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Splash and other absurd reality TV premises

It’s not like we expect reality TV to be the stuff Oscars are made of, but reality TV shows like Splash toe the line between escapism and, well, something we just want to escape from.


When we first laid eyes on the promo for ABC’s new reality series, Splash, we actually thought it was a spoof. Had the TV strayed to SNL or MadTv? Nope — despite silly clips showing comedian Louis Anderson and promising “much more” than just hot girls in bikinis, Splash is no joke. The idea? Teach celebrities to high dive.

The show starts with actual divers adroitly leaping from the platform and into the pool, barely making a ripple. And then the celebrities show up, parading through star shapes in a canopy of water. Oddly, although you’d expect the show to take a lighthearted approach with its absurd subject matter, it doesn’t — the funniest thing about the show is that it tries not to be funny. But, hey, at least it’s an excuse to ogle over the host, Joey Lawrence.

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The Sisterhood

Christians everywhere, be prepared to shudder. TLC’s The Sisterhood shines a light on what five Atlanta preachers’ wives do when they aren’t in church. And, well, let’s just say if these women were Catholic, there’d be a lot of Hail-Marys happening.

The stars of the show — or “first ladies,” as they call themselves — are Domonique Scott, Tara Lewis, Ivy Couch, DeLana Rutherford and Christina Murray. These wives, whose husbands all preach at churches in the “evangelical Word of Faith prosperity theology,” deal with drama ranging from gossip-mongering to substance abuse and wild sex acts… so if you were expecting staid and stuffy, think again.

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Best Funeral Ever

Maybe at some point you’ve told loved ones you want your funeral to be a party. “Don’t mourn my death,” you’ve said, “but celebrate my life.” You might think twice about that upon watching TLC’s Best Funeral Ever. The show follows the ins-and-outs of business at Dallas’ Golden Gate Funeral Home — a funeral home with a flair for the dramatic, to say the least.

Owner/CEO John Beckwith Jr. creates over-the-top spectacles of people’s passings, and there’s no shame in this man’s game. He even admits on air that he incorporates “professional mourners” at funerals — employees who have attended classes on faking grief so they can cause a contagion of tears during services. “A mourner can make or break a funeral,” he admonishes.

Curious about the kind of funeral you might find at Golden Gate? For the singer of Chili’s Baby Back Ribs theme song, the casket was modeled after a smoking pit and a BBQ-sauce fountain added ambience. We kid you not.

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