TV Recap

Salvage Operation

The second episode of ''Pirate Master'' is so dull that we've come to the rescue with some suggestions for improvement: sharks, stunt guys, and smarter players

MUTINEER MISS Christian couldn't get his mateys to rebel
Image credit: Monty Brinton/CBS
MUTINEER MISS Christian couldn't get his mateys to rebel

''Pirate Master'': The doldrums

Oh gosh, you guys were right: This show is crap. It's not the worst thing on television (as more than a few of you suggested), but it's a definite stinker. I'll admit that I got caught up deciphering the game in last week's premiere. Now that I know how things work on the Picton Castle, I just want to be wowed. Clearly, that footage does not exist.

Let's start with the expedition. Last week I said it wasn't as important as the politics on the ship, but I was wrong. It needs to be visually stimulating if the show is to have any weight. This week's one was, again, just lame. The black crew (led by Captain Cocky, J.D.) and the red crew (who would've been able to name the ship's new captain from their ranks had they found the hidden treasure chest first) jumped over the side of the boat into shark-infested water. Could've been exciting had there been a dorsal fin on the horizon. We were just watching people swim to shore, which is boring. Once the black crew hit land, they ran to find the sabotage, a ''thorny wooden gate'' that slowed down the red crew for approximately two minutes. Then they raced up an incline (again, running's not the best spectator sport) until they came to a snake pit. This is where things should've gotten interesting because the promo for the episode strongly insinuated that someone would get bitten. Nope. ''The injury that could change everything'' was red crew member Joy's knee sprain. (The only thing that injury actually changed was my opinion of Sean, the bartender and newly appointed ship's cook, who carried her for a while) Once they found another clue in the snake pit, the black crew had to use a spoon compass (I so don't even care enough to look that up) to determine what direction to pace in to find the treasure underneath some leaves or something (I also don't care enough to rewind). If this is all real pirates have to do during the day, no wonder Jack Sparrow is an alcoholic.

Tone is this show's main problem. Sometimes it wants to be taken seriously — as when the pirates climb the rigging, raise the anchor, swab the deck, and polish the brass. Other times, it's fine being kitsch: What's better than the captain wearing a coat? The captain wearing a coat while using a black feather pen! I think Mark Burnett should've embraced the cheese and given us a full block of it. Here are some suggestions:

1. Build small mechanical sharks that could prowl the sea during water-based expeditions. If one touches a pirate as he's swimming, his journey is over.

2. Hire someone to create sabotages that look a little more spectacular than a ball of twigs.

3. Pit your pirates against a crew of swashbuckling Hollywood stuntmen instead of each other. Keep 'em on their toes.

4. Have everyone in the cast be in on the joke, and not just J.D. (who you know rehearsed his ''I'm not buying you; I'm rewarding you'' speech to Jay) and Sean (who killed me when he made sure to look into the faces of everyone he could've been voting for before casting his ballot).

5. Also, make sure those people are clever enough to defend themselves at pirate's court. (RIP, Christian. Kendra and Joy, you'll be on the raft soon enough.)

6. For the love of God, costume the entire crew so Christa can be sewn into her bikini top. If I have to see her bosom blurred one more time...

So what do you think? Would you watch the show I'm pitching? Will you keep tuning into this one in hopes of catching Alexis' one-liners, a Louie-orchestrated mutiny, or a Captain Cocky rum bender? Should Cheryl, the assistant district attorney, and Azmyth, the ''rock & roll pirate,'' have been on Survivor instead?

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Originally posted Jun 08, 2007