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'Top Shot' is gunning for a spot in my heart

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Summer TV can sometimes feel like a largely joyless tundra of nothing, save for the rare delights of True Blood, Drop Dead Diva, and a few others. But I have a new obsession that’s, uh, shooting holes in that theory: The History Channel’s Top Shot, a marksmanship reality contest show that is, in a word, amazing.

Firearms experts — military snipers, former SWAT members, historical-weapons enthusiasts — face off in challenges designed to make, er, shooting guns look like fun. (Pssst. Spoiler: It is fun!) This week’s elimination challenge had two contestants strapped into a zipline, firing a pistol on their way down a hill! Last week, the targets exploded when struck! When voting on whom to eliminate, contestants shoot holes in a bullseye with someone’s name on it!

To be fair, the show is awful, too: It’s overproduced, too drawn-out, and the camera work leaves a lot to be desired — can we not get steady shots of the targets, please? Must every hit be in slow motion? Why are all the contestants so faux-noble? And why can’t every challenge be individual, instead of on arbitrary teams? Ugh.

I can’t write about a gun show [kisses biceps] without at least acknowledging the question of gun control, so I’ll just say that while Top Shot does of course glorify a firearms culture, it does so in a way that’s so remote as to not really be part of the political discourse. One can be pretty gun-averse in general and still get a kick — ho, ho — out of this cheesetastic show.

Have you been watching Top Shot, PopWatchers? I’m crossing my fingers for a skeet challenge. What about you?