Thursday, October 25, 2007

NOT Phenomenal

As you know, I haven't been watching a lot of TV lately because I'm bitter that all of the new shows mostly suck. But even I could not escape the promotions for Phenomenon, the NBC series that premiered last night that I thought was going to be about magicians. There were ads on TV, on the Internet, in my magazines--they were really pumping this thing up!

Despite the fact that I find it hard to look at Criss Angel because of his ridiculous hair, I was intrigued by the fact that both he and old school "paranormalist" Uri Geller were going to be judging ten contestants on LIVE TV. It was the "live" part of the show that reeled me in; I mean, what would happen if someone was trying to bend a spoon with their mind and it didn't work!?!?

I would have a great time laughing at them, that is what would happen.

So, I Tivoed it yesterday and my husband and I watched it a few hours later (it would still be "live" in my mind, OK?). The first thing that I thought was silly was the term "mentalist." That is what the judges kept referring to themselves and the competitors as. I guess that no one can just be a magician anymore, they have to be an illusionist or a mentalist. I honestly thought they had just made up that expression for the TV show, but it's actually quite established already. However, all I can think of when I hear that term is the original (BBC) version of The Office when Gareth (the British Dwight) would call someone "a mentalist" if he thought they were crazy. I like that use of the word much better.

I got over my dislike of the word and became excited to see some cool tricks. But then they introduce the "celebrity assistants"-- Rachel Hunter (who looked totally pissed, I honestly don't think she smiled the entire time), Ross Mathews (The Tonight Shown intern), and Carmen Electra. You've got to be kidding me. My expectations were lowered significantly.

There are ten people vying to be "the next phenomenon," but only four did their acts during the premiere. This stressed me out greatly, because they didn't let the audience know that we'd only be seeing four in the first show (in fact, they kept repeating that there were ten contestants), so I kept saying, "They're 20 minutes in, there's no way they're going to get through eight more people!!!!" I'm wound tight enough as it is, I don't need more stress watching TV.

But I only got more freaked out. While the first act was kind of cool (the guy made Carmen Electra think that someone was touching her when in fact no one was), the next two were absolutely despicable. I did NOT tune in to watch someone physically hurt himself or potentially KILL himself?!?! What the HELL was going on??!?! The second guy's "trick" was to set a bear trap off on his fingers and claim it didn't hurt, and the third guy played Russian roulette with a nail gun. Yes, you read that correctly. Completely sick and twisted. I just became nauseous thinking of how many drunk college students were going to end up trying something similar. Totally not cool; this is not The Deer Hunter, OK? But then Criss Angel starts off his critique of the act by saying, "First off, kudos to NBC for even letting this air on live TV when there was the potential for someone to blow his brains out with a nail gun. I did the same trick, but with a REAL gun, so I know the stakes."

This is NOT something to be proud of!!! I don't care if there really was some sort of "trick" behind what appeared to be just luck. I had my face hidden under a stack of pillows for the majority of the hour, and that is really not how I had planned on spending my night.

The only other two things that happened were the fourth contestant seemingly predicting what random telephone number was picked out of a huge phone book, and Uri Geller "transmitting through the TV" a mental image to the viewing audience. The crazy thing was, both my husband and I guessed what image it was (out of five that were shown). Great, now we've probably been programmed to keep tuning in to the show or something.

The next installment is on Halloween and it is expanded to 2 hours to get through the remaining six contestants. Then I believe two hopefuls will be voted off.

However, I share my husband's sentiments about this show. At the end, he said in disgust, "That was awful, and I refuse to ever watch it again." No argument from me!

- e


Anonymous said...

I totally agree! My husband wanted to watch this show (and he's been sick all week so I caved). I was appalled! I figured, well if it's magic at least it will be entertaining. I didn't see magic at all!! I saw idiots - who somehow managed to be boring idiots. I will not tune in anymore. And hate Criss Angel. I met him once and he was a WEIRDO. and this was before anyone even knew who he was, except probably other "mentalists" or "illusionists".

Anonymous said...

Criss Angel looks scarily like that dude from the Goo Goo Dolls. Separted at birth? Maybe Criss can help his "brother" judge "American Band"--he has enough ego to spare. Or better yet, maybe Criss can make Goo Goo guy disappear from the show altogether?

--another e

Wanders said...

I actually believe all ten contenstants will be eliminated... about four weeks into the series.

Thanks for watching so I don't have to! A tremendous public service.