I’m starting this post with this image from MALBA (Modern Art something something Buenos Aires) because this is what I kept wishing would happen to me on Tuesday night. I was wishing that I would be shot and killed because then I could have escaped the hellacious anti-brain monstrosity that is Showmatch, the number one program in Argentina. Let me explain.
Thomas, my roommate/superstar DJ, has an agent whose day job is doing sound stuff for Showmatch. The agent gave Thomas some free passes for the live taping so he invited me to come check it out with him. Even though Thomas described it as like “Dancing With The Stars with less dancing,” I couldn’t turn down an opportunity to visit an Argentine television studio and watch them tape their top-rated program. Even if the show sucks, that’s not an opportunity that comes along very often. But oh dear God, does Showmatch suck. Suck doesn’t even begin to describe it.
So you know when you’re up late and channel surfing and you come across some wacky crap on Univision? There’s midgets in monkey suits running around and it’s maybe a game show but you have no idea because it’s in Spanish and there’s just a lot of noise and it looks really stupid? Okay, so Showmatch is like that except more boring and much worse. So much worse. It’s like Dancing With The Stars in that there’s a little bit of dancing, but mainly it’s this really rich dude named Marcelo or something who is not only the host, but he also owns the goddamn building where the television studio is. So Marcelo is this rich dude and he talks with the dancers before they do really boring, uninventive routines and then he kills time and talks to the audience. And the show is like 3 hours long. And that’s pretty much it.
When we got there, Thomas got pulled away to sit in the control room because that’s what happens when you’re a superstar DJ. Artur, the husband of my boss at my internship, and I were left in the studio where there are no seats, just crappy bleachers where you stand, and so we stood in the back behind excited Argentines that had brought signs to wave in case the camera showed them. The show started with a lame dance routine by the back up dancers, and then there were two routines by different couples that used the metal ball you see in this photo. Well, actually it’s the metal ball hanging from the ceiling with the black cloth over it but they’re the same thing so you get the idea. But the dance routines were unimpressive. I’ve seen better dances in burlesque routines and I’m not even talking good burlesque routines. I’m talking shitty ones. Showmatch = worse than bad burlesque. That’s saying something.
After the dancing, Marcelo talked to two babes who I think were mother and daughter – the room was echo-y so I couldn’t understand any of the Spanish – and then some random 18-year-old kid who didn’t speak Spanish and just stood there with his arms crossed. Marcelo talked to this kid for literally 45 minutes while the kid stood there and did nothing. I was so bored I played Sudoku on my phone because there was absolutely nothing worth paying attention to. And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, they did a “Marton de Gay.”
I don’t have photos, but basically they brought out some pink ramps and dog agility obstacles and then Marcelo and some of the gay judges put on really ugly sparkly high heel boots and wigs and ran around on them. It was the most offensive thing I’ve ever seen and not in a making fun of gay people way, but in a so excruciatingly inane and stupid that it’s an affront to human culture way. It was worse than the fake TV shows they watch in Idiocracy. And after they finished, confetti fell from the ceiling and all the judges and Marcelo and everyone had a dance party. It was the biggest, weirdest zoo crew I’ve ever seen. There was literally a Michael Jackson impersonator, a Spiderman, a ton of random babes, and other people and they were all wearing novelty sunglasses and big sparkly Lollapalooza hats and just whatever garbage you could find at a Spirit Halloween store. It made Of Montreal’s stage show look like high art.
I assumed this dance party scene was what they did while the credits rolled, but after three songs Artur and I realized it was actually just another part of the show and was probably going to go on for half an hour so we left. Oh, and the music! I forgot about the music! For 85% of the show, they played a 30 second loop of LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” with the sound guy rapidly raising and lowering the volume like an annoying kid fucking with the radio. That was just happening in the background the entire time. They changed the music to actual songs for this “fiesta.” Also in the zoo crew were two middle school age kids with down syndrome, a boy and a girl, wearing nice church clothes. When I mentioned to Thomas later that these two kids were the only people who had a legitimate excuse for liking Showmatch he told me that Marcelo and everyone got them to make out after I’d left. Fucking Christ.
So in conclusion, I’m well aware that America has some low-brow trash we try to pass off as television but even Rock of Love:Teen Mom Edition or whatever is better than Showmatch. Sitting through Showmatch made me lose respect for Argentina as a country and a culture and the only reason I still have hope is that all of my Argentine friends that I’ve told have reacted with utter horror, confusion and dismay as to why I went. They don’t get Showmatch either, thank God. I would rather get kicked in the dick than see Showmatch again.