Friday, August 26, 2005

Celebrity Crap

Getting American TV in Japan used to be a pain, as you can probably guess. In the past few years it's got a lot easier, thanks to TiVo, computer capture cards, and Bit Torrent. Once I clued into this, it became almost easier to watch TV from the States than Japanese TV.

Japanese TV shows all blur together for me. There's an endless succession of comic variety shows, each with 8-25 "talents" on them underneath the main 1 or 2 hosts. I can't keep them separate, so can never remember when a particular one is on, so I can never manage to routinely watch the same show every week.

Once I got into BitTorrent and found a nice site or two for TV torrent files, I started watching a lot of American TV again. It's still a little hard to keep up with what is out there since I can't pick up by osmosis information about what shows are out there and might be worth watching. Even if you don't watch a given show, you probably have some idea about if it's a comedy or drama and maybe who's in it. Overseas, it's harder to pick up on such things, so you don't always know what to look for. "Hey James, have you seen that show Alias?" "No man, never heard of it," so you go and look and find out that whatever it is, it's been running for years now, doing quite well without you.

So a while back somehow I picked up a vibe about some show called Celebrity Poker Showdown. I had seen Rounders some years ago and heard Affleck was into poker as well, so figured it would be interesting to see this show. I downloaded a few episodes and watched and enjoyed, learning what this Texas Holdem game they were playing was in the process.

Point is, this show first clued me in to this poker thing and sparked my interest, causing me to learn how to play and watch a lot of other poker TV shows since then. But I hadn't watched Celebrity Poker Showdown since those first few eps that got me started. So last night I found that a new episode, the first from season 6, was out there so I downloaded and watched it for old times' sake.


You probably already know how awful most of these celebrities play on the show, and season 6 is no exception. But at least in previous shows, they had REAL actors, most of them in comedy shows, so you got some amusing banter to keep you entertained. Last night was all stars of Reality TV shows, all of whom I had never even heard of. They could not act. They could not play poker. They could not make a funny comment. Worst of all of them was this "Johnny Fairplay" guy, who called nearly every hand to the river with crap, spouting trash talk that could probably get him arrested in California, then when he was busted out to the Loser's Lounge, kept making cracks about the others' horrendous play until finally Trishelle ("...who?"), supposedly a close friend of his, gave him the cold shoulder and hissed, "Could you please just shut up for a while?"

You could hear the pain in Phil Gordon's voice as he struggled to find something to say about the play that was not insulting to the players. And Dave Foley appeared obviously drunk from the first minute of the show. It was probably the only way he could get through it. And the show is long. I thought they used to be about an hour long, but this show was 90 minutes of agony -- probably 2 hours before they removed the commercials.

If more and more people are getting into poker enough to recognize atrociously bad play like this, aren't Bravo's ratings going to fall as real players turn this off in disgust? I sure hope so.


April said...

But, it has PHIL GORDON. More than worth the price of admission there!

James said...


Phil just doesn't do it for me, you know? Can't they get, like Evelyn Ng in there for a show instead?