Questionable Reality TV: Cricket Edition

I’ve admitted it before, and I’ll do so again now – I have terrible taste in Televised Entertainment.  Any teen angst series, prime time hospital drama, kitschy Sit Com, or HBO masterpiece  can rely on me for dedicated viewership – and unfortunately so can some reality shows.  I have a fondness for anything MTV related and the Bachelor/ette saga, sadly.  While in Australia, my brain has been mercifully spared of the reality drivel I feed it at home – but I’ve stumbled across something much more obscure from an obvious entertainment value perspective.

As it is summer down here in the Southern Hemisphere, media outlets are filled with all things related to summer sports – and here in Oz, that means Cricket.  As a Canadian, the sport of Cricket completely perplexes me.  Ignoring the fact that my knowledge of my home grown sports is loose at best Cricket appears to be a cross between baseball, golf and… maybe lawn bowling?  I really haven’t put much effort into sorting the game out, but it honestly seems unnecessarily overcomplicated – and it can last in the neighbourhood of 5 days.  North Americans clearly don’t have the attention span for that.

Due to my general lack of both knowledge and interest, I managed to have a cricket related program on my TV while I absently roamed the internet one evening for approximately a half hour before I even noticed what I was watching.  I’m using the term ‘Cricket Related Program’ because it wasn’t a Game, a Sports Channel with commentators, or even a How to Learn Cricket in 47 Easy Steps type special – it was a reality TV show. A Cricket based Reality Cricket show.  Cricket Superstars.  Yes, this exists.  According to the omniscient Wikipedia, Cricket Superstar “is an Australian cricket-based reality tv series” where the winner will “receive a rookie-contract with his state and a scholarship to the Centre of Excellence.

Not only does it exist – it comes complete with all the (un)necessary reality TV staples:

  • The attractive, but otherwise totally unassociated, host
  • Frivolous challenges that earn the victor ‘immunity’
  • A panel of judges that vote members off the .. well.. Australia is an Island right?
  • Lots of long, drawn out scenes used to create drama and suspense in an otherwise mundane environment

Amusingly, the few episodes I’ve now caught snippets of (yes, I’ve tuned in more than once – and yes, its because it involves young men) have involved hilarious nonsporting related challenges that the contestants must face on their road to Cricket stardom – which, apparently, is a real thing.  On one episode, the guys had to create pieces of ‘art’ by throwing balls of paint at cricket wickets (I can’t muster up the desire to find out what that even is), which I thought was just about as boring as trying to watch the game itself.  However, the second show I stumbled on showed the contestants being harnessed to a bus loaded with their fellow competitors and having to drag the entire structure several meters.  The bus dragging was actually pretty entertaining, especially while watching the few guys that didn’t subscribed to the low and steady strategy tried popping around and leaping, which appeared to be some perverse sort of mating dance meant to lure the bus towards the finish line.

The Cast. Can't remember why they were at the beach, but its the only reason I kept watching.

While I may have been tricked into watching a few segments here and there – I haven’t made it through a whole show.  Due to the subject matter at hand, the show has an annoying habit of including an actual cricket match prior to the dismissal at the end of the show.  Try as I might, after about 30 seconds my eyes glaze over and I either pass out or change the channel.

I’m guessing you need to have some cricket loving nation’s blood in your veins to understand how this show qualifies as prime time television.

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