About a year ago I blogged about a fledgeling reality show called Splash!. In it, I concluded that Splash! was nice enough but not really worthy of further comment. A conclusion that I would stand by (although if you’re interested in another perspective, my other half is mining a rich seam on it here. The Jump on the other hand? Is just crap. And this is why.
Winter Sports Are Boring: They just are. As much as the BBC are trying to hype up this year’s Homophobic Olympics with overblown pretentious twaddle like this, the only Winter sports I’ve seen anybody in the real world get excited about (not just pretend to because the UK are about to win a medal in it) are figure skating and ice hockey, neither of which The Jump is covering. Instead the focus appears to be those winter sports that revolve around getting from the top of a hill to the bottom of it, strapped to something. These sports are not interesting to watch. They just aren’t. Whilst The Games (RIP) had a whole world of sports to draw from, from sprinting to weightlifting to Kendo to diving to gymnastics, The Jump has a bunch of posh people skiing a bit.
The Jump drains these sports of any existing peril: Remember (about when it looked like we’d win a medal in it) when we all learned what The Skeleton was? The madness! Athletic young people, bereft of any padding bar a helmet, hurtling down a mountain face first at high speeds on a tea tray, the threat of death or mutilation a constant, ready to risk their lives for the sport (/”sport”) they loved! The terror! The romance! The possibility that we could win a medal in it! Then it turns out that Anthea Turner can do it.
The Cast : Remember when Vanessa signed up for Strictly Come Dancing, and it kind of felt redundant because she’s already been on so many reality shows before? Well…at least on the shows that Vanessa did, she left a trail of memorable infamous moments in her wake. Anthea Turner was on Celebrity Big Brother, where she was noteworthy for being mumsy and dull. Melinda Messenger was on Celebrity Big Brother, where she was noteworthy for being cheerful and dull. Amy Childs was on Celebrity Big Brother, where she was noteworthy for being immobile and dull. Nicky Clarke was on 71 Degrees North and being eliminated first and dull. Nickelodeon Girl was on Dancing On Ice and was so noteworthy that I didn’t even know her proper name by the end of the series. Joe McElderry (drafted in today as a replacement for “fashion and lifestyle journalist and commentator” Henry Conway) (*shrug*) was JOE MCELDERRY all over X Factor AND Popstar To Operastar. Kimberley Wyatt is the dullest Got To Dance judge and Darren Gough’s Strictly charm has dwindled such that he couldn’t beat Jane Beale and Diddy David Hamilton the last time he tested his public vote. There is no excuse for casting this many people with so much pre-existing footage of them being boring in a reality tv context. Of the show’s two genuinely interesting bits of casting, Tara Palmer Tompkinson (always reliably insane) quit before the start, and Steve Redgrave looks on the verge of faking consumption to get out of it. HOW STEVE? HOW CAN YOU TURN STRICTLY DOWN AND ACCEPT THIS? (Also, on a shallow note, ONE attractive young hunk wouldn’t have gone amiss. JUST ONE). (Also, “LOL IT’S SINITTA!” has pretty much worn out its use as a punchline at this point hasn’t it?)
The Live/Not-Liveness of it all: Reality shows really should either be all live (with the occasional VT or be all recorded. The fact that most of the actual action is taped results in episodes that are basically like this :
- Footage of celebrity learning to ski
- Footage of celebrity skiing
- Celebrity (*live*) goes “ooh, that definitely was some skiing I did 7 hours ago”
- Footage of another celebrity learning to ski
- Footage of another celebrity skiing that looks exactly like the footage of the first celebrity skiing BECAUSE IT’S SKIING.
- Celebrity (*live*) goes “oooh, that skiing I did 7 hours ago was such fun!”
- Davina tells the second celebrity that they were 0.00002 seconds faster than the first celebrity (BECAUSE IT’S SKIING) because of wind assistance EXCITEMENT REIGNS
- And so on
The lack of jeopardy : I was going to use this point to talk about how the show was taunting Sod’s Law being that, having hyped itself up as the MOST DANGEROUS REALITY SHOW EVER and a show that was rejected by the cowards at ITV for just being too potentially life-threatening to get insurance for, the show was doomed to not having any ratings-grabbing footage of people spectacularly wiping out and losing a leg, having to rely instead of Niceklodeon Girl bumping into the wall a bit a few times on the Skeleton track. But today Henry Conway had to pull out because he FRACTURED A TINY BONE IN HIS LITTLE FINGER which I guess shows me. The danger, the danger.
The lack of controversy : Let’s face it, reality shows live or die to a certain degree on audience outrage. Austin Wuzz Robbed, Big Brother Goes Evil, Poor Gabu etc etc. Even as we speak some mediocre cruise-ship Frank Sintara impersonator is ekeing out BBC Breakfast appearance from the fact that THEM MEAN VOICE JUDGES DIDN’T PICK HIM, and Digital Spy is ablaze with horror that somebody with a disability might win Splash! (the horror). Unfortunately The Jump is entirely merit-based which you’d think would be a good thing but when the merit in question is being determined between Britain’s Greatest Olympian and Britain’s Fourth Favourite Men’s Hairdresser (after Vidal Sassoon, Trevor Sorbie, and Ricardo from The Salon) it’s not really a question worth asking.
The climax : Hoo boy. The whole show leads up to THE JUMP. A competition between the two people who have been the worst in whatever “let’s go down a hill” discipline they’ve pulled out of the hat today to do the biggest ski-jump. This is obviously the most important part of the show. It’s at the end. It decides who goes home. It’s THE TITLE OF THE EFFING SHOW. It was hyped up in the adverts with a picture of a great big whacking Murderhorn slope, and the promise that SOMEONE’S GONNA DIE. In practice, the contestants doing the skiing bobble tepidly down a slight incline, then leave the ground for a grand total of 0.00007 seconds. I’d say it was “blink and you’ll miss it” but frankly that would be an insult to blinking. You could crowbar your eyes open a la Clockwork Orange and still miss this. It is the least televisual climax to any reality show I’ve seen anywhere, ever, and I sat through all ten episodes of Vanity Lair just to see some indie douche be declared the winner just because the show was being broadcast on E4.
The Jump, ladies and gentlemen.