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Rick And Todd Comparisons Don't Sit Well With Gold Rush Fans

One of the biggest draws to reality TV shows is the recognition that the audience is watching the lives and personal drama of real people unfold. This idea is no different in "Gold Rush," the long-running Discovery show that has chronicled the plights of various small mining companies as they search for gold. With many of these operations extending across consecutive seasons, fans have gotten to know some faces better than others. Todd Hoffman, who was the original miner that inspired the creation of "Gold Rush," headlined the show for its first eight seasons. In that time, audiences developed some mixed opinions on how Todd and his crew managed (or mismanaged) their mining operation.

Todd and his family have since departed from the show, leaving other miners to occupy the spotlight. Rick Ness, a miner who assisted with other cast members' mining operations since the show's second season before embarking on his very own gold hunt starting in the ninth season, is currently one of the primary faces. Some fans have been arguing that Rick's methods are reminiscent of Todd's, but others don't think the comparisons are fair.

Todd made a lot of mistakes

Todd's legacy on the show is rather muddled in the eyes of fans. The miner had a tendency to set goals for his crew that were so ambitious that they bordered on completely unrealistic, and the group rarely succeeded at the level that the leader was hoping for. Even Todd's own coworkers have acknowledged his unique approach to his mining operation. As explained by "Gold Rush" star Dave Turin in a 2016 interview with Channel Guide Magazine discussing the show's seventh season, "Todd set the lofty goal that was something that I thought he was nuts [...]."

Perhaps the most egregious incident involving Todd's crew was in Season 4, when the miners searched for gold in South America. Their attempt went very poorly, with the group recovering a mere two ounces of gold, while Todd himself faced backlash for putting his workers at risk and not involving himself as much in the grit of the effort.

"Todd's a dreamer, right?" said "Gold Rush" star Freddy Dodge in an interview with Monsters and Critics. "Todd's not the guy that's going to get his hands dirty on a daily basis."

That example isn't the only time that Todd experienced a relative failure, however. One devoted fan made a YouTube video calculating and estimating Todd and his group's profits throughout each season. Their analysis suggested that Todd lost a rough average of $915 per each ounce of gold recovered on the show.

Rick has had some blunders too

Todd isn't the only miner on "Gold Rush" who has made mistakes. Though Rick was a reliable resource of assistance for longtime show star Parker Schnabel's operation, he also has stumbled in his duties at times. Back in Season 8, Rick got into hot water with Parker when he spent $50,000 of his boss's budget without consulting him in order to hire four additional workers for their operation at a dig site in the Panama Canal. Shortly after, Rick left Parker to start his own mining operation.

"I think that there definitely was some animosity between us and I say that there may even still be," Rick said in a 2020 interview with Monsters and Critics

Fans have also criticized the miner since he's taken the lead on his own operation, with one user on Reddit describing him as "unprepared." That said, in an exclusive interview with Looper, Rick said, "You can come up with the best plan you want, but the fact of the matter is that it is not going to work out the way you plan it in any way, shape, or form, and if you're not ready to pivot and go the way that it's, you know, that you need to go when it has to happen, then you're done for."

It's clear that both Todd and Rick have made mistakes. But with all of this information in mind, is it really fair to perfectly equate them to each other?

Rick's defenders disagree with the comparison

Some fans are pushing back on the idea that Rick is the new Todd. On a post on the r/goldrush subreddit, Reddit user u/mapppa argued that Rick had many differences to Todd in terms of his approach. The fan listed several reasons, including Rick's intimate experience running a successful operation, his penchant for frugality wherever possible, and his willingness to listen to advice and visibly learn from mistakes. "I'm not a huge Rick fan by any means," the user said in the post. "I have nothing against the guy and wish him the best. But to be a new Todd, you have to bring a lot more to the table than unpreparedness."

Other fans agreed with the assessment, with some arguing that Rick had far more of a proactive nature when it came to dealing with unforeseen obstacles. "When anything goes wrong Rick goes to help," user u/raybone12 commented. "Todd would show up complain and leave."

Wherever fans' opinions fall on Rick and Todd, it's clear that many believe the two have forged their own unique paths. As Rick continues to be a leading force on "Gold Rush," only time will tell how his overall legacy as a gold miner pans out. As for Todd, he recently returned to the world of gold mining in his new series "Hoffman Family Gold."

"I think this time I have a better perspective," Todd said in an interview with Monsters and Critics. He addedm "We make better moves. Better decisions."