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Celebrity Deathmatch was a claymation parody television show that pitted celebrities against each other in a wrestling ring, almost always ending in the loser's gruesome death. It is known for its excessive amount of blood used in every match and exaggerated physical injuries (e.g., one person pulls off a participant's foot, living through decapitations, impalement, etc.).

The series was created by Eric Fogel; with the pilots airing on MTV on January 1 & 25 1998. The initial series ran from May 14, 1998 to October 20, 2002, and lasted for a 75-episode run. There was one special that did not contribute to the final episode total, entitled Celebrity Deathmatch Hits Germany, which aired on June 21, 2001. Professional wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin gave voice to his animated form as the guest commentator. Early in 2003, a movie was announced by MTV to be in the making, but the project was canceled by the end of that very same year.

In 2005, MTV2 announced the revival of the show as part of their "Sic 'Em Friday" programming block. Originally set to return in November 2005, the premiere was pushed back to June 10, 2006 as part of a new "Sic'emation" block with two other animated shows, Where My Dogs At and The Adventures of Chico and Guapo. The show's fifth season was produced by Cuppa Coffee Studios and the premiere drew over 2.5 million viewers, becoming MTV2's highest rated season premiere ever.

Characters

Main characters

  • Johnny Gomez (Maurice Schlafer (1998-2002), Jim Thornton (2006)): Co-commentator on Celebrity Deathmatch, Johnny is the more professional one, and a loyal friend of Nick's despite his constant blunders. Johnny's hair has noticeably changed from black to brown in the new season. Judging by a comment made by interviewer Tally Wong during one episode, he may be wearing a hairpiece.


  • Nick Diamond (Len Maxwell (1998-2002), Chris Edgerly (2006)): Johnny's co-host, a perceived alcoholic and divorced father of one, he is always screwing up. He harbors an intense hatred for interviewer Debbie Matenopoulos and has also participated in and won several matches by himself. Nick is apparently so hapless that when he mentions having an uneventful weekend, Johnny spends the show preparing for the inevitable disaster to befall his co-commentator.


  • Mills Lane (himself (1998-2002), Chris Edgerly (2006)): The official referee of the Deathmatch ring; he always starts matches by saying "Let's get it on!" and shows that this is one ref you can't knock down with one hit. Another catch phrase is when there is a disputable move by either fighter, like using foreign objects, and he says "I'll allow it!", implying that just about anything is legal in the ring. Biting is his only reservation (though he once made an exception to this. ) Unfortunately, due to his suffering a stroke in 2002, the real Mills no longer voices his own character.


Minor regular characters

  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (himself): World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Wrestler and guest commentator on Celebrity Deathmatch. Also the scientist, doctor and weapons expert on the show. He also fought and won a match against Vince McMahon (voiced by McMahon himself, and whom Austin would actually wrestle with on several WWF events in real life). Austin did not shown up in the later seasons, for Nick has once stated that he was too expensive to bring back.


  • Stacey Cornbred, (Mz. L): The first interviewer on Celebrity Deathmatch, Stacey maintained a more professional air than Debbie. She kept her interviewing job until her untimely demise from spontaneous human combustion. Though she had exploded, she briefly returned in a Halloween episode as a zombie to challenge Debbie in the ring only to be soundly (and messily) defeated.


  • Debbie Matenopoulos (herself): The interviewer that succeeded Stacy Corbred after her untimely death. She hates Nick and doesn’t prepare for any interviews, usually just asking whatever she feels like. She often believes herself to be smarter than she really is. Left the show late in the last season on maternity leave.


  • Tally Wong (Masasa Moyo): The new interviewer from Season 5 onward. Before most of the matches, she interviews the combatants in a segment called "Tally's Korner". Tally is very self-centered, and usually spends most of her interviews insulting the celebrities rather than asking questions. She often makes rude remarks about the celebrities, and at times Nick and Johnny, during matches. Whenever Nick or Johnny gets mad at her for it, she taunts them by daring them to "bring back Stacey Cornbred." Tally harbors an intense hatred toward Johnny Gomez. Ironically though, this was the inverse in the previous show with Nick Diamond hating on Debbie Matenoupolis.


  • Marv Albert (Himself): CDM's first guest commentator. He only appeared in the pilot episode before being replaced with Stacey Cornbred. Best recognized for wasting one show watching the slow-motion replay of Pamela Anderson's implant-laden breasts jiggle repeatedly.


  • The Popcorn Vendor: The name pretty much sums up his job. Basically, he's something of a running gag, as he is usually among the first victims in the audience when a Deathmatch gets too brutal to stay in the ring. Since his second season appearance, the vendor has been burned, chopped up, and even possessed by a demon at various points, only to come back again healthy in his next appearance.


  • Nicky Diamond Jr., (Brendan Muller): Nick's son, who appeared in several episodes. In one episode he was possessed by a demon called "Captain Doody", but was delivered when The Undertaker executed a Tombstone Piledriver on the possessed Nicky during their bout, causing the demon to leave Nicky and enter the hapless popcorn salesman.


History



Celebrity Deathmatch started on MTV's Cartoon Sushi as a short that featured serial killer Charles Manson and shock rocker Marilyn Manson fighting to the death. Deathmatch was brought back in 1998 for MTV's Super Bowl XXXII halftime special, which became the highest-rated special in the history of MTV. Just three months later, Celebrity Deathmatch had entered MTV's main lineup. The show was popular enough for show creator Eric Fogel to be named one of the most creative people in the TV industry by Entertainment Weekly.

During the next four seasons, Celebrity Deathmatch became more popular in other countries and gained viewers from all over the world, but four seasons and 75 episodes later in 2002, MTV decided to cancel the show.

Revival

New episodes of the show, which began production in 2005, were produced by Cuppa Coffee Studio as opposed to MTV's now-defunct animation department. The show featured an all-new voice cast and a new look. Johnny, Nick, and Mills Lane returned, though all with new voices. Mills Lane, who used to be played by himself, was played by Chris Edgerly due to the real Mills Lane's 2002 stroke. Debbie Matenopoulos was replaced by Tally Wong. Eric Fogel chose not to get very involved with the new seasons due to his involvement on his show Starveillance for the E! network. The show was directed by Jack Fletcher and Dave "Canadian" Thomas.

Clips of the new Celebrity Deathmatch are available at Cuppa Coffee Animation's official web site, as well as at MTV2.com.

It can be seen that some of the audience members are celebrities used in the older seasons of Celebrity Deathmatch. In one fight, one can see in the audience Haley Joel Osment from his fight against Macaulay Culkin. Celebrities who were shown in previous episodes include Bono, Bruce Willis, Robert De Niro, James Gandolfini, Charlie Sheen, Demi Moore, Mary-Kate Olsen, Ashley Olsen, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Rodney Dangerfield, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Sean Penn, Ricky Martin, Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, Johnny Knoxville, Lil' Kim, Anna Kournikova, Axl Rose, and Slash.

During the 2006 season, fans were able to vote on MTV2.com for future matches by choosing one of three matches and by sending a write-in request.

Reception

In a clip show episode that aired, Janeane Garofalo was shown to be unhappy with the show when they showed her in claymation-form how she would look if she lost fifty pounds. In the same episode, Tommy Lee expressed his gratitude for the show's portrayal of him and imitated the special move he used to defeat Ron Jeremy.

Criticism

The show was called insensitive when George Taylor, the father of Comptonmarker rapper The Game (real name Jayceon Taylor) told Playahata.com, apparently without irony, in late March 2007 he was not happy with Celebrity Deathmatch showing his son being killed by bullets, especially as George Taylor had previously lost a son in such a fashion.

See also



References

External links




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