Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Yes, I Watched ...

I'm not proud, so don't hate.  Maybe I'm just lost without my Pretty Little Liars in the 8 p.m. time slot on Tuesdays.  Whatever the reason, I watched this new ABC reality/game show series featuring *ahem* celebrities who have been training for six weeks to perform high dives on national, prime time television.  Yes, FOX did this a few months ago with Stars in Danger: The High Dive.  Hey, at least ABC has named their spectacle better.

I don't know why diving has become the new fascination by those trying to find the next Dancing With the Stars (remember Skating With the Stars? Yeah, didn't think so.)  Anyway, last week's premiere featured the first five of ten contestants - including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Drake Bell (Drake & Josh), Nicole Eggert (Baywatch), Keisha Knight-Pulliam (The Cosby Show), Chuy Bravo (Chelsea Lately), Ndammukong Suh (football player), Kendra Wilkinson (Bad Girls Club), Louis Anderson and more - *cough* performing one dive.  Yep, ONE dive (unless they end up in the final "dive off," where two of the five do a second dive to see who moves on.

ABC's description is MUCH more dramatic:

Splash marks the first time 10 celebrities will train and compete in regulation platform and springboard diving at dizzying heights in front of a weekly poolside audience. Each week the celebrities will look fear in the face as they leap off the 10-meter high dive, pair off to complete synchronized stunts, and flip, twist and spin into the depths of the pool below. Leading up to the competition, the world's most decorated and medaled diving legend, Greg Louganis, will give each celebrity weeks of training. 

Hosted by Joey Lawrence (Blossom) and Charissa Thompson (who?) and judged by London Olympic U.S. Gold medalist David Boudia and Australian Olympic athlete and USA Dive Team director Steve Foley, this show is clearly not about the quality of the dives, but about the personal *giggle* struggles each contestant has been facing during their training:  fear of heights (Wilkinson), scrutiny by the public about weight (Eggert), taking on something so physically challenging at a later age (Jabbar is 66).  There have been injuries (Bravo actually never got to dive on the live show ... he was replaced by alternate Brandi Chastain (soccer) and OMG moments (Anderson, at over 400 pounds, couldn;t get out of the training pool without the help of four of the others).

This is one of those I-can't-believe-I'm-actually-watching-this-but here-I-am-actually-watching-this shows.  I guess, like the way you listen to Howard Stern to see what he'll say next, I want to see what will happen next.  Emotions are high, tears are shed, gasps are often, but it's good eye-roll fodder.  And it actually has some really cool filler segments, like some 30-odd professional divers going off the high platform in crazy-rapid succession and stunning synchronized swimming.  They have cameras just about everywhere capturing all the action from every angle above and below the water, which is kinda cool, too.

Look, shows are starting to end their seasons and soon shows like this are going to fill the viewing landscape.  It's mildly amusing, a true spectacle that screams to be watched.  And hey, it's my job as your Guide, right?

Bottom Line:  Oh, go ahead ... dive in.  You know you want to ...

Splash! airs on ABC Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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