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roller derby

You’ve got to give it to A&E for trying something new in the way of reality shows and sporting events. Sure, Roller Derby is nothing new, and the thought of beautiful women skating around in short shorts and beating on each other should get any warm-blooded American man on his feet, but the show fails to capture most of the excitement I’m sure the matches are lush with.

The program is typically split into two parts, the first 20 minutes focuses on the two teams who will be competing in about a week’s time and how the players interact with their families, competitors, and each other on and off the derby rink. This is where the show falls into the same curse as failed projects like FOX’s The Casino, you just don’t really care for the characters when they aren’t being tested to eat monkey testicles or participating in an amazing race.

This isn’t to say the people participating on the show aren’t interesting, that’s far from the point, but the show has constantly billed them as the average-girl-next-door with a day job and that’s really what’s just outside your living room window, the girl next door going to work. The producers try to bring us into the lives of a focuses individual during the course of an episode (usually one or two from each team) in order to add some extra baggage to the win or loss, but these typically don’t increase the interest level by much without sitting down and being able to watch ever episode in the series.

The second half of each episode focuses on the actual Roller Derby match previewed in the previous segment. For the uninitiated the two announcers, who look suspiciously out of place, go over the rules of scoring points. As the match goes on through four quarters the editing makes it usually seem a lot closer that it might be, but there’s plenty of wipe-outs and girl-on-girl bashing in the latter 20 minutes of each episode.

With the plethora of reality shows on TV today, it’s nice to see something that isn’t a complete rip off from the three or four successful ones, but in all actuality, the genre is finally starting to mature to the point where you really have to stand out to get noticed. Rollergirls stands out in the fact it’s the only place to see Roller Derby on TV, but it also throws itself under the bus by underutilizing that fact and instead focuses on the everyday lives of the individuals.

The show is interesting, and it won’t bore you to tears, but like the famous word’s of The Guide it’s simply “mostly harmless.” You’ll watch it, and you might even enjoy yourself, but after it is said and done, you’ll have forgotten about it in a week if you’re not a die hard fan of Roller Derby or know someone on the show.

Rollergirls airs on A&E, check your local listings for channel,