TV people are an odd sort. They all drive convertible BMWs. They never eat lunch, yet they're always doing lunch. They use the term "synergy" way too much and it seems that everyone in "the industry" is called babe, or baby, or buby. Take the folks who man our Super 2NR TV show (which airs at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday on TNN) and the meeting we had with them just before our last trip to Japan.
"Can you guys give us a sort of Odessa steps sequence feel? Oooh, even better would be one of those long steady-cam shots la Taxi Driver or Goodfellas."
"No, no, no. We need something more radical-to the extreme!" Can you give us an X Games-look, only with a more urban, hip hoppy vibe?"
'Uh, we're probably gonna go drifting with Signal and then-'
"That's perfect, baby! What's drifting? It sounds radical enough. Never mind, you can fill us in later. We're loving the synergy, here. Now, who wants to do lunch?"
With that, we were given an official Fisher Price My First TV Camera and sent on our way. Instead of filming the Osaka-style drifting, Jonny wanted to put a voyeur cam in his bedroom. But that would only give us endless hours of him sleeping or picking his nose with an occasional spasmodic outbreak as he works on his Roger Rabbit technique.
We love going drifting with Signal in the bayside area of Osaka. The night always starts with a bullet train-like commute in one of Kousuke Kida's GT-Rs. The only thing the Signal boss likes better than tuning his cars is driving them to the point where his passengers are reduced to sacks of blubbering flesh. Needless to say, he likes us very much.
Because we are in town on an off night, Mr. Kida has to make a few calls to assemble some of the drifters. In a little less than a half hour, we are surrounded by three dozen of Osaka's finest. When Kida-san makes a request, it's more like an offer you can't refuse.
In stark contrast to the States' disappointing drift scene, there are more good drifters than bad ones out on any given night in Osaka. But as good as these guys are, none of them even compare to Signal's superstars: Kazuya Bai and Fumiaki "Drifter X" Komatsu. When these guys show up at a drift, it's like subbing Kobe in at a your high school JV game. It's almost comical how much better these two are than everyone else on this night.
But our laughter turns to a whimper when Bai-san wants to take us for a ride-while we man the video camera! Our ace shutterbug, Wes, stood on terra firma clicking pics while we tried to simultaneously steady the camera, ourselves, and hold down our dinner. It was not a pretty sight.
Somehow, though, out of the 19 hours of tape we recorded, the Super 2NR TV editors actually came up with four to five minutes of really great stuff. Look out, Spielberg, here we come!
Given that Super Street and its staff move at a glacial pace when compared to the frenzied world of TV, our drift footage aired way before you'll be reading this. But hey, that's what reruns are for.