Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Glorified Pictionary

Tonight we watched (amongst doing other things) a 2-hour TV special that consisted of four four-person teams, all made up of television personalities, playing an incredibly long game of pictionary… only it was called Eden, there were golden apples involved, the snatching of said apples, and a monkey.

… I made the monkey part up… although one of the comedians did act like a monkey when he stole another team’s apples.

During one segment they showed a video clip taken inside a host club in Kabuki-cho, which was also coincidentally named Eden, and had the men working the bar draw the word for the team that was up. It turns out one of the hosts has some decent artistic ability, for the team guessed correctly and scored 3 apples without much trouble.

Later, another team was lucky enough to land on the square that had them watching a video of Christian Lassen and trying to guess what he was drawing. Painting is his forte hands-down, but I have to admit he’s not too shabby with a pen.

By the end, I felt the same way I always do whenever I watch the extravaganzas that epitomize Japanese game shows (real game shows, not comedians-getting-whacked game shows), which is amazed at the lengths they go to for something that will only be used or seen once. If you ever get the chance to catch a glimpse of the elaborate sets or costumes they use, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. I mean, who suspends a few horses from a full-size merry-go-round from the ceiling? The answer, of course, is who wouldn’t after they’ve come to Japan.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum, like our favorite show where two comedians (known collectively as Cocorico) dress up in outrageous renaissance costumes (one in brown, the other in hot pink, both in “kingly” attire), go to a family’s house, and basically play hide-and-seek, only a better version because they get to more-or-less ransack the residence while springing trap after delightful trap. If the family can successfully hide one of 3 members from the searchers for 30 minutes (and some of them get pretty darn creative, both in hiding places and trappy goodness), they win one million yen (about the equivalent of $10,000).

Sure, that’s a lot of cash for the studio to potentially lose, but I bet they spend that on sets alone for other shows easy, not counting personnel, guests, behind-the-scenes essentials, camera men, production, etc etc.

… all this to say here’s hoping for a way to receive Japanese television via satellite or cable when we return to the states.

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