June 16, 2004

Risking my sanity so you don't have to

This is going under Cult Flicks because I'm not sure where else to put it.

I watched the premier episode of Extreme Dodgeball last night on the Game Show Network. I watched it again this afternoon with Mookie, because she TIVO'd it, and this way you get more than first impressions. As if that's important.

Do you like Slamball? If yes, then you'll enjoy Extreme Dodgeball. I admit it, I liked it. But before I actually describe the "sport" itself, well...

William Hung did a video commercial plugging various Game Show Network shows. What did he butcher sing? What else but Queen's "We Are The Champions", in that WH style that causes mass suicides we've grown to tolerate. Cheesy, and the perfect introduction, in my humble opinion. Consider yourself warned.

It's showtime! You know the format: two chatty announcer/hosts - one being Bil Dwyer (that's not a typo, it's only one "L") from BattleBots, with a much more subdued 'do - and a hot babe down near the action to 'interview' the teams during breaks in the action. Throw in pointless segments about various players (called "Beyond the Ball") and you've about summed up the entire show.

Oops, forgot about the teams, didn't I? In the Extreme Dodgeball league (?!?!), the teams are supposedly put together based on occupation, but 'concept' is the real story. Face it, even in LA you're not going to find five real Sumo wrestlers who're willing to be stupid for what probably amounts to minimum guild scale, not to mention the fact that there's no such thing as female Sumo. So the team is actually four fat guys and a fat gal. Just calling it as I see it, and as one of the circumferentially overachieving, let's just say that if I were on the team, my nickname would be 'Slim'. The other teams are horse jockeys, mimes, CPA's, rent-a-cops, hot chicks (and a guy), bodybuilders and tatooed people. Yep, I always wanted to list my occupation as 'canvas for prolific tatoo artist'.

The game itself has enough interesting twists to actually make it, well, interesting. A match is best-of-three games. For the first game, two balls are used. Second game, a third, larger ball is added, and in the third game one team member is designated the "Dead Man Walking" and if you hit them it's all over. The rest of the rules were mostly familiar. My favorite was "no head shots", which meant that a valid strategy was to curl up on your knees facing the other team and let them wail away at your head for no effect - rules-wise, not concussion-wise.

The team balance is actually pretty good, which is what the show's producers want. The rules work well, the strategies and tactics used were logical and surprised me a couple of times. All in all, you can tell that these people extensively tested and tweaked the rules.

So yes, I'll watch it again, if I stumble across it one night when nothing else is on and I want some noise on in the background. It's certainly not something I'm going to seek out and look forward to. I've seen worse. But you already knew that.

Posted by Ted at June 16, 2004 05:42 PM
Category: Cult Flicks
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