Shallow Pool: Adding Musicians (and Silly Theme Songs) to TV's Splash
Splash's cast, season one
As often as I've been complemented on my taste in music, I've been ridiculed for the horrible television programs I sometimes watch. Case in point: my DVR's arteries were recently clogged with episodes of the ABC celebrity competition, Splash.
For those who may have missed it, Splash was a taped and televised diving contest between B-listers like Nickelodeon child star Drake Bell and Baywatch actress Nicole Eggert. In all, ten people were invited to dive weekly (11 counting Brandi Chastain, the U.S. Women's Soccer player who replaced Chelsea Lately's Chuy Bravo after he was injured before the competition ever started).
Two diving experts scored their efforts, which ranged from "not bad" to "ohmygod, did he or she survive that?" True to the format of these shows, every week one person would be eliminated until a champion was crowned. The season ended with extreme sports-personality Rory Bushfield winning the title.
Along the way, there was some drama between dive coach/Olympic legend Greg Louganis and some of his uncertain but game pupils. It was neat to see 66-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and 400-pound Louie Anderson defy naysayers to compete and walk away with no crippling injuries.
But, to be honest, that's not why I watched. The best part of the show had nothing to do with the personal courage these also-rans had to summon to dive from many feet above the surface. It wasn't even the outlandish bathing suits that looked ridiculous on everyone except former Miss Alabama and Brent Musburger dreamgirl Katherine Webb, who looked perfect in whatever odd thing they threw upon her.
The best part of the show was the "walk-up" music played for each star as he or she made his or her way to their respective diving boards. It was kinda like what you hear at Minute Maid when one of the Astros approaches the plate for his latest strikeout. Only, these songs were written specifically for each celebrity, and seemed to embrace and embody the kitsch of the entire show in just a few bars.
According to TV Guide, the network planned to use popular songs for each celebrity. Doing so would have distressed the show's budget; so, as a cost-saver, the producers chose instead to write and record original songs for each competitor. The results were purposely hilarious.
For example, here's a snippet of the song scripted for the Detroit Lions' quarterback-smasher, Ndomukong Suh:
"My name's N-dom-u-kong, let's not pronounce it wrong, I'm about to get it on, get it on like Donkey Kong"
Webb's song went a little something like this:
"Oh, here comes Miss Alabama... she mixes diving with glamma... she doesn't look like your gramma"
And, my personal favorite, Chastain's song, which must have been thrown together at the last minute when she was called in to sub, simple and straightforward as it was.
"Brandi Chastain, do it again! She used to play soccer, now she's hittin' the water..."
Weirdly, that one's become a very scary, unshakeable earworm and I've actually experienced the horror of hearing myself sing it aloud in public.
Anyhow, all this got me wondering, where were the music celebrities? Except for Bell, who played guitar and sang on his former TV show Drake & Josh, Splash's musical talent pool was empty. Here are the musicians I'd like to see take the plunge next season, along with their walk-up jingles:
ALANIS MORISSETTE She's familiar with television, having begun her career on a Canadian TV kids show and more recently having appeared on Showtime's Weeds. She's not afraid to show a little skin; you might recall, she once did a video in the buff.
If she has a bad dive, she's likely to recover with a stronger effort, as she is apparently resilient. She toured as Vanilla Ice's opening act in the early 1990s. In spite of that setback, she still went on to sell tens of millions of albums, including 1995 breakthrough Jagged Little Pill.
Jingle: "Alanis! Alanis! She's not from Atlantis!/ Because there's only water there/ No diving platforms and no air/ You live, you learn/ You jump, you turn/ And if you over-rotate, girl/ You oughta know you'll crash and burn!"
Could the Mouse convince Tyler to walk the plank?
Photo by Ricky Brigante
STEVEN TYLER The Aerosmith vocalist is no stranger to reality TV game shows. Really, could jumping from three stories high be much harder than sitting next to Jennifer Lopez and hearing her babble week after week? At least he'd have an honest excuse for using earplugs on the Splash set.
Jingle: "From the Toys in the Attic, to the bottom of the pool/Dude might look like lady, but he don't look like a fool/He's put in the time and he's got the devotion/This dive's about to create/A sweeeeet emotion."
MARIAH CAREY If you think Mariah is too plump to rock the swimwear, maybe you haven't seen her in the new "#beautiful" video, looking incredible (sounding pretty great, too). In our 'hood, we had an adage for our ideal woman: "Fine in the face, thick in the waist." Nothing makes a bathing suit look better than curves and Mariah's got more of those than octaves in her vocal range.
Even though Mimi is a mama now, there are plenty of red-blooded males who want to see her do a back double-double. Okay, I have no idea what that means, but as long as she does it in swim attire, I'm okay with it.
Also, don't go thinking she's too delicate to leap from a solid platform into mid-air and then into several feet of water below. She survived Glitter and Nicki Minaj, so it's obvious she's pretty tough.
Jingle: "Yeahhh-eh-eh-eh-eh (Mariah-like melisma) Mariah!/ Youuuuuuur (more melisma) body's on fi-yah!/ Please cool your heated MILFiness/ And dial up our filthiness/ By doing a dive we'll all forget/The second you surface dripping weh-yeh-yeh-yeh-yeh-yeht."
CHRIS BROWN A good reality TV series needs at least two good men -- a handsome leading man and a villain to pit him against. Protagonist and antagonist; it's a simple formula. With Chris Brown, you get both rolled into one.
Brown will give the ladies someone to stare at. In spite of his missteps, he is still a young, good-looking guy with many female followers who are quick to tell you so. Others will deplore his every move, since they'll forever see him as a felonious assaulter of women.
Maybe he'll break into song and make some watchers swoon. Then, he'll destroy any goodwill he creates with more of his nefarious, homophobic tweets, this time directed at Louganis, a man who has been openly gay longer than Chris Brown's been alive.
Jingle: "Look at him now, look at him now, look at him now/ He's a high-diver/and when he does this somersault and sticks the landing/ He'll be a high-fiver/ He is Chris Brown, he's diving down/ With poetic motion/ But when he reaches the water, he's gonna strike it violently like it was Frank Ocean."
TONY KANAL Including the No Doubt bassist in this competition would be an extremely shallow act perpetrated solely to confirm a certain rumor concerning Kanal. Some of the show's male participants (the ones who aren't 66 years old or 400 pounds) are forced into those teeny-tiny trunks that real Olympic divers wear, the ones that leave very little to the imagination.
The long-running story on Kanal is he runs long, if you catch my drift. Being able to jam him into some Speedo briefs might answer some questions, the kinds that become rock and roll lore but few ever really know the answers to. Best of all, the truth about what Kanal sees in his "Bathwater" would be revealed during the family hour on primetime network television. Bonus!
Jingle: (set to funky "Hella Good"-styled music) "Is that a springboard in your trunks or are you happy to see us?/ Tony's got a homey bigger than a small Prius/ Don't speak, we know what you're thinking/ If he jumps in with that anchor, how's he gonna keep from sinking?"
AMANDA BYNES Bynes barely registers as a music artist, but she does have singing credits on a motion picture soundtrack (Hairspray) which is more than many hard-working and talented singers can say.
Not content to have this lone, pedestrian, but not crushingly embarrassing effort on her resume, Bynes recently told InStyle magazine she enjoys singing and "can't wait to start working on an album."
She's suggested she's done with acting -- but diving isn't acting. What better way to promote her debut album than returning to the small screen, looking fabulous in a swimsuit, taking backstage selfies, flirting with Drake rival Chris Brown and singing her own sassy theme song?
Jingle: "I left Hollywood, but I'm not bitter/ My career's much bigger since it's all on Twitter/ When I do my dive, you'll be all a-flitter/ 'Cause I might have quit acting, but I'm no quitter/ I go to spin class wearing just a Soma bra/ I play these fellas like a cello-playing Yo-Yo Ma/ I got smoke like they got corn in O-ma-ha/ Remember on The Amanda Show when I'd say "Mah-hah?!"
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