Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The New Zap2it Blog and Why I Love 'The Contender'
If you've noticed a drop-off in blogging in the past couple weeks, it's because of the beginning of a Zap2it shift that will see me covering much more television and much less movies. Don't worry. I'll still go see movies on my own dime and blog about 'em, but there may be a reduction in early screening reviews. Such is life.
In addition, Zap2it has just launched a new TV blog titled From Inside the Box. It'll have reality recaps, our thoughts on the shows we've seen and our thoughts on TV in general. We're attempting to populate the heck out of it, so check it out.
If you can't remember the name "From Inside the Box," feel free to call it "Head In a Box," or "Gwyneth" for short.
On an entirely different note, do you want to know why "The Contender" is possibly the best reality show out there? Even in its cut-rate ESPN version without Sylvester Stallone and without challenges and without flashing editing and without celebrities in the crowd, it's capable of producing moments of utter elation in a way that no other unscripted program can.
Tuesday's night's episode offered the best fight of the season. For the first 20 minutes of the episode, Michael Stewart, a Jesus-loving palooka who only won his first fight because Ebo Elder -- a vastly superior boxer -- walked into an uppercut, gushed on and on about how Grady Brewer was only adept at losing. He told his wife he was fighting a chump. He told everybody that there were just too many ways to beat Grady, who was too old and too weak. He talked endless trash.
Then they got in the ring and Grady won all five rounds. He pounded Michael around the ring like the tomato can he is. He out-boxed him, out-danced him and out-punched him. And yet, you watch every second of every fight holding your breath. Over the course of a season, these contestants become sympathetic, human figures. They becomes people with wives and kids and you grow to love some and hate others and you know that even if four straight rounds have gone for your guy, one punch can end it. It's bloody and primal and animalistic and it's every bit the best show Mark Burnett has produced since "Eco-Challenge."
They're up to the Final Four for the season, but it's not too late to start tuning in. OK. It may be too late. But I'm hopeful it'll get another run. For the rest of the season, I'm rooting a bit for Omar Bravo, but most I just want somebody to beat K-9 Bundrage, who clenched and held his way to beat the competition's best pure boxer, Walter Wright in last week's fight.
And now... Time to watch "Bones."