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Appleton shines beyond reputation on Discovery Channel program

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Some of us get a little irked when others start a discussion about Appleton with its love for the drink.

If you don’t live here, you don’t get to joke about it.

On Wednesday night, it was part of the premise. And our hometown came out looking pretty good in the lighthearted cable television documentary program.

Discovery Channel introduced the world to Appleton on Wednesday night in the premiere episode of its new series, “Small Town Throwdown.” 

Hosted by comedian Mo Mandel, the show’s premise is to reveal the truth behind U.S. cities with bad reputations. It’s a chance for each town in Mandel’s path to defend itself. 

If you’re not familiar with how we’re viewed, put down your beer, hold onto your stool and listen up. 

So yeah, we’ve been ranked as America’s drunkest city a few times. Given the number of watering holes dotting the landscape, I suppose we resemble that remark. But we’re more that!

And that’s the point.

Many of our downtown establishments caught some screen time during explanation of our reputation. And, well, so did Scooter G’s, which is certainly Appleton’s most tavern-looking sports shop.

Of course, Mo met the locals at world famous Cleo’s.

“I’m having my office hours here,” recently departed Mayor Tim Hanna said.

The host went ice fishing and took a first snowmobile ride. He procrastinated some before finally taking a polar plunge near the Appleton Yacht Club.

“Hypothermia,” he said. “Fun for the whole family.”

Residents, meanwhile, talked of friendships, the safety we enjoy and the importance we place in family.

“If these people are drunks,” Mandel said, “they’re not like drunks like I’ve ever seen.”

Appleton’s exploration was the second half of the episode and followed an introduction to Lubbock, Tex., which has been called America’s most boring town. Perhaps its bias, but the second half of the program wasn’t as boring as the first.

In a pre-game interview on Expedition Unknown, Mandel shared his conclusion that Appleton’s drunken reputation flourishes from a greater ethos among its citizenry.

“People in Appleton, no matter what they do, take it to 11,” he said.

Appleton’s segment was filmed in January.

Beyond the show, Mandel brings his experiences to light through community profile columns published in USA Today. To read his thoughts on Appleton, click here.

If you didn’t catch it and you’re settling in after a bender this weekend, the episode will air again at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Otherwise, you know … check your on-demand options.

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