Screen Savors: Stupid people on tape

What do you do when the World's Most Amazing Videos turn out to be anything but? Well, one could drive a tank through the streets of San Diego...

television 88 (photo credit: )
television 88
(photo credit: )
These days it seems like anyone with a video camera and half a brain can get on TV. Exhibit A: World's Most Amazing Videos, Star World's voyeur's dream that's heavy on high-definition horrors but low on anything approaching good sense. It's hard to imagine who gets to pick out these lovely video clips, which range from people having slightly unfortunate accidents - we're still loving the loud O-O-O-H-H-H! from the audience as gymnast Brian Meeker ran full-force into his pommel horse - to more violent footage, including huge fires or horrible plane crashes. Thankfully, however, the creators of this NBC reality TV garbage, airing on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. and on various other times on AXN, at least warn us that "Due to the graphic nature of this program, viewer discretion is advised." Hint: when there's a warning like that ahead of a program, it's time to change the channel fast, people. Yes, folks, NBC promises what's ahead is mayhem at its most malicious. Oh god, now we're even beginning to sound like the Amazing Videos writers, all graduates of Hyperbole U. The movie gigs must have been hard to come by for actor Stacy Keach, who narrates this awful collection of old amateur videos with a script that's so overbearing you want to just mute the audio, especially where Stacy assures us that we are seeing "PEOPLE WHO FACE THEIR MOST DESPERATE HOURS AND LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT!!!" Wait, we thought that was the videotape of our cousin Yitzi's bar mitzva... Just in case you were wondering whether the people in these videos could possibly be so stupid as to get into some of these weird situations - like dumb ass daredevil Matt Coulter, who after crashing while trying to jump his vehicle over a steamboat in Cornwall decides to do it AGAIN ("I'll just go for it and see what happens") - Keach assures us that "EVERYTHING YOU'RE ABOUT TO SEE IS REAL - REAL PEOPLE, REAL DANGER, REAL EXCITEMENT!" In short, REAL IDIOTS. We couldn't help but crack up at the opening bit, featuring a nasty battle between two high school football team mascots, Chief Brave Spirit (Steven Patron) and Vic the Demon (Shane Claybaugh). As the two fought it out on the sidelines, Keach intoned: "The chief has no intention of going on the war path, but the devil made him do it." Groan. But you had to wonder about TV reporter John Gordon, who insisted on doing an up-close report with Pedro, the new police dog, and almost got his nose bitten off for his trouble. Of course, Gordon's incredible awareness as a news gatherer came across in his observation that "when the blood started dripping, I knew there was a problem." Give that man the Edward R. Murrow Award. And let's not forget Keach's closing line summing up the clip: "This is one face-to-face exclusive he'll never forget." Ye gods. Then there are the clever folks in a village in Argentina, who decided to use rotting ore buckets as gondolas to be strung over a gorge as a tourist attraction. "Unbelievably, these relics are now used to carry sightseers over this gorge," noted Keach, whose script is peppered with "amazingly," "incredibly,' or "miraculously." Wouldn't you know it but a man and his daughter got stuck in one of the useless things, but fortunately someone on the scene had a video camera, which filmed the entire rescue. The only saving grace on this turkey was a "Video Classic" featuring footage we'd actually seen before of a tank stolen by a bad guy and driven around the streets of a San Diego neighborhood. We admit it - seeing a tank storming over RVs and vans and knocking down utility poles while police gave chase was way cool, as was watching a matador get his come-uppance at a bullfight. Unfortunately, however, the tank bit was about the only decent clip on the program, made in 1999 but which seemed to feature videos made years earlier. Afterwards, World's Most Amazing Videos deteriorated into one of a plane crash that had been hyped at the beginning of the show, but ended up simply being a staged accident to test a flame retardant. "Miraculously, no one was killed or injured," noted Keach. Miraculously we'd survived an hour of watching this nonsense, which is far outstripped these days on Web sites like, where you can watch really great videos featuring insane kittens or people who can do weird stuff with their eyebrows, which are far more entertaining. Incredibly, TV video compilations like this one - apparently aimed at young, blue collar male audiences who'll watch anything so long as there's enough Coors in the fridge - are still being churned out. And while Keach may implore us throughout the show to "WATCH AGAIN," when it comes to World's Most Amazing Videos, that isn't very likely.