Saturday, September 10, 2011

Coming soon to reality TV: jousting

Is jousting the next big thing on reality TV?

That's what people were saying over the weekend at the 35th annual Scottish-Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park.
"Jousting is the next big thing on reality TV."
That's right. Jousting, as seen in movies such as "The Adventures of Robin Hood," "A Knight's Tale" and "Court Jester," is making a comeback.

Here's an article in New York Magazine about the History Channel's proposed jousting show:
The History Channel is taking a cue from Game of Thrones and putting together a jousting-competition series, Full Metal Jousting. "It's sixteen guys and they're gonna knock the crap out of each other," vows the show's executive producer. Fully armored competitors will charge at each other on horses "bred for warfare," and "someone's going to get hurt." If that sounds appealing, and you're "proficient with horseback riding while simultaneously performing physical activities requiring hand-eye coordination," then this is the casting notice of your dreams. Last summer, the New York Times wondered if jousting was "the next extreme sport," and now it seems the answer is "well, sort of."
For awhile there -- 400 years or so -- jousting had fallen out of favor. Guys kept getting killed and some of them were the knights and nobles who made up the majority of professional jousters. It would have been O.K. if the rabble was getting killed. They were, after all, expendable. But when the King of France (Henry II) had a broken lance puncture his brain -- a fatal wound -- that was enough. 

No nobles in the lists Saturday at Fairgrounds Stadium in Estes Park. There was a guy who was a martial arts champion from Utah and a young man from Texas whose father is in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. But no Earl of Cumberland or Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland. 

There were lots of cameras. Handheld cameras, cameras buried in the ground, cameras embedded into the tips of lances.

It was fun watching fully-armored men charge each other on horseback. Lances shattered. Jousters fell to the ground.

This will make great reality TV.

Now only if we can get Snooky fitted with armor, a lance and a big horse...

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