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March 26, 2013

Couch Potato: Celebrity diving makes a "Splash"

by Lily Gates, Online Features Editor
Couch Potato is a weekly blog focusing on the current happenings in the world of television. Come back next Tuesday for the next edition.

Celebrities trade in the high-life for the high-dive as they compete in the new ABC reality show "Splash." It already sounds like a hot mess, which in 21st century television may just qualify for a hit.

Celebrities face off in the new ABC competitive diving reality show "Splash."
Courtesy of ABC
Celebrities face off in the new ABC competitive diving reality show "Splash."
But what separates this reality show from others is the diversity of celebrity contestants. In the first episode extreme skier Rory Bushfield, comedian Louis Anderson, former Miss Alabama Katherine Webb, former "The Cosby Show" star Keshia Knight Pulliam and former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar show off their diving ability. The next episode, which airs tonight, will feature Detroit Lions football player Ndamukong Suh, sidekick to TV talk show hostess Chelsea Handler, Chuy Bravo, reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson, former "Drake & Josh" star Drake Bell and former "Baywatch" star Nicole Eggert. These celebrities all have one thing in common: they're some of the least likely people to ever do competitive diving.

Luckily, Olympic diving medalist Greg Louganis helps coach these celebs into tip-top shape. Well actually, not quite. Don't expect to blown away with Olympic worthy dives coming from these celebs any time soon. However, what is truly remarkable and makes the show worth watching is seeing the journey and effort that some of these contestants go through.

Before each contestant takes their dive, clips from their six weeks of training are played. The most inspiring story is Anderson's. He weighs over 400 lbs, so the idea of him doing competitive diving may seem laughable and one may even pity how this reality show will only prompt more jokes about his weight. However, this show highlights how the contestants' work together to encourage each other to do their best. The audience watches as the other contestants help Anderson out of the water and as Abdul-Jabbar gives him a pep talk. Anderson tells Daily Mail he sees "Splash" as an opportunity for him to take steps to living a healthier lifestyle.

The show is meant to be inspiring and the cutaway scenes depicting the celebs struggling in the water are not meant to be funny. The reality of this "reality show" is that it isn't meant to show the angry and wild sides of these celebs, but rather their dedication and inspiring attitudes.

However, the show fails to reach its potential to be both entertaining and inspiring. The grandiose set and the contestants' flashy swimsuits give off a cheap game show appearance. The hosts, Joey Lawrence, "Blossom" and "Melissa & Joey" star in the show, and Charissa Thompson, on-air ESPN personality, appear stiff with fabricated enthusiasm. The judges, Olympic diving gold medalist David Boudia and U.S. Dive Team director Steve Foley, seem a bit overqualified for the show. They base much of their scores on how much they admire the diver's effort, rather than skill, since most of the dives are mediocre.

Although the majority of dives are average, there are impressive aquatic techniques shown, especially in the opening sequence and synchronized swimming routines before and after commercial breaks. So whether you're looking for some inspiration or impressive aquatic skills, take a chance and come on in, the water's fine.




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  • anonymous on April 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM
    Title is not only an overused pun, but is also misleading for an article that mainly criticizes the show.
    • Anonymous Two on April 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM
      Sorry, I have to disagree. The title is informative. It gives the reader a hint at what the piece is about (the TV show Splash). This isn't the NY Post or the National Enquirer, where titles usually tell it all (with no content to follow it).

      I haven't been interested in watching this show but this review actually makes me want to (just a little bit) despite the negative review Ms. Gates gives it.
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