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Whether you are a big fan of the Japanese "boy" bands or can barely stomach even the best of "jpop," Smap x Smap is a boy band showcase that amuses and remains surprisingly enduring. Most boy bands in Japan fade quickly after a three or four year career but Smap has been around since the early 90s. Their self titled variety show allows them to showcase their entertaining skills, whether that be cooking for lovely young actresses in a regular segment called Bistro Smap (a knockoff of the network's "Iron Chef"), acting in parodies of popular movies (e.g. Titanic, Spider-Man), or just being good sports at whatever nonsensical game the producers put them in. Though most of the group's members are tepid singers at best - Kimura Takuya being the most vocally gifted - the show lets people enjoy what's best about Smap, and that's their personalities. Smap x Smap or 'sma sma' continues to do well in the ratings and it's likely it'll continue to do well in it's prime tv slot.
This is my favourite Japanese TV show, and to my delight it has not ended yet like so many shows seem to. The food is just absolutely astounding in the bistro smap section. All four members are such good cooks (sorry Nakai-kun) and it's utterly enjoyable to watch them prepare the food and make very funny comments on the way. I always look forward to the "oishii!" reaction by Shingo, which is always tailored to fit the guest and very hilarious. The short film clips and games are always great too, especially the parodies of various movies and fads. Though Smap's singing isn't the most harmonious and their dancing is almost never synchronized, I still love watching them perform. Their songs are quite different than other J-pop songs and are a delight to see done.
Although I would argue that Katori Shingo is a vaguely better singer than Kimura Takuya, I do have to agree that Suma-suma is quality viewing whether you can stand Smap's awful music or not. Some of the regular characters in the skit scenes are hilarious, (Damena ningen!) whereas the Bistro Smap section leaves you absolutely watering at the mouth. The only down-point is their insistence on singing at the end off the show every week, but even that can be good for a laugh - the contortions on Nakai's face are particularly amusing.
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