Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tales From Digital Cable

The beauty of the summer TV season, of course, is that with all your usual shows on hiatus, you're free to seek out newer, weirder fare. And, no, that doesn't just mean weekend marathons of Flavor of Love: Charm School and...uh...Hidden Palms. Hey, I have to watch that one.

Anyway, here are two shows that have really captured my interest this week. They're from deep into the cable lineup, so I feel like I'm bringing news down from the mountaintop. First of all, find Confessions of a Matchmaker on A&E. I don't usually watch dating shows, and I only tuned in for this one because it's set right here in Buffalo. To my complete surprise, not only was it enjoyable for the local references (and ridiculous accents!), but it was actually a seriously enjoyable matchmaking show. The matchmaker lady -- Patti Novak, and if you don't think that name alone is enough to set the Buffalo accent into the stratosphere, you need to hear it -- is smart and tough-talking without being shticky or mean about it. Watch the first episode, stay until you hear the phrase "you are way gay!" and then tell me what you think.

Meanwhile, I was introduced to the divine pleasures of Ninja Warrior over the weekend. I feel like I'm probably catching on to this show really late, but I'd honestly never heard of this show before. Probably because it's on a video gaming channel ("G4"? That's a name of a TV channel now?) somewhere on the lineup between Telemundo 2 and the Miniature Golf Channel. It's been on for, like, ten years on Japanese TV, no idea how long it's been on obscure American cable, but in case you're like me and have never seen it: it's essentially a harder, more badass version of American Gladiators. 100 people -- athletes, businessmen, an oddly high number of stand-up comedians -- compete through four stages of impossibly difficult tasks involving balance, strength, and agility. It's superfuckinghard, and hardly anyone makes it past even stage one. And because it's Japanese, you don't necessarily get a winner, which is awesome. But the best -- BEST -- thing is the announcers, subtitled in English. Not sure if it's the translation or what, but the weirdest things come out of their mouths. The Japanese apparently have a whole thing about lactic acid in your muscles. It's awesome.


Anyway, Confessions of a Matchmaker is on A&E Saturdays at 10 PM. Ninja Warrior is on, like, all the time on G4, because they don't have any other programming besides Star Trek reruns. Watch them both.

5 comments:

The Bloody Munchkin said...

Joe, you're a blogger after my own heart because I just wrote a piece on Ninja Warrior about two weeks ago and the love for that show has not faded in the coming weeks, it has only intensified. The lactic acid thing cracks me the heck up. Also, some the professions or titles given to the competitors crack me up more often than not. Gas Jockey, Japanese Pushup Champion, Competitive Lifesaver, Women's Beach Flags champion? I absolutely love it!!! O.k. thus endeth the cable geekery... for now.

littlesilverboulder said...

Do you know if Confessions of a Matchmaker is actually a documentary-type reality show or if it is maybe dramatizations of clients she has had? That fake-and-bake girl and Terry seemed authentic but the possibly gay/possibly assexual guy smelled fishy to me. Still, though, a really entertaining show, for sure.

Joe R. said...

Bloody: Seriously. How about the professional trampoline champion? God bless Japan.

littlesilverboulder: I can't speak for all the contestants, but a few of the contestants are people who friends of mine know. And I remember when they were casting this thing, it was definitely an open call for real people with dating problems, so yes, these are real people, to the best of my knowledge. Even the "you are way gay" guy, while kind of unbelievably oblivious, did seem like a real person to me.

The Bloody Munchkin said...

Joe. I know right! God Bless Japan indeed. I hope for your sake they re-air the episode with the transvestite in the dominatrix outfit because you have not live until you've seen someone in latex and full makeup run an obstacle course. Amen.

StinkyLulu said...

Thanks for contextualizing the "sound" of Matchmaker...

Both of these shows are among the few I've slowed for on multiple occasions... I love when they have Americans on Ninja...