Doomsday Preppers: Jeff Flaningam

The episode wraps up with a too-long look at Jeff Flaningam, the series’ third—and least interesting—missile-silo prepper. There’s really not much to say about this one either, because the producers seem to be majorly banking on ratings-friendly Awkward Drama in this segment.
jeff flaningamLike seemingly everybody this season, Jeff fears an economic collapse. Yeah, so what else is new?
It seems three years ago, Jeff bought another one of these Atlas missile silos buried beneath the plains of Kansas, and has been ever-so-slowly renovating it into a livable bunker. Of course, he’s from Wisconsin (800 miles away), so he’s only able to make it down to the silo a few times a year, so there doesn’t seem to have been much progress.
We get to see Jeff and a few of his buds waste some propane, while they show off their ‘flamethrower booby trap’ (Derek Price did the same thing a few weeks ago; it’s a weed-burner); meh.
Regardless, Jeff is lonely, and wants a partner to prep with him and help fix up the silo, apparently, to ‘flip’ it. And so, we come to the meat of this segment. He sets up a profile on a ‘nationally-known dating website’ (it’s, and proceeds to go on dates with prospective would-be ladypreppers. We then get to see bits of three different meet-ups.
The first one, Stephanie, is quite conventionally attractive, girly, and generally unthinkingly optimistic about the world (her type abound on Match).
The second, Laura, I would describe as a sort of ‘down home girl’ (and I mean that in the best way possible), who seems to have many practical skills that a prepper like Jeff would appreciate.
The third, Serle, is a former member of the Navy (and we know how much preppers seem to like military experience).

Now, I’m not the type to knock another guy’s approach to dating…but…Jeff approaches these women like a manager interviewing potential employees. C’mon, dude; if you’re going to define yourself by your prepping, at least let it wait until the second date.
Anyway, of the three women above, which do you think would make for the worst prepping partner, and therefore would also make for the most opportunities for awkward reality television when Jeff shows her around his own personal horror movie set missile silo bunker? If you said Stephanie, congratulations, you think like a TV producer!

So, Stephanie meets Jeff at his front gate, where he proceeds to put a blindfold on her and drive her to his silo. Personally, if I were this girl, I’d have my pepper spray out and ready to go. You don’t just meet a girl in the middle of nowhere, blindfold her, and then take her for a visit to the creepiest place imaginable without raising some red flags.
Anyway, Jeff shows her around the place, which sure doesn’t look like it’s had three years’ worth of improvements made to it. In fact, it looks like it’s straight off the federal auction block 50 years ago.
Eventually they make it down to the heart of the silo, where Jeff reveals his biggest prep: 1,400,000 gallons of water! Well, that’s impressive, until it turns out retrieving any requires one to rappel down several stories with an empty Gatorade bottle. Seriously, a bucket on a rope would be easier. Of course, the poor girl isn’t going to drop down a giant concrete tube for a measly sip of water of unknown quality, so I guess she belays him while he brings some up. Then he runs it through a homemade charcoal/sand/gravel water-filter-thingy, giving us yet another instance of preppers awkwardly toasting and drinking weird things.

In the end, because—aside from owning a dilapidated missile silo and a whole lotta (albeit hard-to-retrieve) water—Jeff has no stored food or weapons or anything, the experts give him 56 points, for 2 months, and in his update he tells us he has installed his new hydraulic front entrance. So, yay!, no more having to weld the door shut each time he leaves!


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