“Culture Clash,”by Greg Calhoun

Apr 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Prose

In the wake of “Slumdog Millionaire,” the networks have unveiled an international buffet of pilots battling to follow up on the movie’s unprecedented success.   TV Guide was given a sneak-peek, so pick up the remote and punch your ticket for these spicy hopefuls:

Pimp My Rickshaw (MTV)

Ridin’ in style isn’t just for the gangsters anymore.   West Coast Customs is going global.   Their souped-up chariots will be hitting the streets of Hanoi in a big way after the traditional man-powered taxis get mad makeovers courtesy of Xzibit and his crew.   Prepare for ready-to-serve Cup o’ Noodles, platinum chopsticks, and spoilers so raw you’ll break your jaw.   Call ahead for takeout – you won’t want to leave when this show gets rolling.

Biggest Loser: Dubai (NBC)

You’ve seen gas prices plummet at the pump, but now watch as the men behind the bottomed-out barrel fight to see whose wallet will be lightest.   Tempers will burn and secretaries will sizzle as dollars disappear quicker than your 401k.   Spend your summer with “Biggest Loser: Dubai,” it’s the safest investment in town.

Refugee Gladiators (NBC)

No Hulk Hogan, no problem.   This retooled version of the show finds a different source of desperation.   If you’re tired of the same old romance novel at the same old beach, then look no further than “Refugee Gladiators” for this season’s top guilty pleasure.   In these head-to-head athletic contests, the winner eats and the loser watches.   Set your DVRs – refugees will start earning their rights Wednesday in primetime.

Russia‘s Next Top Executive (CW)

Ever wanted to boss around a country?   Or be the world’s most important puppet?   That’s just the chance these Average Iosefs will have when Putin begins the search for the next Pinocchio to join his staff and the running to become president.   Nothing good lasts and neither can Medvedev, so join Putin as he prepares for the future.   Be warned – this is not “The West Wing.”   With episodes like “To Kill a Journalist” and “How to Lose Chechens and Alienate People,” this show has the grit to make your presidential dreams come true every Thursday.

Most Extreme Immigration Challenge (Spike)

Spike is heading South of the Border with its newest reality offering.   The wackiness remains, but this time Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano have teamed up with the U.S. Government to allow one lucky winner an escorted trip to the Land of the Free.   Brass balls, boulders, and big dominoes have never been tackled with such enthusiasm, so turn off your Blackberries and turn on the only show stuffed with more fun than a piñata.   Saucier than a Spanish soap and hotter than a habanero, “Most Extreme Immigration Challenge” is sure to steam up the ol’ water-cooler.   Plus, you won’t want to miss the only show with a passport on the line.

There you have it – no need to dust off the beach towel or gas up the boat, because TV has never been better than it will be this summer.   Getting culture from your couch – what more could you want?


Greg Calhoun is a Jesuit Volunteer living in Cleveland, OH.   He operates an intentional living blog with a not-so-creative title – intention – (http://bewithintention.blogspot.com/) when he isn’t coordinating volunteers to pass out clothes and food to people in need.   He has no books forthcoming, but don’t worry, he will sound a trumpet and take to the streets when he does.

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