Monday, June 20, 2011

The ultimate 'reality': RIP Ryan Dunn ... and "Proving Ground" suspended

UPDATE 6/27/11: G4 announces resumption of Proving Ground in its old slot beginning 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 19 for the other eight unaired eps. Presumably the Star Trek show (see below) will remain as #3 (July 26?). Also, a special Attack of the Show one-hour tribute to Ryan will air just before that first re-airing on July 19.
In these days of broadened horizons here in Trekland, I had meant to start telling you this week about a real gonzo way I was going to be popping up on your TV machine next week. On, of all things, a reality show.

Ryan Dunn's ultimely death this morning in a car crash will delay all that. And remind us all, once again, How Fleeting It All is. As well as, it must be said in truth, what happens when you take chances and live perhaps too much on the edge. For that's right where Ryan lived, and my heart goes out to his family and that whole crazy crew that loved him for it.

Now, I'm hardly a fan of the reality "genre"—not to mention the whole Jackass franchise that made Ryan a star. But his new show Proving Ground that premiered on G4 just last Tuesday—a bit of Jackass meets Mythbusters that he co-hosts with vidgame vixen Jessica Chobot—needed an authority from a certain genre franchise for one of its theme shows. And who am I to argue?

It's not immediately mentioned on the brief G4 online obituary, but a G4 publicist tells me today that the completed series' air schedule is indefinitely suspended, until producers decide what and when to resume. That's why I can't show any more of the photo above.

No, it's not exactly my cup of tea, but those guys had their filmed-insanity bit down and were in the middle of expanding it for this series. And Ryan, for all his punkedness, was completely genial to me—including his amazement that somebody could even work as a Star Trek consultant... until I reminded him just what it was that he did, and we laughed.

That's why I'm in shock, an odd kind of shock, on the purely human level. Here—not like De Kelley or Jimmy Doohan or Marc Lenard, or even my dad—is someone I was just seeing a couple months ago in their prime, and now gone. This feeling now? Well, cliches are cliches because they ARE true. The word "fleeting" seems to have been invented just for this type of occasion, this helplessness.

But our meet-up was just a minor blip on Ryan's radar. I know his loss is really hitting hard on all those he worked closely with, then and now. It was the nature of the Jackass-centered, everyone-mix-it-up crew on the new show. My heart goes out to all of them left behind, as well.

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