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(Poker) Battle of the (Cable) Network Stars

I just finished watching a Very Special Episode of the World Poker Tour, in which three people from American Chopper were up against three people from Trading Spaces. I think there was supposed to be some implied "Tough Biker Guys versus Foo-Foo Decorators" theme, but it didn't really play out that way.

For one thing, the American Chopper team (Paul Teutul Sr., Paul Teutul Jr., and Mikey Teutul) weren't all tough guys. Mikey is an unrepentant goofball, and he doesn't even build bikes. Maybe he does now; I haven't watched the show in about a year, because I couldn't help noticing that the "confrontations" seemed increasingly staged and the bikes always got done in time. Also, that Christmas chopper was just ugly.

And on the Trading Spaces side, the contestants were Amy Wynn, Joe Farrell, and Carter Oosterhouse. I don't watch Trading Spaces myself (I explained why in a different article on this site, but it got me lots of hate mail, so I'm not linking to it. So there!), but apparently their jobs are "carpenter", "host", and "carpenter". So both teams had two people who work with their hands and one comic relief guy. Although I guess Mikey does have much bigger biceps than Joe. Plus, the hosts (still Vince Van Patten and Mike Sexton, neither of whom I find as entertaining as Dave Foley) kept making these theatrical jokes about Joe, like "He's got show tunes going off in his head" and "Joe Farrell hasn't been this excited since Chorus Line went to Broadway!" I get the general concept behind these jokes, but I'm pretty sure that Chorus Line started out on Broadway. I guess what I'm saying is that I respect their attempt to paint someone as unmasculine, but I wish they'd get their slurs straight.

The poker was pretty much how you'd expect, especially if (like me) you've been watching a lot of Celebrity Poker Showdown. The people at the table who know how to play don't always win. Mikey didn't seem to know whether his cards were good or not, but he was certainly good at bluffing because of that. The players were pretty good sports, though. Maybe that's because they're not real celebrities on the level of, say, Dennis Rodman, who actually stomped off the set of the finale of Celebrity Poker Showdown because he was expected to follow the rules of poker.

I'm glad the various poker shows are embracing the idea of televising bad players. Personally, I find the good players kind of boring; two hours of watching people with excellent poker faces does not make for compelling visuals. Sure, you get the occasional Phil Hellmuth tantrum, but after nine or ten of those, they kind of lose their charm. Me, I'd rather watch famous (or semifamous) people make fools of themselves.


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