation. Billy treats every client he meets, irregardless of their status, with respect and kindness. LOVE this guy! Thinkin to move to LA! LOL

September 28 2010 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
barbarafltn

BILLY MAKES ME LAUGH..................

August 13 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patr728

to dickn2000b: WOW - I'm impressed! A comment from someone who is not only a grammar critic, BUT I'll bet you think you can walk on water! Why don't you give it a try......it might be a rude awakening when you fall in and find out you aren't so perfect after all! Laverne obviously wrote something that really got your shorts in a knot!

August 02 2010 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kathy

If you own your business, you can dress like a rock star. Love Billy, he's seems like a great guy!

July 19 2010 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C C

Billy the Exterminator is the only reality show on tv I'll watch (That is, if you don't consider the programs on HGTV reality). Yes, Billy and his family are overdramatic, and the "commercial cliffhangers" are goofy. But as someone who has Southern roots on both sides, I know who these people are, and I'm familiar with the critters they have to put up with down there. My mom has vividly described THE BUGS in Arkansas, and she's told me how terrible water moccasins are. Colorful Southerners + vermin = a winning formula. However, despite my love for the show, I have no desire to go to Louisiana and expose myself to any gators, killer wasps, snakes, etc. I'll stay in the West with the coyotes, thank you very much.

July 17 2010 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to C C's comment
Hattie Crabtree

Have you been to New Orleans?I have been to La.and the 49 other states but haven't been to N O yet.I told the hubby I want to go someday but only in the winter time.

July 19 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JLTCancer

REV ARTHUR MARTINEZ ... you are a Reverend???? Lord help us!!!!!!

July 16 2010 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JLTCancer's comment
Hattie Crabtree

A Mexican a Rev.?,no way.Most are Catholic priests.

July 17 2010 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peggy

I Love this show and so does my 2 grandson 6 and 4 - they want to be BIlly and Ricky for halloween. I like that he isnbt stupid person a former miltary service , and college degree and he want to save he earth in his own way by not killing everything and using chemials they dont leave a bad taste on mother earth ! WAY TO GO BILLY !!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 15 2010 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gregoryde

I like watching Billy and his family's show. It kinda reminds me of my brothers and I growing up in Phoenix,AZ. That was a time when all you heard was cool, farout, knarly, f-in A!!!! The show does teach the viewer something about pests and such. I will be watchin!!!!!

July 15 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr Dave

Entertaining, yes - educational, a little. Have been drawn to this zany arrangement for several months. Louisiana has more critters per sq. inch than most places in the USA (at least before BP got into the business competing with Vexcon), so the show should run its course successfully. Put your brain on the shelf and just watch it for what it is - better than average entertainment.

July 14 2010 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr Dave

Entertaining, yes - educational, a little. Have been drawn to this zany arrangement for several months. Louisiana has more critters per sq. inch than most places in the USA (at least before BP got into the business competing with Vexcon), so the show should run its course successfully. Put your brain on the shelf and just watch it for what it is - better than average entertainment.

July 14 2010 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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