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Viva Las Vegas!

Sin, sun, and survival, plus lesbian surfers
By JAMES PARKER  |  June 12, 2007

CURL GIRLS: Riding the stallions of the sea, then having torrid break-ups.

Last week in reality world, it was Vegas, Vegas, Vegas, a slurred mantra of sin, as cagefighters, tanning experts, and heavy-metal escapologists converged on the Gomorrah of the Western desert in greedy pursuit of their destinies. On WORLD EXTREME CAGEFIGHTING (Versus, Thursday), at an event held in the Hard Rock Hotel, welterweight Brock Larson landed a titanic straight left on the chin of Carlos Condit, whose inclination in the blow’s immediate aftermath was to lie down and quietly reconsider some of his life’s major choices. He was prevented from doing so by a kneecap to the nose, a brief chokehold, and a final volley of blows to the face — after which the referee stopped the fight, mere seconds into the first round. “I have a hell of a left,” commented Larson cheerfully afterward, “and if that doesn’t get ya, the right one will.”

The gang from SUNSET TAN (E!, Sunday at 10.30 pm), meanwhile, were at the Palms with mogul George Maloof, scoping out sites for their new salon. Terraces of sleaze rose sparkling around them, and some sort of low-voltage orgy seemed to be permanently in progress — the girl having the ice cube trailed into her cleavage, the whoopings, the circle of sex-congested faces, etc. All a bit much for the fastidious Nick, who began to flicker with discomfort: “My girlfriend definitely wouldn’t approve of this . . . definitely not.” Sensing weakness, a woman with breasts like weapons leaped naked onto his back and began to gnaw his ear. Nick wisely went into a defensive crouch: this one was thick-thighed and sunbed-tawny, she could have had him for breakfast. Is Nick, uh, Vegas material? Manager Devin wasn’t sure: “Dude, this hotel is full of girls like these. I need someone out here in Vegas that maybe doesn’t have a girlfriend, that can party and kick ass for us.”

Mere blocks away, hard-rock illusionist Criss Angel was moving into his new digs at the top of the Luxor, which he represented as the summit of earthly achievement: “My father always said that if you follow your dreams, and your actions speak louder than words, you will accomplish your dreams!” On the third-season premiere of MINDFREAK (A&E, Tuesday at 10 pm), Criss warmed up for his big trick — levitating off the pyramidal tip of the Luxor in a face-frying beam of 42 billion candlepower light — by floating downward through the hotel’s enormous atrium with an expression of religious transport on his face. Noisy rubes gathered around him as he made his landing, their cellphones raised in tribute. “Whether you’re a believer or not,” said Mindfreak consultant Justin “Bro” Gilbert, “Criss Angel is always pushing the boundaries.” Later, Criss consented to be bound in a chair and thrown into a seething jacuzzi by Duane “Dog” Chapman, of Dog the Bounty Hunter fame. One minute passed . . . two minutes . . . “Come on, brother, escape!” urged the Dog mildly, his peruke of starched hair whiffling in the desert breeze. Three minutes . . . Criss’s foot appeared above the water. A man wearing goggles stuck his head into the bacterial murk: “I can’t see him!”

Over on the Discovery Channel, English boy adventurer Bear Grylls backflipped off a chopper into the ultramarine waters of the Pacific, swam two miles to a desert island, scaled a cliff, descended through the root system of a banyan tree, and finally found a hospitable little cove, where he subsisted for a few days on coconuts and tiny fish (MAN VS. WILD, Friday at 9 pm). A juicy turtle passed within harpoon range, but Bear courteously forwent a feast on account of the turtle’s position on the endangered-species list. Both Bear and Criss, as they go about their respective tasks, make a selection of animalistic grunts and coughs. Shinning down the coconut tree seemed particularly hard on Bear, who grimaced against the chafing bole and warned the viewer against it “as a bloke.”

Then he built himself a raft of bamboo rods lashed together with hibiscus bark and put to sea, where a pair of dead-eyed tiger sharks cruised bleakly around him for a spell. Educational stuff: did you know that waves come in sets of seven, with the bigger ones at the end? The lesbian surfers on CURL GIRLS (Logo, Monday at 10 pm) probably do. These gals ride the stallions of the sea, flirt and collide, and then wander the beach having torrid break-ups. It’s good clean fun, the sort of show in which every character is on a muscular private crusade of fulfillment: “I’m very competitive, a total bad-ass . . . ”; “I live a very creative urban life . . . .” Reality TV seems to be self-selecting in this regard, encouraging and rewarding every tendency toward blowhard individualism. Just once, wouldn’t it be nice to hear someone say, “Me? Oh, I’m useless. No idea at all. If I walk out of the door wearing matching socks, that’s a dynamite day for me.”

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  Topics: Television , Oprah Winfrey , Criss Angel , Bear Grylls ,  More more >
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