A celebrity steps out onto a lonesome diving board. The host rattles off questions so we can understand the full scope of their terror, as they are about to plunge into the deep pool below. Suddenly, the scenes cut to the same amateur celebrity diving into a sun soaked outdoor pool with little grace. Greg Louganis looms over with plenty of diving critiques. The celebrity then displays their anger at their lack of diving experience to the background of dramatic piano music. It becomes apparent very quickly that the show is not poking fun at the lack of skills, but instead is taking itself completely seriously. Too seriously. Splash, from the ITV Network in the United Kingdom and from ABC in the United States has been called “the worst show on television”, and here’s why.
Critics began by calling the program “utterly dreadful television, utterly awful, and a new low in television.” Viewers across several continents have been quite displeased with Splash, and have taken to the Internet with criticism. The problem is that Splash is a reality show, plain and simple. It seems, however, that Shirley Jones, Darren Smith, and the other producers at the network have forgotten that fact. Splash debuted with expectations of an interesting and perhaps comedic diving competition show that puts celebrities out of their element and thrusts them into the life of an Olympic diver, Tom Daley. For example, comedian Louie Anderson was a contestant on the pilot episode. However, instead of being allowed to showcase his celebrity comedy, he (quite literally) flopped. His belly flop into the pool was so traumatizing he could not get out of the pool without assistance and even injured his ribs.
Rather than allow Louie to present his humor and comedy about the situations, producers unfortunately turned it into a story of inspiration. The judges had an emotional moment when they labeled Louie’s belly flop as a “swan dive.” Producers seemed to make a ploy for the “finding salvation from falling into a pool” strategy. Some have called these awkward and simply strange cuts as a low point in modern television. While I often write negatively of the formulaic reality programs of American television, Splash is in a whole other realm of awful. Another celebrity, Ndamukong Suh , the defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, was scheduled to make a dive on the show, but ultimately did not even dive. Detroit residents and reality television fans were incredibly disappointed and fumed that “they had lost an hour of their lives.”
To make the show even worse, the hosts are incredibly serious and displeasing. The judges, even the “mean British one” have shown emotion at all the wrong times. Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show, had the “honor” of being the first eliminated. Splash is hosted by Joey Lawrence, also of American television fame. Many have called this show an abomination, and the contestants all seem uninterested. Overall, Splash gets a low 1-recliner rating.