Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have a mild ongoing interest with this show Superstars on ABC. It's not really that interesting or fun, but I've always had a soft spot for Battle of The Network Stars-style competitions (notable exceptions: Battle of the Network Reality Stars, and MTV's The Gauntlet -since I'm happy when reality stars go away and stay away. Notable exception: I Love Money.)

So the premise of this show is that a C-List celebrity is paired with a relatively well known pro athlete. Each week they partake in two kinda stupid physical challenges, ranked in a badly designed scoring system, and then the lowest-scoring teams have to run through (what certainly looks like) a relatively easy obstacle course (but more on this later) to avoid being eliminated. They all agreed to do this to raise money for charity and have a nice vacation in Bermuda for their troubles.

Now, I feel compelled to say that everyone involved seems to be having an enjoyable if somewhat unfocused time. I actually think almost all the teams come off likable and easy-going. Not always easy for competitive athletes and ego-driven actors, but they pull it off. The show's not totally miserable, but it could be a lot better with some very obvious adjustments that you feel were not made simply because no cared enough to put forth the effort. Like, if you are gonna separate the teams by color maybe you could outfit each teammate in the same shade of that color? So, you know, they look like a TEAM? I'm just sayin'. ABC...

Since the events themselves are kinda boring (running on sand! long jump into a pool!) , the real treat in watching the professional athletes struggle outside of their element. Let's examine the case of Lisa Leslie, who is a 4 time Olympic Gold Medal-Winning Athlete in Basketball. Lisa has sucked at EVERY event so far - even the one based on basketball! She has a positive attitude and seems baffled by her own major suckitude, but it's hilarious to see - especially when she gets caught in a cargo net on the obstacle course in Episode 1. When that happens, Lisa gets totally confused, climbs out the way she came in and tries to run the course backwards. I laughed and laughed. Lisa obviously takes her job as an athlete very seriously, but in the vacation-style setting of Superstars, she becomes completely unfocused and clumsy. It's amazing. But she hasn't yet lost enough to be eliminated from the show! Not for lack of not-trying!

Another huge hilarious disaster is the team of Terrell Owens and Joanna Krupa. In the clip below you will see that T.O. also has a LOT of trouble in those (rather straightforward) cargo nets and Joanna freaks the F out. She totally berates him for losing. It's excessive, but she seems genuinely pissed. I can't get enough of it.

They wound up getting eliminated the first week, but they came back when an injury to Jennifer Capriati - perhaps when she face-planted into the ground during the obstacle course - left a spot open in the competition for their return. They hung around and got along better in a few more episodes, until T.O. up and decided he had to go do something else and left the show, eliminating his partner from the competition in the process. Once again, she was pissed.

So right now there are 4 teams left and hopefully maybe only 2 episodes left. I'll watch until the show is over, but I couldn't care less how it turns out. The final showdown should be between Kristi Leskinen and Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Brandi Chastain and Julio Iglesias, Jr. (Navy Blue Team). I really like them and they seem the most into winning while being good sports. I wish I had another summer season of American Gladiators over on NBC to watch instead of this, but I will make do with the absurdist competition show that is presented with me. Contenders ready? Whistle!!

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