Splash is the craziest television show ever made. If you’re unfamiliar, Splash is a reality show that puts D and C-list celebrities in a diving competition. But isn’t like diving into a friend’s swimming pool. These ladders go as high as 33 feet. And they dive backwards and somersault and do all kinds of seemingly advanced dives. And they are judged by two Olympic divers and trained by Gold medalist Greg Louganis.
And they could die.
I’m not exaggerating. In the most recent episode, they had to jump from 33 feet (10 meters), which is equivalent to a three-story building. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes) injured himself after he hit the water, then got disoriented and forgot how to swim. Thankfully he made it out of the pool and without a concussion. “I’m just happy I’m conscious,” he said, seeming a little dazed as he sat down.
How the fuck is this show on the air, is what everyone thought at that very moment.
On Dancing With The Stars, the celebrities absolutely risk injury, and over the years a very, very small handful got injured badly enough to have to withdraw from the completion. But barring a freak accident, they don’t risk the chance of breaking their neck or back, of being paralyzed for life, or of death by misadventure. The terror and the danger on Splash is very real. We’re reminded of this after every commercial break from the always chipper host Joey Lawrence (yes).
“I wish I was on the set of Splash right now.” Half-joked D.L. Hughley, while on the set of Dancing With The Stars. No. You don’t.
While practicing her dives, Katherine Webb, Miss Alabama USA 2012, who must be the work of James Cameron’s special effects team because how could anyone look that perfect, got frustrated with her less-than-stellar diving and cried, “What is wrong with me?” You’re jumping off of a 33 foot diving board and you’re not an Olympic diver. That’s what’s wrong with you.
Kendra Wilkinson, Playboy whatever, quit the show while on the diving board moments before her jump. Her fear took over, she said, “I can’t do this” and was done. I am amazed she was the only one.
It’s so easy to make fun of this show. Aside from the entire asinine premise, there’s little things: everyone enters to their own custom made theme song, and all of the women wear jewelry with their bathing suits and full on makeup.
But then something happens, and you find yourself rooting for these people.
And you find yourself touched by Louie Anderson. Without any practice, he took the jump off of the 33 foot board. As they showed the playback, he watched eyes watering. He broke down into tears. “That’s the bravest thing I ever did,” he said. I started crying.
And you find yourself caring about former Baywatch star Nicole Eggert, who is so self-conscious about her body that she didn’t even want to get into a bathing suit, and now she’s a front-runner.
And you find yourself admiring Drake, of the show Drake & Josh, for his fearlessness, determination, and surprisingly amazing abs.
And you find yourself saying things like, “Wow, they really over scored Kareem.” As in Abdul Jabbar. And over scored as in, gave 7 out of 10 points to a retired basketball player diving into a pool on TV.
And you may ask yourself, well, “How did this show get here?”
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down.