Maya and friends
One of Adam's favorite shows to watch on TV is "Pokemon Hoso"--a weekly three hour long festival of fun and entertainment. Part game show, part talk show, and part talent show, you never know what the Kanto Trio are going to be doing on any given Saturday. During the week, there's Pokemon Hoso on the Go, which is a thirty minute long version of the show filled with games, performances and cartoons.
Brock is the leader of the group, and the master of ceremonies. He's usually the one that will interview the stars, call people down from the audience to play a game, or explain the rules to one of said games. Sometimes, he'll spin a yarn or play a song himself.
Misty (or the Lady in Red, as she is known among fans, because of her outfit) is the one in charge of keeping time and providing commentary on the games if needed. If a game ends in a tie or a photo finish, she will administer the tiebreaker or call down Hosovision (the TV where instant replays are shown) to decide the winner. But the sketches are where she really shines--her over the top characters are fan favorites.
Ash is the one to operate devices (such as the crank to their version of the pieface game, known as Sweet Suspense), award prizes, and play the human target (Hoso fans love keeping track of how many different items he will be hit with over the course of one show) Ironically, of all the times he has played the lab Rattata for "Sweet Suspense", he has never been hit with the pie--yet. (Hoso fans are eagerly awaiting the day when this happens). But like Misty, he's also a great actor, as well as a fine dancer and instrumentalist.
Adam typically hates "Sweet Suspense" and the messier games--he's more into the talent demos, skill games, and the sketches than messes. (although he tells me he would be fine if the only mess involved was water)
So one day, we heard that Hoso was going to be taping at our local TV station. Adam was stoked. "I want to see Brock tell stories, play a game or two, see bands...." he called, listing the different things on his fingers as he poured himself some cereal.
"And maybe see if Ash will ever get hit with the SPLUT?" I added--the SPLUT was what we called the pie in Sweet Suspense, so named because of the sound made when an unlucky child (and sometimes unlucky adult) got a faceful of whipped cream.
"That too--some of my friends say the device is rigged to not go off on him." Adam agreed.
"Remember that Brock says that there is a chance you won't get hit with the SPLUT at all." I reminded him. If someone was lucky enough to not spring the SPLUT, they at least got a Pokemon Hoso T-shirt (sometimes more stuff, if Brock deemed it.) Sometimes, Ash would award a consolation prize to those that got the SPLUT.
"How would you like to be there today?" Dad smiled as he flashed two tickets in our faces. "One of my co-workers was going to go, but he was called into work today, and asked me to give these tickets to someone in his stead. For all I know, you may see Ash get the SPLUT for the first time."
"YAAAAAAA-HOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Adam cheered and hugged Dad.
"Thank you!" I agreed.
We were done with breakfast, dressed, and out the door in a few minutes, Adam was so excited. One quick bus ride later, we found ourselves in the midst of a two hour line into the studio. It moved very quickly, though, and before long a page led us in to the brightly colored set of Pokemon Hoso.
"I can't believe it--we're here on the set of my favorite show!" Adam smiled as he bounced in his chair, anticipating when it was going to come alive in a burst of color, lights, and sound.
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, the familiar bouncy theme song began playing. "Welcome to the show dedicated to fun for all ages!" the female announcer began. "There'll be thrills, chills, and a few spills along the way! So hang up your hat and stay a while, cause it's time for Pokemon Hoso!"
An Applause sign blinked on, so we cheered our loudest as the Kanto Trio charged into the whimsically decorated rainbow colored set. Brock led the way in his signature green, silver, and gold outfit, Misty was next in her trademark red dress, and Ash followed behind her in a royal blue jumpsuit (after pausing to hang a red cap with blue and black Poke Ball design on it on a hat stand)
"Thank you!" Brock called back to us. "We have a great show for you this week, filled with laughs, games, prizes, and some SURprises as well." Laughter echoed through the air at this. "So let's get started with a game, shall we?"
"YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!" Adam's cheer was the loudest.
"Okay! We need three players, so come on down here if you wanna play!" Brock replied--his signature call for contestants in a game.
Two boys and a girl raced to the stage as Ash stepped onto a lit platform that rose up from the main stage. After a little ice breaking banter, Brock explained the rules. "The name of the game is 'Stage Fight'. See, Ash is trying to practice a dance routine, but not everyone likes it. Your job...." he mused as he led the three kids to three ball cannons. "is to try and knock Ash off the platform with these. If you guys can knock Ash off in thirty seconds, you'll get 'The Best of Pokemon Hoso' on DVD. If Ash survives for thirty seconds...well...we'll give you a Pokemon Hoso T-shirt from the prize vault just for playing!" Cheers went up as Ash twirled to avoid a ball from the blue cannon. "Everyone ready? Thirty seconds on the clock, please!" A giant LCD display blipped to life to display 30 seconds. "Ready, set..." He then blew a whistle to start the game.
Some upbeat music began and the crowd roared as balls went flying in all directions. Adam was impressed at how well Ash could dodge the constant barrage of red, blue, and yellow balls. (It was nearly impossible to hear Misty over the noise, so we couldn't hear what was happening). But in the end, the girl operating the red cannon managed to knock Ash off with 7 seconds left, so she won the DVDs.
Adam was mesmerized at every act on the stage--after 'Stage Fight' came a quickie mystery with Falco Dalan, Brock's detective character, followed by a hilarious spoof of an old-timey melodrama (Misty was in fine over the top form as the heroine). Then a band or two came on, followed by a stamping race between a boy and a girl (the boy won).
But after a commercial break, Brock announced "And now, let's go into the audience to choose who will play our next game..." I felt Adam tense up with excitement--the single player games were the most fun, but this was also how they chose who would face the SPLUT in Sweet Suspense.
"Hi there..." Brock smiled as he strolled up to where we were. "Enjoying yourself thus far?"
"Yes!" Adam smiled.
I have to applaud Adam for how well he handled himself as Brock asked the typical icebreaker questions he asked every audience member he talked with--he didn't look nervous at all.
He calmly told us both "Come down here, Adam, and let's see what game is waiting for you in the red zone--your sister can come with you to watch if you want."
"Adam is going to play..." Misty announced as a fanfare went up and the red curtains on the right side of the stage opened to reveal the familiar Sweet Suspense device--a large target with a hole in the bull's eye for a person's face, a catapult with a whipped cream pie already loaded, a dice on a table, and crank off to the left side. "Sweet Suspense!"
The crowd roared, but Adam was frozen in fright. "Do I have to, Maya?" he stammered as Ash manned the crank. His imagination was probably going a hundred miles an hour about what his friends would say if he was the recipient of the SPLUT.
"Don't worry--I have a towel and a spare shirt just in case." I assured him.
"You won't laugh if I get splutted?" he whispered.
"No--I promise." I assured him. That was enough to give him the confidence to approach the Sweet Suspense device.
"Opening night jitters, maybe?" Brock deadpanned as Adam tensely jogged over to his side.
"I don't like getting too messy." Adam explained.
"Well, there is a chance the pie won't launch at all." Brock assured him as a stagehand approached. "If you do manage to dodge the cream bullet, we'll give you a Pokemon doll of your choice from the prize vault and a Creambusters T-shirt...how's that sound?"
"Great!" Adam was beginning to warm up to the idea of possibly being hit with a pie.
"But in order to prove yourself as a Creambuster, you must first dodge the cream!" Brock replied as the crowd roared over a fanfare.
The stagehand led Adam back behind the target to the hole. I stood off camera with a towel and a clean shirt, ready to clean Adam up should he meet the SPLUT.
Once Adam was in place as the pie's target, a tense stinger played as Brock picked up the dice. "The crank will be turned..." He shook the dice in his palm and then let it fall to the table. "Three times!" Cheers went up from the crowd, but Adam heaved a small sigh of relief--he had a 50-50 chance of being hit with the pie.
"Any last words?" Misty asked.
"Please don't laugh..." he stammered, to some laughter. He scrunched his eyes shut, I looked away, and the whole studio fell silent, save for the creaking of the crank as it began to turn and determine Adam's fate.
"He did it!" Brock announced to a triumphant fanfare as Adam joyfully ran out from the target and hugged me on camera, to some 'Aw's from the crowd.
"How sweet--your big sister came prepared just in case your Creambuster training ended in a gooey fashion." Ash smiled as he draped a black T-shirt onto Adam's back.
"But, let's just see how farther the pie needed to go before that happened." Misty suggested as a cardboard drawing of a face appeared in the target hole. She watched Ash give the crank another turn, making the pie hit the cardboard with a SPLUT!
"You succeeded by the skin of your teeth, Adam--that wasn't so bad, was it?" Brock assured Adam.
"I'm glad that's not my face full of whipped cream!" Adam replied to some laughter. He got some applause as we made our way back to our seats.
Overall, we had a fantastic day at the Pokemon Hoso taping--Adam was the hero of his school for facing his fear of the SPLUT and geting a Charmander doll for it. Although he says he'd rather play a much less messier game next time.