It only took about five minutes into last week's premiere episode of "I Survived a Japanese Gameshow", ABC's latest foray into reality television, for me to know that this was no Banzai (history's finest in Japanese- American entertainment). This show was too much reality and not enough Japanese gameshow.
I had all but written it off when I learned that one of the nine remaining contestants, Ben, is the brother-in-law of a close friend of a close friend. I also discovered that Ben is the official handler of Punxsutawny Phil--that's right the most famous groundhog in all of Pennsylvania who, based on the sighting of his own shadow, prognosticated six extra weeks of winter this year.
Re-energized by the prospect of a brother-in-law of a friend of a friend appearing on (inter?) national reality television donning nothing more than a giant diaper and bib, I re-committed to the show--in fact, I nearly transformed the Land of Yajeev to a My Friend's Friend's Brother-in-Law Ben Fansite, posting weekly BenWatch updates and opening a forum for readers to discuss the latest Ben gossip and submit their cell-phone-camera-snapped candid photos of Ben on the street.
The wife and I tuned in to tonight's second episode, eager for the extravaBENza. We were disappointed to see, in the first few moments of this week's installment, a tearful Ben tell the camera that he felt "sick". A minute later, the show's host was explaining to the other contestants that after Ben had fallen ill, he been taken to a hospital and would be leaving the show.
That was it: in a mere five minutes, my love affair with a reality television show and its woodchuck-handling contestant was over. Unless I hear word that Ben is making his dramatic return to the show, I'm afraid I've seen my last of this summer's guilty pleasure.
Ben, if you're reading this, I want you to know that while your stint/stunt on this show may have been cut short by unforeseen Asian maladies, my admiration and support for you will not cease. Thanks for the (really, really brief) memories.
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