Among the various gun forums, there have been a lot of discussions about Top Shot, with a lot of people yammering on about how they dislike the show because there’s too much drama, or the contestants suck (undoubtedly compared to the complaintant’s marksmanship skills via keyboard), or that it’s a reality show, or game show, or that the contestants are all jerks, or whatever.
I don’t consider Top Shot to be some of the greatest television ever made (right now, that would be Arrested Development, Firefly, or Deadwood), but it is, week after week, an engaging and entertaining skill-based reality show that caters to my interest in competitive shooting, and has some pretty boss slow-motion footage, too.
Myself and others have spent time defending Top Shot not because it’s brilliant story telling, but because it’s the first shooting-oriented tv show that actually has appeal to people other than shooters and gun owners.
So why this essay now?
The AV Club Review of Top Shot
On the off chance that you aren’t familiar with The AV Club, it’s a spinoff website from The Onion that reviews and discusses pop culture, including film, music, and television shows. Demographically, the site skews heavily towards artsy urbanite twenty-something hipsters.
Still, and all, despite this, in reading the AV Club review of Top Shot, as well as the ensuing comments, there’s a fairly positive overall tone to the whole thing, along the lines of “hey, it’s neat to see a game show based on marksmanship competitions.”
This is the most important thing about Top Shot. It’s packaging and presenting shooting competitions in a way that is palatable to people who’ve never even shot a gun, and they’re coming away from the show with a positive impression of guns, competition, and the people on the show.
Consider it one small sign that this show is helping to break down the preconceived notions that all gun owners are a bunch of psychotic, backwards primitives. Hopefully at least a few viewers will have their political views changed by a show that isn’t political in the least.
Edited to add: Parts of this blog entry were inspired by a similar one written by Caleb Giddings of Gunnuts Media, which can be found on the Cheaper than Dirt website. I thought it was pretty cool to see validation of the points he made in wider media outside of shooting culture circles.