Picks and Pans Review: On Top All Over the World

UPDATED 04/22/1985 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 04/22/1985 at 01:00 AM EST

Syndicated (Check local listings)

One thing you have to say for Robin Leach—among the many things that could be said and the few that could be printed—is that the guy has gall. Every week he appears on TV in his Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But does he hide his head in shame? No: He turns around and makes more shows. One special a few months ago followed celebs on lavish tours of the Third World—how to eat well in Africa, that sort of thing. His last Lifestyles special was a "salute to the world's best," two hours of shameless plugs for overpriced hotels, cruise ships and spas delivered by Leach himself, that rare man who can make a British accent sound oily. At the end of that extravaganza, he offered videotapes of the show for $24.95. It was amazing enough to think that anybody would have watched the show for free; that anybody would want to watch it again and pay for the pain is beyond mortal imagining. Now comes On Top All Over the World, a look at entertainment in other lands. "In any language," says a narrator in a breathless intro, "it's glamorous, it's exciting, it's pure entertainment." It's shlock. This time Leach isn't the host. Instead, the emcees are producer Stephen J. Cannell, that purveyor of pulp video who brings you Hunter and Riptide, and Morgan Brittany, whose voice sounds too twinky even for Entertainment Tonight. They pop in and out of a disjointed slop of clips from foreign TV shows and commercials—some of them interesting—and outtakes from celebrity interviews. To make the show seem factual, lists of the Top Five this or that are flashed on the screen. For instance, among the top five shows in Japan, you're told without translation, is Kinchan No Dokomade Yaruno! Bet you can win Trivial Pursuit with this. Then you're treated to clips of a Japanese game show that features pigs eating off of bikinied women's bodies and lizards trying to lick contestants' faces. Leach & Co. call it "the worst television program in the world." Now that's a case of the pot calling the kettle metal. That's gall.

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