Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Top Shot and the evolution of George

You guys watch Top Shot? Beefcake's big into guns so we've been watching that for the past two seasons. It's this show on History where military guys, rednecks and the occasional golf pro compete to see who's the best marksman.

I don't really care about the guns - I'm more interested in the political dynamics between the competitors. This season there was this golf pro who had the stupidest stance every single time he went up to shoot something, but won over and over again, much to the chagrin of every other shooter in the competition. He was really annoying but damn if he wasn't a fucking savant with a weapon.

The host is annoying as fuck. He never shuts up and his teeth are like creepy white goblins that threaten to leap out between his tiny lips and chomp their way across my living room. But anyway.

What really interested me this season was George. George is a sniper instructor and a douche. He uses words like "failboat" with wild abandon and constantly talks about how awesome he is at everything. Beefcake and I regularly groaned at the television when he went on one of his bragging tirades. He was a great villain after the golf guy started proving that he knew how to shoot and everybody started picking on him. George is a great shooter and he knows it. You'll rarely find a better reality competition show villain than a guy who's really good at the talent at hand and knows it and won't shut up about it. You really want that guy to get his comeuppance.


Then in the final episode, we learned what everybody wanted to do with the money. One guy wanted to pay for his kid's final year in private school and the other guy wanted to send his kids to college. George wanted to buy $100,000 worth of guns. What a douche.

The guys started shooting. They got to pick the weapon and the target and the distance, and the guy who wanted to send his kids to college missed every shot. So up goes George. If George hits this shot, he goes to the final round and knocks the other guy out of competition. If George misses this shot, the other guy gets another chance at that $100 grand.

So George chooses a gun he knows the other guy can shoot, a HUGE target, and a short distance. And he misses.

George threw the competition.

And I thought, holy shit. I hated this guy. He was a selfish, egotistical prick. All he cared about was winning, and then suddenly after weeks of living with these honorable guys and becoming their friends, George learned that his ego could take a back seat to someone who needed the money more. George easily could have won the competition had he not thrown himself on the grenade.

It's one of the things I tell kids all the time when we talk about character development. Contrasts. All people have surprising elements about themselves that nobody would expect. Everyone is the opposite of himself, even if it's only in this one little area. Life proves that to be true all the time. Here's surprisingly honorable George.

It's like they wrote it that way. It's reality TV, so there's always the chance that they did, but I don't think so.  I think George grew a little bit that day. Sometimes reality shows try to force a story arc with music and editing. This story just unfolded all by itself. I thought that was cool.


  1. Anonymous5:31 AM

    Did you ever think that maybe George was a stand up guy BEFORE that moment? Your version of the story has him as a douche from birth. I doubt people like that just decide one day to pass up on 100k. You think that HE has an ego? How about some lady who has a blog and lets everyone know up front that you wont go out with them. My brother serves with George and I know for a fact he is a good guy since long before the show.
    MR. B

  2. Anonymous6:40 AM

    And if you don't think reality tv is scripted, you're living in an alternative universe.

  3. Anonymous7:36 AM

    Scripted, yes. Pre-determined winners, no.

  4. Mr. B, I'm talking about his development as a character on the show, and how it mimicked a good character in a story. George may very well have been a great guy all his life, but on the show he made an excellent villain. That's why his change of heart at the end was cool. It was good storytelling, and the fact that it didn't seem forced made it better.

    I let everyone know up front that I won't go out with them because I was constantly getting Match.com type emails from sleazy dudes asking me out.

  5. Great point Emily and well said!


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