A misguided flaming arrow interrupted the quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent, a network reality program comprised of Branson-friendly variety acts. Fortunately the arrow's ultimate target, Canadian stunt man Ryan Stock, appears to be okay.
In last night's AGT episode, Stock had successfully performed a sword-swallowing stunt before he moved to the final troubled trick. The sequence was elaborate. First, he inserted a long, steel rod into his throat. At the end of the metal was a circular target. His co-performer and fiancé, Amber Lynn Walker, stood atop a ladder a few yards away, and was supposed to shoot the target with said flaming arrow from a crossbow. But as we know, the arrow missed.
The projectile nailed Canadian stunt man Ryan Stock in the collarbone, though it didn’t appear to burn or penetrate his flesh. Which is good, mutilation by arrow would be an awful thing to show on television, let alone have happen to any human being.
America’s Got Talent seemed to subtweet the incident: "You NEVER know what will happen when #AGT is live." Which is true! Maybe a star will be born. Or maybe a man will be shot in the chest by a flaming arrow from a crossbow wielded by his one true love.
The producers of reality programs like to construct heroic storylines for their talent; a nobody becomes a somebody and so on. I don’t watch this show, but I think few reality contestants have the narrative potential Stock carries with him this week. Here’s my free copy for any upcoming promotional materials:
"After being shot by a flaming arrow, Ryan Stock is ready to rise from the ashes."