I really had high hopes for Spike TV’s Ink Master when I first heard about it. A tattoo reality show centered around competition made me think it would be something akin to Chopped on Food Network. A tattoo version of Chopped would be a good thing, right? Chopped is pretty well-made and fairly clever. As a viewer, I think the most interesting part is the feedback contestants receive from the judges once the challenges are over.
I thought Spike TV had enough experience with reality programming to do this right–they worked with the UFC to create ‘The Ultimate Fighter‘ show. While Ultimate Fighter gave interpersonal drama way too much airtime, it was still better than the average reality TV trainwreck.
Then I heard Dave Navarro was involved with Ink Masters, and I was suspicious. I get it: they picked a recognizable, douchey ex-rockstar with tattoos to appeal to the average joe. (Personally, I would have gone with Benji Madden–but that’s just me.)
Nevarro aside, they did enlist Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck as judges, and the list of the tattoo artists/contestants was fairly impressive. With that many talented artists involved with the show, I still held onto the hope that this could really be a show the tattoo industry and community would be proud of.
The promo clips are starting to pop up online, and I have to say, I’m a little concerned. Instead of following the Chopped model like I’d hoped, this looks like typical bad reality programming… What an awful feeling. (Watch the clip below to see what I’m talking about.)
Even after seeing clips like these, I hope there’s going to be some good that comes out of this show. Like I mentioned above, there’s a number of really talented artists involved. Maybe it can shine the light on some other artists, as well as shops that really deserve the attention? Better yet, I’ve heard that the artists talk openly about some important tattoo common-sense subjects, like why you should tattooed in a shop instead of someone’s kitchen.
I realize I’m grasping at straws, here. I just don’t want to believe every episode is going to be like the clip below. I can’t say I’m confident Spike TV will air the portions of the show that would actually benefit the general public, but I could be wrong.
At this point, I don’t know what to expect of a full episode… but I guess we’ll find out tonight at 10pm.