Louie Anderson knows that Splash is completely outrageous — but that's why you should watch.
"ABC didn't put it on because they thought it was groundbreaking," he tells TVGuide.com. "They put it on because hey, this is what traditionally TV has been about. It's something purely fun. Just sit back, don't think and enjoy it. Don't take it seriously."
TV scorecard: What's renewed? What's canceled?
Still, that doesn't mean you can't get something out of it. The rotund comic, who embarrassingly required three people to pull him out of the pool during his first practice, received a touching email from a mother of a 5-year-old recently.
"This woman wrote me about her daughter who is afraid to put her head underwater. The daughter watches Splash and is a big Louie fan and now after watching the show, she's decided to put her head under water and take swimming lessons," Anderson says. "She started Saturday. How great is that? The email [was titled] 'Supergirl learns to swim thanks to Louie.'"
8 reasons you need to watch Splash
It's stories like that — along with high-fiving a nun in LaGuardia Airport — that makes Anderson's time on the series worthwhile. "I think I dive for America," he says. "I dive for all the people who are never going to dive, but I want them to do something. I'm trying to inspire myself and other people, and it seems to be working."
Also working? Becoming an insta-fan favorite, thanks to his bromance with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and their GIF-ability. We tasked Anderson with captioning some of his and the show's biggest and most hilarious moments.
"I have no idea what's going on here. Oh, God, I look kind of weird. I guess I'm saying, 'C'mon in! The water's good!' They just shot a bunch of stuff a long time ago and then aired that. I don't know what I'm doing. But it's good, isn't it?"
"This is The Reflection. It was my first dive. They bring me back to the time at the side of the pool and my very first dive in practice, where I just put my hands up above my head and leaned forward and fell in. Honestly, I get a little choked up watching the swan dive because who could've ever thought I would get that far? I really worked hard to get to there, so I'm proud of myself for working hard."
"The Horror. It's just horrible. She's OK, thankfully. Had I not known her, I might laugh a little. It is kind of funny, but knowing her, it just hurt me as much as it hurt her. For Nicole [Eggert], then to get up and do it again a couple hours later was amazing. It was terrible they made her watch it again, but that's what TV is, right? I think all these shows walk a fine line between too much and too little."
"The One That Could've Been. Here's a secret: This was supposed to be my dive with Chuy. But they gave it to [Katherine Webb and Drake Bell] after he withdrew. [Theirs] was great, but it wasn't perfect. I think if Chuy and I had done it, then a 10 would be in order. Or a 0."
"The 10 Team! What else? I love Kareem. He's the sweetest. I would be a lot more egotistical if I had the scoring championship in the NBA. ... I think we bonded being tall and being fat. When you're tall, people always make a comment. When you're fat, people always make a comment. Even if it's with their eyes, like, 'Oh, you're a big guy!' I was out of sync here, so that's a big deduction. But did it deserve a 5? I don't know. But two 5s is a 10."
"Uh, Speechless. That was weird, wasn't it? He just started stripping right in front of us. I love Katherine and Drake's faces here. But can I say one thing about Greg [Louganis]? He's 53 years old. He did that dive with David [Boudia], and they hardly made any splash. It's amazing. He's still got it."
GIFs via The Big Lead, Adam Riff and Grantland.
"Aww, Yeah! I like this one. We were just happy neither of us would be going home [since Kendra Wilkinson quit] because it was probable that we would be in the dive-off. We hated that idea of diving against each other. You can't turn the 10 Team against each other!"
Splash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.