Jim Callahan vs. Criss Angel - VIDEO
He started his critique by saying, "I just think it's comical, quite frankly." Now, the good judge/bad judge routine is nothing new to this kind of a show. But then Angel went on to pull two envelopes from his pocket and put both Callahan and, strangely enough, Geller, on the spot, offering a million dollars if they could tell him what was in the envelopes. From there, things continued to go down hill. Watch the video, after the jump.
At first, I had no idea what the hell Angel was doing. Really, this is a stunt that could have been pulled on a number of the contestants. In fact, I'd count it in the same vein as if Callahan had responded, "Why don't you levitate over to the stage and I'll tell you what's in the envelope." Calling a magician -- or a paranormalist -- out after a trick like this is akin to the guy that wants to tell you that wrestling is fake. Yes, we get it. Now quit pissing in our cornflakes.
After reading a bit more about the incident, it seems that the issue at hand is the idea that Callahan is presenting himself as having real abilities. Even if that is the case though, this is not the place and Angel is only working against the show. It just doesn't make any sense to have a show based on performing feats of magic, and then have the guy that works for you say "Fake!"
When the show premiered, Angel led off by saying that the producers asked him to be brutally honest. I'm all for that. And if he wanted to go on about how he thought Callahan's possession performance was over-dramatic, how the falling out of the chair was a bit too much, or even be cross that Hill, an author, spelled 'wheels' wrong, that's fine. But leave the debunking for another time and place.
That's not to say that Angel was completely at fault here. I don't think there are any winners in this fight. Callahan could have handled this much better. I'm sure he's had hecklers before, and will again. Maybe not hecklers with diamond encrusted handcuffs around their necks, but hecklers just the same. Whether he just lost control or it was a calculated move to drum up some publicity for himself, he didn't show himself in the best light.
Of course, another part of the whole mess is the ongoing debate about whether or not the whole thing was set up to begin with. All the interested parties are saying absolutely not, but you can certainly see where the idea comes from. The ratings are heading in the wrong direction, and take a look at that video again. Is Tim Vincent holding Callahan back? Or is Callahan dragging him along? How about that date on the envelope? 10/24? And, most glaringly, NBC is promoting this video with the tagline "Fight!" It will be interesting to see what happens to the numbers next week.