Tonight is the first episode of “Shaq’s Big Challenge” where he helps some overweight middle school kids in their attempts to get healthy and lose weight. There’s a few reasons why I’m tuning in tonight:
- Summer TV programming generally sucks.
- Time-Warner cable sucks, so only about 30% of the channels I like to watch will even tune in. It’s been this way for 2 weeks, and it’ll remain this way until they sends someone out to fix the problem this weekend. (Message to Time-Warner: I’m only a customer with you still because my building won’t allow me to get DIRECTV. I LOATHE you Time-Warner!)
- Shaq is a venerable fountain of comedy, both intentional and unintentional.
- Truthfully, the commercial where Walter farts on Shaq hooked me from day one.
8:56pm: How is this Jim Belushi show still on the air? Who is watching it? (I promise I’m only watching the last 5 minutes because I’m excited about Big Diesel & the Kids.)
8:58pm: Thank goodness I have a Fat Tire and a belly full of Tuesday night tacos. I’m feeling good right now.
9:00pm: “We are losing the battle with childhood obesity! No one is doing anything. Shaq is our man to save the children!” That was the paraphrased intro.
9:03pm: Shaq is going to the governor’s office “butt naked” to make his point. I doubt the validity of this claim.
9:05pm: The first kid, James, eats “fry-burgers” that are “flamingly delicious” and sub sandwiches for dinner. His mom puts two whole sticks of butter in a single bag of popcorn for a snack. My chest is hurting.
9:06pm: Shaq just sang the Cheers theme song! Sorta…But it was AMAZING. “Learn the words black people.”
9:09pm: Kid #2 comes from a Cuban family. He has a problem with “portion control”.
9:11pm: Shaq is a big guy, I know that. But…when he’s not around NBA players, he looks like a building with a mustache and a polo shirt. It’s crazy.
9:14pm: We meet Walter. He plans on making video games. He doesn’t get up from his video game chair to open the door for Shaq. Shaq looks pretty worried about Walter. I think this kid is going to be Shaq’s biggest challenge.
9:16pm: “Dr. O’Neal will rectify the situation.” Everything is under control here. Don’t worry folks. (Walter weighs 280 pounds…for the record that’s only 50ish pounds less than Shaq.)
Programming note: When I put something in quotes, it’s from Shaq unless otherwise noted.
9:19pm: The President’s physical fitness test is coming: pushups, situps, pullups, and running a mile.
9:21pm: Walter is farting on Shaq. Most of the kids can’t do pushups. They are having a lot of trouble with the situps. The Big Personal Trainer is giving the kids a pep talk before the mile run.
9:25pm: The kids didn’t quit on the mile. It took some of them about 20 minutes, but they all finished.
9:29pm: We’re at Shaq’s house. He has one of the cutest kids my girlfriend has ever seen according to the “Awwww…” coming from our couch.
9:30pm: We find out that Shaq’s little boy humps the ground when he does his pushups.
9:33pm: Now comes the doctor’s office…Body Mass Index test, cardio-stress tests, and physicals. The producers are obviously painting a pretty dark picture for us so far.
9:37pm: Apparently ABC is reviving the Candid Camera idea. I’m setting the over-under at the episodes for that one at five.
9:40pm: The kids are diagnosed as morbidly obese. Shaq is telling them that the anger and frustration they’re feeling will be their motivation. “Mama, don’t cry. Dr. Shaq is here.”
9:41pm: The machine apparently can’t calculate Walter…he’s off the charts. Kit is at 50% body fat. The show is taking a turn for the serious. And I feel like an ass if I make any jokes right now.
9:43pm: Go to shaq.abc.com if you want Shaq’s recipes and fun games to keep in shape. I know he’s doing a benevolent thing here and all, but I wonder how much Disney is paying O’Neal for the show.
9:45pm: Which ABC exec was running so short on show ideas that he greenlighted those GEICO commercials to be turned into a full-fledged TV show? Can I have his job? Please?
9:48pm: The nutritionists rules: one fast food meal per week, no sodas, and a food diary. She threw out a bunch of junk food and that made James a very sad boy.
9:50pm: James is narrating day 2 of training and he lets us know that three kids didn’t show up. Shaq’s going to have to bribe these kids or something. Although, it seems hard for them to stay motivated when the Diesel doesn’t show up everyday to join them. He’s mailing it in and we’re not even through the first episode yet. Shades of Shaq’s late Laker career abound.
9:52pm: My favorite part of the show so far: The times when Shaq and his personal trainer have brainstorming sessions in Shaq’s weight room. It’s a real meeting of the minds, rivaling any scholar of our time.
9:57pm: Shaq’s been lied to. His trainer went on a spy mission and found out the kids are slacking at their workouts. “It’s bootcamp time.”
9:59pm: We see a preview of the rest of the season: Shaq takes his anti-obesity crusade to lawmakers and school officials. Kit gets taken away on a stretcher after a strenous workout. Walter can see his toes. Big things are happening.
10:00pm: Shaq plays H-O-R-S-E for James’ food. After making 15-footers and hook shots, James no longer has burgers, subs, or pizza. Why in the hell can’t he make free throws again?
Recap: Well after an hour and a couple Fat Tires, I think this show has some promise. Shaq and his trainer make a good buddy-buddy team to rival Crockett and Tubbs, Starsky and Hutch, and Ben & Jerry. I’ll definitely tune in again next week. I probably won’t blog it, but there’ll be a recap the next morning for you.