Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer TV

Along with great weather and street festivals, summer brings with it two of my favorite TV shows:  American Ninja Warrior and So You Think You Can Dance.

I like both of these shows because I respect the contestants.  I could sing in front of a group of people, I could cook something in a pinch, and I could probably make a dress out of vegetables.  But I could neither successfully complete a Japanese-inspired obstacle course, nor learn choreography to pull of an amazing dance (or 2 or 3) week after week.

Unlike the singing shows, contestants on SYTYCD have trained for years, even decades in some cases. They aren't on the show because their mothers think they're good or because they (for some reason) equate screaming with singing.  These contestants can move; they do unbelievable things with their bodies.  And I love American Ninja Warrior for the same reason.

Contestants on these two shows didn't just get up off their couch one day and say, I'm gonna do this.  These contests take skill and incredible endurance.  I catch myself literally cheering when they succeed, and feeling the gut-punch when they fall short.

There's nothing subjective about the judging in these two shows.  Either contestants can do it, or they can't.  Triumph and failure are glaringly obvious.  Anyone can sing (or cook/sew/eat a bug).  But not everyone can physically push themselves beyond what their bodies tell them is possible.

And that's why I love them.