Japanese TV is, as this blog has mentioned numerous times over the past couple of years, very much a mixed bag. Much of it is dross, a load of old ladies fawning over soup, some travel shows revolving around food, some poor domestic sporting events. But occasionally a little bit of cream surfaces. The other night was no exception, and I can safely say that it was the best thing I've seen for a long time.
The premise was simple - take a gaggle of TV "personalities", dress them like giant condoms, place them at the end of a long catwalk with a vat of green water behind them and send a giant fibreglass board with a shape cut out of it flying down and hope that the hapless TV stars have the quickness of mind to assume the shape of the hole with their bodies else be walloped into the drink. Here they are, in all their non-glory.
Following the formula that you'd expect, the early shapes were very simple and the boards moved relatively slowly. The "personalities" got a bit cocky here, which is what made the next stages so much sweeter. The shapes got progressively more difficult, and the boards faster, until it turned into a watery farce. There was too much to show everything here, so I'm afraid you'll have to settle for a top 5 (alas, for some reason I can't seem to post that many photos on this entry, so only number 5 will have one)...
Coming in at number 5, a moment from the show before it even got going - the rather cute girl on the left is looking decidedly chipper, considering that just a moment before the host next to her had tried to wrap a large plastic chain around her neck, knocking her to the floor as he did so. As if that wasn't strange enough, a few moments after this photo was taken, she was again attacked, this time with a long length of black masking tape, which was duly slapped onto her unsuspecting face by her mischievious co-presenter...
At number 4, the shocked, hand hidden face of the only girl on the team, clearly embarrassed after misjudging a very straightforward standing pose to be smacked backwards into the water, to the chortles of her companions.
At number 3, a very decent attempt at a handstand pose, which, considering the circumstances and the fact that the board was moving rather rapidly now, was impressive. Unfortunately for the contestant, he left one of his legs hanging and got a hefty crack on his knee for good measure.
At number 2, a hillariously woeful attempt at a lying pose in which the contestant is off by a good foot. His reward was to be royally whacked across his left side and left thrashing in the green drink.
And at number 1, a very bizarre moment in which one of the competitiors, who chose to wear country and western style arm tassles on his wetsuit, smugly poses as the hole passes him, only to find that his said tassles got caught up in the board and dragged him backwards into the water. The moment when he realised that his posturing and grin were in vain was a treasure, and sadly only hinted at in this photo.
And that was it really. It was over as soon as it had started, and it was back to a travel style show in which women opened their eyes wide and mumbled "oishiii!" with their mouths full as if they had never eaten the much eaten food in their lives, and men opened their eyes wide and mumbled "umai!" with their mouths full as if they were ever going to say anything else.
The trouble with Japanese TV is that the good stuff is so few and far between, and not advertised so much, that you can only really watch it if you happen to stumble upon it. I have seen some cracking stuff in my near 3 years in Nippon, but I can't help wondering about the stuff that I missed...