Celebrity Splash

2013-04-30_0048It was set to be “A television extravangaza unlike anything you’ve ever seen,” according to the hosts.

And in many ways it was all that and then some.

In other ways it was exactly like plenty of other shows I’ve seen: Gladiators, It’s a Knockout, Man O Man, The National Bingo Night, Dancing with the Stars. And possibly the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

Yes this show was pretty camp, with an inordinate amount of colour and movement, possibly to divert us from the limits of its actual content and drama. In two hours of television there was about 14 minutes of actual content -this was the show’s biggest failing.

There were synchronised swimmers, divers, fireworks, gushing judges, Star Trek lights, wacky costumes -everything but Brynne Edelsten’s pooch in a kitchen sink.

Cheerful hosts ageless Larry Emdur and glam Kylie Gillies shared the master of ceremony duties. Before the events even got underway there was a disclaimer of sorts as Laura Csortan disqualified herself for injuries sustained during dry training.

“On doctor’s advice I can’t continue in the competition,” she said. “I’m so devastated and I’m sorry.”

At this point I was guessing more Australians would have been screaming “Who?” rather than “No!” For the record she was a presenter on The Great Outdoors back in 2006 and Miss Australia in 1997.

Former Gladiator Derek Boyer would take her place, possibly looking for remains of the Pyramid and Duel sets. His Bam-Bam outfit reiterated that the blokes were more covered up by the wardrobe department than the females. Clearly we’re not supposed to take things seriously.

As judges we had diver Matthew Mitcham, skiier Alisa Camplin and US diver Greg Louganis. Mitcham would prove to be the more relaxed and confident of the three, with a certain boyish charm that felt pretty natural in this most unnatural of situations.

Across the night 7 of the celebrities were summoned to the Sydney Aquatic diving board at various heights: 3, 5, 7.5 and 10 metres. Athlete Tamsyn Lewis was the first diver and despite her nerves put in a good effort.

Matthew Mitcham looked genuinely impressed. Or relieved. Or both.

She was scored on both her technical skill and effort (getting an A in effort at school never got me a Pass). Giving double scores was clearly to avoid anybody walking away with a fail, but it only added to the night’s padding.

After two post-poolside chats with Lewis, Kylie had us check the Leader Board. Seriously, after one dive?

Josh Thomas was next up, understandably worried about his appearance, but covering his shortcomings with gags. He’d taken a spray tan and spent plenty of time messing up his hair before emerging damp from the pool.

Matt Mitcham was complimentary. “I have a feeling you’ll be getting a lot of marriage proposals tonight.”

“From you?” asked Thomas. Fresh!

40 minutes into the show we’d had 2 dives, half of which seemed to consist of contestants walking around the pool to get from A to B.

“Cricketeer” (as Louganis called him) Andrew Symonds was next, tackling the 10 metre board, followed by Miss Australia 2012 Renae Ayris and Derek Boyer who gave the night it’s much-needed belly-flop, also from 10 metres.

Pauly Fenech was risking an ear injury we were told. But he didn’t care. “Stuff it. I’m committed.” They breed them tough in the Housing Commission flats.

Lastly it was up to Brynne Edelsten, worried a breast implant would be pushed up into her armpit. At least she was honest. Not content with a 5 metre dive she told Kylie she wanted to dive from 7.5 metres. Never one to miss an opportunity. Brynne gave a bedazzling dive, even losing two earrings in the process. I was going to tweet ‘foul’ because the dog didn’t join her but thought better of it.

We never got to see Leisel Jones, Adam Richard, Nick Bracks, Demi Harman, Andrew Welsh, Koby Abberton or Denise Drysdale diving (although Seven keeps editing footage of a woman from the US series into promos to hoodwink us into believing it’s Drysdale doing a tumble).

Through the night there were more than a few tech hiccups, notably with lighting and shadows. These are acceptable when a show is Live. But Celebrity Splash squibbed on that promise too.

By the time it was all over and I’d relinquished 2 hours of my life I’d never get back, I found myself asking ‘But what’s the point of it all?’ At least on Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Apprentice there’s a vague ambition to raise money for charity. Other shows offer recording contracts, book publishing deals and real estate sales.

Despite its best hopes Celebrity Splash didn’t evoke enough hilarity, shock, awe or terror from me.

“It has been an amazing night of diving,” said Larry signing off.

Really, Larry? Really?

Celebrity Splash continues 7:30pm tonight on Seven.

26 Comments:

  1. I shall pack up my pedantry and put it under the bed.
    I saw a few minutes of this show. It was a trifle and I can’t see many repeat viewers coming back. Are there that few ideas out there?

  2. I hate being a pedant, David, but I think Laura Csortan’s glorious tv career at 7’s The Great Outdoors began in 1999 or 2000. Perhaps 2006 was when she got the axe? Where to from here for her? It’s only downhill.

  3. Thank god I was watching The Voice…have seen & heard enough from overseas versions of the show that this will fail…
    House Rules (or as someone suggested Changing Rooms revisited) no thanks…The Block for me….I can’t wait.

  4. We gave it a go and David’s summation is spot on. Yes, most of these shows are drawn out with little actual action but this seemed to contain even more filler probably because a dive takes a lot less to finish than a dance or a song. The thing that really pissed me off was at 9.30 (when Revenge was due to start – at the special time!), they had a bloody dive off to figure out who was staying. The editors need kicking if you can’t fit all that happened into the advertised 2 hours.

  5. I liked it. It was exactly as tragic as I’d hoped. But seriously David, Laura isn’t that low-profile – perhaps she just doesn’t make the social pages three times a week in Melbourne like she does in Sydney. She also happens to be on the cover of Maxim this month.

    @SaxyBre84 Nice conspiracy theory, but half the celebs dived last night and the other half dive tonight, and he was in group one.

  6. Two observations;

    * Agree that showing us the leaderboard after only one contestent had dived was one of the most asinine moments in TV history.

    * Kylie looked terrified doing interviews on the 10 metre diving board a few metres from the edge. It was a bit cruel that they made her wear very, very high heels.

  7. I assume this show is a time-slot filler for House Rules, as it sounds like the semi-finals start next week do it obviously is not going to have a long run. It was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be and was a lot of fun. It was very padded out, though, it did not need two hours to get through nine dives. Was there really a TV show called National Bingo Night? Seriously?? I must have blinked and missed it as I have no recall of that whatsoever. Is DWTS slated for Seven’s schedule this year? Usually by this time, ads and rumours about cast for it have usually started to appear, but not a word about it so far, which is strange as it has been a marquee show for eight years.

  8. I really liked it. It had better production values than the UK version and if you record it you can watch it in less than an hour. I think the courage score was unnecessary. I felt quite nervous watching them all. Brynne is in it to win it. All in all it was a bit of light hearted fluff. Lighten up guys

  9. On Gruen, Russel Howcroft once offered his opinion about the television remote control… not good. Naturally he was talking from an advertiser’s perspective, however from a viewer’s perspective the remote is a life saver.

    The reason I mention this is because, IMO, Celebrity Splash is an entertaining 30 minute program compressed into a boring 120 minutes… remotes rule!

  10. Mmm taped it through my IQ but missed the last few minutes, I wonder why?

    Anyway, a bit of fluff but my wife seems to like it so she will keep on watching. What I thought is they can take all those miss-queued practise dives and turn that into a amusing 1/2 hour show and drop the rest…

  11. I switched over during an ad break just to see if I could possibly be wrong about it being rubbish. Sadly I was not wrong. I don’t get it. What’s the point? What a waste of time.

  12. TV Week must have known Josh Thomas was going to be eliminated as in the guide it has his name in the details of the show but doesn’t for tonight’s.

    I thought it was so drawn out that I fell asleep. It’s great to see Larry and Kylie on prime-time though.

  13. bettestreep2008

    I saw the opening 2 minutes and concluded it was a bomb.

    I think Seven is only using it as filler until House Rules takes over.

    You know the show that looks suspiciously like Changing Rooms.

    So much for a never before seen on TV concept.

  14. I only flicked over during ad breaks in The Voice and I agree it was very slow and padded out. And can’t believe they couldn’t get through everyone in a 2 hour show. To be honest watching an aquatics show at this time of year has little appeal – would much rather be watching The Voice.

  15. carolemorrissey

    Just saw the ratings and even the news beat it. Was disappointed it beat House Husbands though. The test will be tonight, people watch the first one out of curiosity, be interesting to see how many bother to come back.

  16. No other show can be criticised for being slow paced while The Voice is on air. I thought the padding between dives with Larry and Kylie was entertainment itself. Everyone on TvTonight is so grumpy, could it be possible that television is made just to be entertaining?

  17. I agree with Clint. It wasn’t that bad. As for being slow-paced, aren’t they all? You get about 10 minutes dancing on DWTS & the Voice dawdles along at the pace of a snail.

  18. Great review David! I did enjoy it when Greg Louganis said very solemnly “I’m going to have to save… Derek”; Larry Emdur replying “I think you mean Pauly”. SO awkward – you could practically see a tumbleweed floating across the screen…

  19. I was intrigued to watch this bit of fluff but thought better of it.

    Now having read your review – It went the way I thought it might.

    Very pleased I used my two hours elsewhere 🙂

  20. 9 dives (including the sudden death dives) in 2 hours was absolutely ridiculous. I must admit I didn’t watch it live to air but instead recorded it and watched it back so I could skip through all the ads and padding. Although I thought the overall production was very good and Larry and Kylie were great.

  21. I have to confess I liked it. Sure not a great concept or the best reality show going, but it was just some harmless fun. Considering next week is the semi finals, at least it won’t overstay its welcome, like MKR before it. Again I just want to say, I saw this as harmless fun. Nothing more. Not sure if the ratings will hold though. As you said David, it wasn’t meaty with content, but at least the training and leading up to the dive wasn’t as drawn out as the voice.

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