ABC’s “Splash” is off and flopping… in a good way, of course. With its blend of semi-celebrities sharing their personal lives and awkwardly embracing the law of gravity in their best swim attire – and hosted by an orange-haired Joey Lawrence doing his best Ryan Seacrest, it’s exactly what you probably expected. Except who knew there would be so many Olympians on it?
David Boudia, fresh off of winning gold in the 10-meter men’s diving at the London Games, is one of two judges on the show. His fresh-faced, friendly approach to judging makes him the good cop to former Australian Olympian and current performance director for USA Diving, Steve Foley, who is a little less forgiving in his critiques.
A surprise addition was soccer star Brandi Chastain, who stepped in as a replacement for Chuy Bravo, Chelsea Handler’s late-night co-host, who apparently broke his heel goofing off during taping of the first episode. Not surprisingly, three-time Olympic medal winner Chastain had a strong first performance; Boudia and Foley applauded her hurdle approach to her initial dive — the first such approach of the competition — and graded her accordingly. She went on to eliminate Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh in a dive-off, outshining the giant man with her crisply executed inward dive.
But the biggest Olympic name of all on the show? Four-time gold medalist Greg Louganis, who is training the athletes. He’s about as good as it gets, unless you’re Kendra Wilkinson, in which case you storm out of practice after your legendary coach accuses you of faking a fear of heights — for the cameras.
We hope next week’s episode has a little less drama and a couple more cannonballs. And Tom Hanks.