Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shaq Vs. Our Attention Span

Never in a thousand years would I have watched ABC's "Shaq Vs."  Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy the occasional game show or reality series.  It's just that the Shaq Vs. concept is so strained and unrealistic, that I'd rather watch Man Vs. Food.  At least I can identify with that kind of competition.

Everything changed this week though.  Shaq is on my side now.  He's not the enemy, like he was in Orlando, Los Angeles and Miami.  He's not the washed up Hall of Famer either, like he was in Phoenix and Cleveland.  He's MINE.  He's OURS.  Good or bad, the Big Shamrock will be deadpanning his way to our hearts every night at the Garden.  The question that most concerned us right now was not what we were going to watch on TV, but whether we were going to watch Shaq Vs. Penn and Teller and Sugar Shane Mosely (not together, of course) or the Press Shaqference that we taped the same day. 

"What happens if Shaq gets knocked out?  Will he still play this year?"  my eight year old asked.

"I don't know.  It depends on how badly he gets hurt."  I deadpanned.  Although I'm not only one who gets my impersonation.  My question, is whether we'll know the difference since he's a little old, fat and slow when healthy, anyway.

"Can we watch Shaq get hurt?" my six year old chimes in, obviously thinking the worst.  I think no matter what my feeling is on the subject, I'll get out voted.

8pm.  Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV.  The anticipation is building in the JMR household.  This happens every time we watch the occasional MMA fight, too.  My kids are bloodthirsty, looking for broken bones and blood.  Trying to deflect all of the questions about Las Vegas and showgirls (they'll have plenty of time for that, except for you DLG!), I happen to notice that an old MTV Road Rules alum is one of the hosts - Kit Hoover.  She must be close to 40 by now, and it's starting to show.  Her original facelift needs to be tweaked a little bit, Bruce Jenner-style.  The only other thing I notice is that the hosts insist on Shaq being referred to as "Manny Shaqiao."  Between you and me, I think all of the play on Shaq's name has "Jumped the Shaq," don't you think?  Those of you reading this from New Jersey, yes, I am doing a play on his name too, I'm not teasing you.

To all of our disappointment though, before the big fight, we are forced to watch a ridiculous Shaq vs Penn and Teller skit.  Except for wondering what the "homeboy quarter trick" was, I fast forward this obviously painful time filler.  I made a "Shaq"tical decision, to coin one of Shaq's phrases.  Nevermind, on to the main event!

Prefight.  "Why is he sweating? He hasn't even started boxing yet."  Because he's old and overweight, I think to myself as I stick in my stomach a little bit so my boys don't notice ME sweating.  My six year old asks if any Celtics are going to be at the fight.  My eight year old tells him, like he's an idiot, that Shaq will be there.  I think he meant BESIDES Shaq.

Round 1.  A lot of punching.  Whether stooped over like an old man ((Shaq).  Or jumping like an overmatched child (Mosely).  We do learn that if Shaq loses, he will prance around the casino wearing a pink bikini.  Round 1 to Shaq.

Round 2.  To make the match more even apparantly, Shaq goes to his knees for a bit to fight Mosely at his level instead of using his reach advantage.  That was pretty funny - if he meant to do it.  Round 2 to Shaq. 

Round 3.  "Is Shaq wearing a shirt because he's too chubby?"  Needless to say that Mosely looked pretty good in this round.  Round 3 to Mosely.

Round 4.  More of the same.  Except I'm sure that Shaq told Kit Hoover, while she was trying to interview him between rounds, to get the Hell out of his face.  Maybe that just would have been me.  Round 4 to Mosely.

Round 5.  Shaq, I thought won this round with a little bit of vigor at the end.  It wasn't meant to be, however as Mosely wins the unanimous decision.  I wonder if the real contest involves who actually gets to win these contests during production - Shaq or his opponent.

*  *  *  *  *

No matter the outcome, I think my mission was accomplished - getting the kids interested in the Celtics and Shaq, specifically, since I think it's going to be an entertaining year.  They were, in fact, so interested that they wanted to keep the show on to see if he ran through the casino with a pink bikini on.  Bloodthirsty, I'm telling you. 

Although the Penn and Teller segment was painful to watch (even at triple the speed), I give Shaq Vs. a score of 83 out of 100.

photograph courtesy of ABC 

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