When I applied to Top Shot, I promised the producers I’d liven-up the place a bit. I pointed out that I’d seen funnier how-to embalming videos. That wasn’t exactly fair; both genres are rife with unintentional humor. In Top Shot‘s case, we have host (and Survivor survivor) Colby Donaldson’s struggle to maintain vocal mastery over his capped teeth (while playing-up his wandering western accent) and the show’s dubious historical references (the Browning Automatic Rifle altered the course of WWI trench warfare like Tang altered the course of the Apollo Program). In fact, Top Shot has enough snark fodder to stave-off Ambien’s incipient effects. Otherwise, I could be accused of doubling down on the sleep meds. Where was I? Ah yes, sex. If you can’t make ’em laugh, at least give ’em a stiffie . . .
There were 15 competitors on last night’s episode. If you expect me to keep track of that many “personalities” looking to become a professional marksman over a period of 72 weeks (subjectively speaking), name all eleven dwarfs. Wait, seven? Does Doc Holiday count? I know there was some hirsute shooter named Tim Tefren who had a major bro-gasm, gushing “I love you guys all like family . . . we’ve become a pseudo-family.” I was pseudo-touched.
Michelle Viscusi—and you knew that’s where I was going with all this—got touched for real. For the first time ever, we saw physical contact between Top Shot contestants that didn’t involve manly hugs, fist bumps and anal sex. Wait. I didn’t say that. Nor would Top Shot have let me say that if they’d picked me. So put that despicable remark down to petulance, jealousy and my own endless search for ratings.
Anyway, Michelle had a major tickle session with some blond guy who’s too fat for TV with worse root problems than a forest full of Dutch Elm disease. And a wedding ring. The Top Shot website tells us that “Dylan Fletcher learned how to shoot rifles and small handguns from his father before he could even ride a bike.” One wonders when Dylan learned to ride a bike; before or after his testicles dropped.
But drop they did, as witnessed by his flirting sessions with Ms. Viscusi. Quite what Michelle sees in the custom knife-maker I cannot begin to fathom. Provided she sees anything in him at all. For all we know, Ms. Viscusi was equally physical with a number of other Top Shots, whose interactions ended up on the cutting room floor. Still it was nice to see something, anything, heterosexual on a shooting program filled with men among men doing manly things.
As for the infantile nature of the Viscusi – Fletcher hook-up (chest bump!), remember that the contestants are isolated from everything and everyone during the four weeks’ production schedule. As any reality TV producer will tell you, whenever you do the Lord of the Flies thing with a carefully selected group of “characters,” the subjects quickly slot into archetypal roles. There’s the leaders (fighting for alpha status), the sheep-like sycophants, the plotters, the class clown, the Queen Bee and (let’s be charitable here) the babe.
With a bit of luck, we’ll see someone fighting Fletcher for Viscusi’s affections, or someone picking up the pieces with Michelle after Fletcher is eliminated. We could also see some cat fighting between the two women (on different teams at the moment) or some girl-supporting-girl against the guys action. Whatever happens or doesn’t happen, you can bet it will be carefully edited for dramatic effect. I can’t wait.
Oh and Colby lasered the two elimination contestants with a grenade launcher. How’s that for interpersonal drama? Not great. If it had been me I would have walked up to Colby and punched him in the nose, safe in the knowledge that his hands are surgically attached to his hips. JK. I think.