Splash is not quite the big, wet belly-flop everyone expected
I don’t know how you feel, but the debut of ABC’s ‘Splash’ is a welcome and entertaining change of pace. It’s all in good fun … with a little humility thrown in for good measure.
A few years ago I started watching and (much to the chagrin of some of my fellow colleagues) reviewing Skating With The Stars. And, despite the expected “Is this what reality television has come to?” comments, I had a blast and a half watching it. It was one part circus, one part mayhem, one part comedy, three parts dippy judges with the final part a fumbling host, the fantastical Vernon Kay. (Not so coincidentally, Vern hosted a UK version of the show earlier this year on ITV in the U.K. I’m a bit heartbroken he’s not talking up the domestic version. But my worries are for naught — I have the “I-didn’t-even-know-he-was-still-around” Joey Lawrence to entertain me.)
Now, granted … a lot of reality series have come and gone since SWTS. Many (thankfully) were short lived. And truth be told I think Splash is destined to become one of them.
But for what it was worth, I decided to tune in and catch the soaking it made on the small screen … before it becomes a distant memory.
The players in the game? Los Angeles Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (!), Emmy-winning comedian and Life With Louie creator Louie Anderson (!), Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh star Drake Bell, Chelsea Lately talk show sidekick Chuy Bravo (!), extreme skier Rory Bushfield, Baywatch star Nicole Eggert, an all-grown-up Rudy Huxtable from The Cosby Show, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, 2012′s Miss Alabama, Katherine Webb, and Kendra On Top star Kendra Wilkinson.
Do I know half these people? No, I do not. But before you go mouthing off about some of the “C” list celebrities on the roster, hear me out: Who gives a rat’s ass? Some will prove to be part of the overall fun of the show. And come on! Kareem! Louie! Chuy! Ode to joy!
There’s no doubt this is nothing more than throw away frolickry for a Tuesday night. And that was proven rather quickly with the first five folks who stepped onto the diving platforms: Keshia, Louis, Katherine, Rory and Kareem. (The remaining five will let gravity have its way with them next episode. Stay tuned.)
A few things that kept me grounded while this premiere glowed out my television set: Could two more seemingly awkward celebrities than Louie and Kareem be cast on a show like this? Probably. But off the top of my head, I can’t think of any. And besides, I’m here to watch those who are taking the plunge for my dining and dancing pleasure … not to speculate on the coulda/shoulda/woulda aspect of who would have been a better fit.
Come on: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Louie Anderson are spectacle enough, don’t you think? To ponder anyone else would be doing them a grave disservice. As far as I’m concerned, at Louie’s weight (417 pounds) and Kareem’s age (65) both dudes have cojones to sport diving gear and get wet. So right now? I’m tipping my hat to the both them … spectacle or otherwise.
And you know what? Both men took to their dives with heart and humility and as much grace as they could muster under the given circumstances. It may have been comical, it may have looked painful, some may have rolled their eyes while watching them, but the fact of the matter is we were simply viewing while they were actively committing. And that’s really saying something in my book.
The dives of Keshia, Katherine and Rory? Expectedly flat and colorless for the most part except for Rory’s. The dude’s got hyperactive snow skiing skills so you figured he’d showboat … and he did. To pretty good effect, too, going into his initial dive. Top score of the evening, matter of fact. (Though let’s be fair: The scoring on the show is subject to wide interpretation and even greater whim.)
In the end, it was Keshia who got the short end of the stick and got voted off on the first night, despite performing a better and more technical dive than Louie who is quite obviously the sympathetic favorite. And that only goes to prove the show is for spectacle and entertainment value, such that it is.
But you know what? Quite frankly I’m sick of and fed up with all the Steubenville / Obama as Satan / Lindsey Lohan / Samsung Galaxy S4 / Pope Francis / healthy pizza recipe stories of late making their way into my inbox and onto my internet feeds. Aren’t you? I mean, a guy can only take so much.
Instead, I prefer to be entertained. “Live and let dive” Splash’s bi-line claims … and I’m good with that.
Side Note: Can someone in props please pilfer a suit that actually fits Joey prior to the next broadcast? One he doesn’t look like he’s about ready to “Hulk out” in? Thank you.