Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Phenomenon, on Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 31, All Hallows Eve. Phenomenon, two hours , is another reality contest, this well testing how well people can entertain. I recall that Geico won’t sell its umbrella policies to professional “entertainers” and these are the kind of people the company seems to exclude. The concept makes an interesting contrast to Fox ‘s “On the Lot” where the contestants create short films.

I’m also reminded of the two films “The Illusionist” and “The Prestige”. I sort of expected Ed Norton, Michael Caine or Hugh Jackman to walk out onto the stage at any time. The contestants obviously plan their tricks carefully. I’m not sure how easily one could find “the pledge” “the turn” and “the prestige” in each magic trick. These were simply plotted acts, whereas in fiction the subject of magic can generate labyrinthine plots beyond those of these movies, something like Clive Barker’s 1991 novel Imajica.

You can get a rundown of the contestants here. The judges were Criss Angel and Uri Geller. They rather pretended to play judge, and were not as constructive as the judges On the Lot.

A few of the stunts were noteworthy. Wayne asked a girl do make a drawing on an easel, and then showed a matching tattoo that had been burned into his upper arm. As for body abuse, Guy had some electrocardiographic leads pasted to his opened up, hairy chest and then pretended to flatline, with the monitor and all, and then to restart his heart, all with mentation. (There was no treadmill stress test here, no "American Flyers".) Another contestant demonstrated automatic writing by the dead (or was it remote viewing). And the last contestant played a form of Clue (or was it Mr. Ree) with the audience.

I tried to vote, and found that the age verification script would not work.

An now, they say, the WGA wants to make reality shows union. That will be the day…

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