The Contender

Everytime I watch The Contender, I think, "The soundtrack sounds like imitation Hans Zimmer."

It turns out that the reason for that is that the music is composed by Hans Zimmer. The theme is bombastic and over the top, but it's appropriate for a Mark Burnett reality show. Download the theme song here. The MP3 is just an extract; if you want the whole intro theme song, take the movie into Quicktime Pro and then extract the sound to an AIFF or WAV file. Use your preferred MP3 player to convert it to MP3 if necessary. It will be playing on my iPod Shuffle the next time I'm working the heavy bag at the gym.

The Contender is entertaining, but the ratings haven't met expectations. The show has one massive problem in the ratings dept.: none of the contestants are women. Not much way around that. By itself, that doesn't have to be a death sentence with female viewers, but the show doesn't offer too much else for women viewers except for each episode's short montage that sketches each of the two fighter's family and roots. The fighters don't engage in the type of catty fighting you see on other reality shows. Instead, they engage in macho cockfighting centered around perceived slights and acts of disrespect. When rivalries converge in a five round match, the show is at its best. Sometimes they don't, and the editors have to manufacture a storyline, e.g. "boxer vs. fighter" or "youth vs. experience". Those episodes drag.

The amount of crying on reality shows astonishes me. It also provides limitless hilarity. Contestants on Survivor start blubbering when they received a postcard from home, as if they'll never see their loved ones again. They live on an island for, what, a month or two if they're lucky to survive that long? This is why I'd make a terrible reality show contestant. My postcard would be from my sister, and it would read: "Hey dorkbutt. I can't believe you're on a reality show. The entire family is embarrassed. Sorry, I have to go, someone just pinged me for a chat." In interviews, I'd bemoan my lack of access to the Internet, Cubs box scores, and movie theatres. Not much drama there.

Boxers on The Contender weep when interviewed about their wife and daughter. Their emotional breakdowns are a bit more understandable since most of them box for a living and will probably fade into obscurity, unable to make a living in the sport. Still, and I do feel bad about it, I can't help laughing everytime another tough boxer starts sniffling. And look at those goofy grins on Sugar Ray and Sly in the banner above! Okay, now I'm crying.