“Holey Moley” is one of the dumbest shows on TV. I like it. A lot.
No, this combination of miniature golf and an over-the-top Japanese game show is never going to win any Emmys. It’s silly in the extreme. Downright dopey. Absurdly fun. Which is exactly what the show intends.
Each episode of “Holey Moley” (Thursdays, 7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4) features eight contestants. They face off in pairs — the winners of the four first-round holes advance to the semifinals; the winners of the semifinals face off in the final. It’s one hole at a time, but these are not your average miniature golf obstacles. In addition to the actual putting, they include added challenges that end up with the contestants getting slammed into the water in highly embarrassing (and amusing) ways. Or set on fire. Or sent sliding down slippery slopes. Or (electrically) shocked.
The best part is that while all this is happening, Joe Tessitore (a sportscaster) is doing play-by-play and Rob Riggle (a comedian) is doing color commentary. And they are — no joke — one of the greatest teams on television. Their chemistry is amazing, and Riggle is hilarious.
(There’s also a sideline reporter — Jeannie Mai — but she generally doesn’t get much screen time.)
Maybe the best part of the show is when Riggle gets Tessitore to crack up. And in Season 2 of “Holey Moley,” he gets help with that from one of the holes, titled “Uranus.”
The contestants have to hit the ball up and around a huge representation of the planet. One contestant — Utahn Mei Brennan — aced the hole in an episode a few weeks ago, leaving her opponent to try to do the same.
“I’ve never seen this much pressure around Uranus,” Riggle deadpanned, causing Tessitore to break up.
And when the ball got jammed on that same hole in a subsequent episode,, Riggle asked, “Did it get stuck in Uranus?” — cracking Tessitore up again. “Can somebody reach up in Uranus and get it?” Riggle asked, as Tessitore threw his pen up in the air and, through gasps of laughter, begged Riggle to stop. “I just don’t want Uranus to get clogged,” Riggle added.
Is it sort of childish? Sure. Is it funny? Absolutely!
“They make the show fun,” Brennan said. “That’s why, when it aired, it was fun to hear what they were actually saying.”
While they’re competing, contestants can’t hear the pair’s commentary. Most of the contestants are mildly mocked — but it’s all in good fun, and they all appear to be having fun, win or lose.
“It was a blast!” Brennan said.
She said she’d “never heard of” the show until producers reached out to her on Instagram. She watched clips of “Holey Moley’s” first season on YouTube “and it just looked really fun. It looked really crazy, too.”
The former Northridge High and Dixie State golfer won all three rounds of her episode. First up was the “Distractor,” with a drumline pounding away and cymbals crashing in her ear. “My right ear was ringing afterward because it was so loud,” Brennan said.
Next was “Gopher It,” in which she had to ride a mechanical gopher. (You know — like a mechanical bull.)
And then “Uranus,” where she hit that hole-in-one that thrilled Tessitore, Riggle and 4.1 million viewers. It was, she said, her greatest moment ever with a golf club in her hand.
“I’ve never gotten a hole in one on an actual golf course,” Brennan said. “So I would rate that as No. 1.”
That shot set her up for the win and a spot in the “Holey Moley” season finale in mid-August, when she’ll have a chance to meet series creator/executive producer Stephen Curry — who’s appeared mostly in animated form this season — and compete for $250,000.
(OK, she’s already competed for that prize. The show filmed in late February and early March, finishing shortly before the coronavirus pandemic shut down almost all TV production. So Brennan knows if she won — but she can’t tell us.)
Brennan said she’d encourage anyone who has the opportunity to compete on “Holey Moley.” She has no regrets about agreeing to be on the show.
Well, maybe just one regret. She wishes she’d had a chance to compete on one more hole on the “Holey Moley” course.
“The one that I actually wanted to do was the one where they light you on fire,” Brenna said. “I think that would be really cool.”