Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Survived a Japanese Game Show/Wipeout Review

Tuesday night was the night I had been waiting for. Ever since I saw the first preview for the summer show line up for Tuesday night on ABC, I was really excited. Memories of college days where we would sit around drinking beers on a Thursday night, while watching Most Xtreme Elimination Challenge (MXC) on Spike TV started to come back to me. This was a ritual for my friends and I. First, there was a preview for a show that resembeled one of the most popular shows from Spike TV, only the ABC version was called Wipeout. The 2nd show was called I Survived a Japanese Game Show, which looked more like some of the stupid, ridiculous game show clips you see on YouTube. Needless to say, I was excited for both!

So at 8 pm, I tuned in for both shows and here is what I thought of them:


Wipeout is a show that features a number of contestants who perform in a series of physical activities. For example, last night contestants stood on small platforms suspended high above the water while a massive rotating bar forced contestants to hop over it when it passed by their platform. The bar would speed up after each round, while contestants got more tired. Eventually, a contestant with little energy left would sadly jump and get slammed by the rotating bar and knocked off their platform and into the water. As with the old show on Spike TV, color commentary, post production voice overs, and enhanced sound clips are added in for effect. The show was amusing at first, seeing the contestants get knocked down, but it seemed like the producers were trying too hard to imitate the Spike TV version. It didn't work in my book. It came off as a less serious version of Fear Factor, but without the gross pig testicle eating contest. I can't imagine this show stays on TV for too much longer based on the pilot.

I Survived A Japanese Game Show

I Survived A Japanese Game Show is a reality show that brings Americans with dominant personalities (go figure) to Japan, where they are forced into the Japanese lifestyle and eventually on to a Japanese Game Show. I really liked the way the producers approached the show, by not telling contestants what they were going to be doing. In the first show, after getting settled in Tokyo, they were brought to "tour" some production studios. When they walked through the doors, they were surprised to find out that they were on stage to be contestants on a Japanese game show. I liked the total shock and surprise on the faces of the contestants and thought it seemed genuine, unlike other "reality" shows that all appear to be set up before hand. Teams were split up into 2 groups: Green Monkey Team and Yellow Penguin Team and introduced to their first challenge: Conveyor Restaurant. Taking a page out of previous Japanese game shows I've seen featured on You Tube, Conveyor Restaurant is game that requires one team member to run on a treadmill with a waiters serving tray attached to their head, while the other team member has to eat the food (in this case mocchi balls) off the tray without using his hands. Once the food is grabbed, the eater hits a giant red button and the team member on the treadmill must then drop down flat and let the treadmill throw them into a sandbox full of flour. Teams had 3 minutes to complete the challenge. The winner was Green Monkey Team, with 10 eaten moochi balls. The 2nd game featured on the show, which was the elimination game for 2 of the team members on the losing Yellow Penguin Team, was called Big Bugs Splash on Windshield. In this game, contestants were dressed up as yellow jacket bees and they had to jump onto a trampoline and slap 3 different areas on the "windshield", to see how could be the most accurate in each area. The winner was the contestant who scored the most points by being more accurate than the other. In the end, it came down to overtime and the first player was sent packing.

What I liked about this show was that it was more than just stupid embarrassing stunts (which there definitely are plenty of). It was a reality show, so they added they dynamics of a bunch of random people being forced to be together in closed quarters. And of course, they all have dominant personalities and many of the contestants come from non-diverse backgrounds, which makes it even more awkward for them to be in Tokyo. During the clips when they are on the game show, you see both the view from how it would be shown if you were watching the game show, but you also see what happens when the cameras go off for a commercial break. I thought that was a nice touch to see more of what goes on behind the scenes.

The only thing I didn't like was that there were only 2 challenges featured during the hour long show. It seemed like they tried to cram a lot of typical reality show drama into it, rather than focus on the fun to watch challenges. I was really hoping for Human Tetris. One day...


Scurry&Whirl said...

i liked the chance that we got to learn a little bit more about japanese culture.. like the helicopter ride. its more than just the game show, but we're getting an insight into japan as a country! or more specifically Tokyo. so you are ALMOST learning something by watching it!

Rainmaker said...

Doh! I meant to record it, but then forgot about it. Gotta add it to my list now. Thanks for the review!

The Wrench said...

ahh yes MXC, many fond memories. I call these Double Dare for adults.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that the US is getting our own version of 'Human Tetris'.

Rechristened Hole in the Wall, it will run on the FOX network. I identified it immediately from the promo during tonight's episode of 5th Grader.

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