Once again, History’s Top Shot shows a class and production value that sets it apart from all the competition on tonight’s finale of the first iteration of Top Shot All Stars.
If you’ve ever watched the show, you know it stands out as a reality show unlike any other. It lacks the faux, manufactured drama of other shows. Rather than leave the outcome to some prissy band of critics (ala Top Chef, or Master Chef) this show is all about the shooting. That means that if the contestant shoots better than other competitors in a variety of marksmanship challenges (including with primitive weapons like crossbows or atlatls), he/she survives to the next round.
Perhaps it is this objective approach that cuts down on the catty infighting among contestants that usually characterizes reality shows. But maybe the absence of ratings-grabbing drama is also attributable to the character of the people who tend to avail themselves of their Second Amendment rights. These people simply tend to be solid, level-headed types who just about anyone would like to have as their friends.
Even the lefty Slate.com can’t help but like them:
If…you watch reality television for the screaming matches and crazy eyes, then you will hate Top Shot, because there’s none of that here…The contestants all live together in a house, but all they ever seem to do there is cook dinner together and gather to salute those contestants who were eliminated. ‘I’ve never seen sportsmanship like this,’ Donaldson said to the remaining contestants last episode, and it’s true: the camaraderie and respect between the Top Shot shooters seems to be more genuine than on any other reality show I’ve ever seen.
For people like me, who neither own a gun nor know very many people who do, the show helps counteract some of the most extreme, uninformed stereotypes that many liberals and urbanites have about ‘gun guys.’ The show clearly demonstrates something that often gets lost in the heat of the gun control debate: that gun owners aren’t all crazy survivalists or slavering right-wing fanatics. A lot of them are just reasonable, responsible sportsmen who enjoy shooting guns because shooting guns can be a lot of fun.
Conrats to this season’s winner, Phil Morden. He earned his victory, and that’s something we can all be proud of. Morden is no professional shooter, nor is he even a military veteran (unlike the vast majority of other contestants). He’s just an average American guy exercising his rights, and having a lot of fun along the way.
Top Shot returns next spring on The History Channel.