It appears that Ken isn’t the Ultimate Chapmion after all. He’s just a good natured, considerate, share-the-weath kind of supernerd. With his $2 million tournament win, Brad passes Ken as the winningest TV game show contestant in history. Ken moves to #2. I’m not sure I can handle that kind of fluctuation. Clearly they’re both smart; who’s to say who is better than the other? Let’s just create a new show, The Ken and Brad Show, a perpetual heads-up match between the two champions. Being smart would become cool again. The nerd would reign supreme.
Until then, Sarah and I look to other shows for our obsessions. Sarah had her America’s Next Top Model for a while, a show so banal that my eyes would attempt to gnaw their way out of their sockets anytime I tried to watch. (Which was not often, thank god.) Thankfully, the show’s over. Look for the victor, Naima, to entrance all of America from her perch atop the world of modeling. You’ll know her when you see her—she’s the anorexic, over-made-up waif with the pouty, disaffected look on her face.
My latest TV obsession, meanwhile, is something much more wholesome: poker. After accidentally stumbling across a poker show on TV one evening, I set up our TiVo to record anyting with the word “poker” in its title or description. Holy cow is there a lot of poker on TV. Not counting dramatic shows like Tilt, or Regis and Kelly episodes featuring handy hold ‘em tips, there are at least four hold ‘em tournaments airing on TV right now. And that’s just on the few stations we get without premium cable.
The structure of poker shows suits itself nicely for a shot of entertainment while putting away laundry or unwinding before bed. Just a few hands satisfies my poker jones for the day. I can’t say I glean too much strategy from these shows; the pace and the height of the stakes just doesn’t compare with the peanuts we play for. Nevertheless, it’s enjoyable on a vicarious level.
Sarah has also taken to the shows, strangely, since she and gambling have never quite gotten along. I think it’s because of the soap opera/reality show aspect—we see the same characters pop up again and again. The scheming Daniel Negreanu. The stealthy Freddy Deeb. The magical Antonio Esfandiari. The sullen Ted Forrest. The chatty Kathy Liebert. These people are our new bedtime companions. Will one of them rise to the level of patron saint? The closer Sarah gets to being able to accurately use the phrase “nut flush draw”, the more I believe it’s possible.