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ABC's "Japanese Game Show" Is Better Than Expected, but "Wipeout" Is Even Worse
June 25, 2008  | By David Bianculli  | 1 comment
 

i-survived-a-japanese-game-.jpgWipeout and I Survived a Japanese Game Show, ABC's new series premiering last night, weren't sent out in advance for critics to preview -- no doubt because ABC figured there was little point. And yes, Wipeout was even more horrendous and repulsive than expected -- but I Survived a Japanese Game Show (and I'm as shocked to write this as you may be to read it) actually wasn't that bad.

On the surface, both shows are designed to require contestants to run a gauntlet of physically demanding, visually goofy tasks, making them look like videogame characters in a cartoon world of colorful challenges. But the key difference between these two shows is the same thing that separates Fear Factor from Amazing Race: At its core, one show is mean, while the other is fun.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show punks its contestants, initially, by sending them to Japan and throwing them unexpectedly onto foreign -- very foreign -- game-show sets, where they compete as teams in front of bleachers full of Japanese audience members. Based on the results of these challenges, losing teams must select members for possible elimination, while they rub each other the wrong way in cramped living quarters. Very Hell's Kitchen, with an Iron Chef flavor and a Survivor feel.

The unexpected, enjoyable part of Japanese Game Show is the playfulness. Contestants are costumed as giant insects and told to jump from trampolines onto a target of superimposed car passengers. The challenge is called "Big Bugs Splat on Windshield," and, as one contestant explains with a smile, "It's like darts, but your body is the dart, and you're dressed like a bug."

Winners of one challenge get a VIP tour of Tokyo, while losers have to become rickshaw drivers. And when a player is eliminated, he or she is carried out by a small gaggle of black-suited Japanese men, as the audience waves arms and chants "Sayonara!" All very silly. But somehow, all very benign, and a lot more enjoyable than anticipated.

Wipeout, on the other hand, is a puerile mess, and ABC should say "Sayonara" to it as quickly as possible. If you played a drinking game with this juvenile show, and took a shot every time one of the hosts said the phrase "big balls" (the name of one of the obstacle-course challenges), you'd be in rehab before the closing credits.

wipeout-june-24.jpg

Wipeout is, as one host helpfully explained, "the show where other people risk bodily harm so you can point and laugh." Except I'm not laughing. I'm grimacing, as they get knocked into the mud by the Sucker Punch or bouncing like a pinball between the big balls. (Take another drink.) Contestants end up muddy and nauseous, and I know just how they feel.

After watching Wipeout, I'm sick to my stomach, too -- and my immediate impulse, like theirs, is to go shower.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
WipeoutLover894
THIS IS BULLSHIT! I will let you know that Wipeout is one of the best game shows ever made! Also, people didn't like ISAJGS much that they only had one season, and Wipeout was loved so much, IT GOT 7 SEASONS! Beat that, bitch!
May 7, 2016   |  Reply
 
 
 
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