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The "Hole" Truth About Fox's "Hole in the Wall"
September 10, 2008  | By David Bianculli

Last night Fox presents Fringe with very limited commercial interruptions -- class upon class. Then, the second that fine new series is over, Fox presents a sneak preview of Hole in the Wall, based on the Japanese game show about people trying to squeeze themselves through cutout shapes in giant walls sliding towards them.

Enjoy your gourmet meal, folks? To follow it up, here's a Twinkie.


Hole in the Wall is on the Fox lineup this fall because the network had an unexpected Hole in the Schedule. Moment of Truth was supposed to return for a second season, but that mean-spirited, exploitive series was rejected swiftly and steadily even by those viewers morbidly curious enough to tune in when it premiered.

It's the carnival barker approach to TV programming. Find something outlandish enough, promote it heavily, and watch the rubes come into the tent. The difference with TV is, unless the rubes come back, you ultimately fail. They stopped coming back for Moment of Truth -- and even though the Sunday sneak special edition of Hole in the Wall drew 7.2 million viewers (after football), expect that number to dwindle quickly in weeks to come.

Hole in the Wall is less like a TV show than a screen-saver. It's totally watchable -- in fact, it's greatly improved -- with the sound off. People either fall in the pool or they don't. That's it. Who needs sound? In act, who needs a brain?

Eric Gould, the Boston architect (and designer of this site), called me last night while Hole in the Wall was on, in disbelief. "Is this the whole show?" he asked. Or maybe he asked, "Is this the 'Hole' show?"

Either, way, yes, it is. For now.




Danny said:


I watched Fringe last night and was a little disappointed. I thought it was a good show. Not great. The way the reviews came out, I don't think it lived up to the hype. I am going to give it another week to see if i will continue to watch. I feel that First Blood and Sons Of Anarchy are so far better shows.

Comment posted on September 10, 2008 9:50 AM

Saget-a-job said:

Still no Bonnie Hunt revelations? We have the ability to morph you into reruns of "Full House" if nothing new develops on this front. And you wouldn't be at all comfortable as straight man to the Olsen twins.

Comment posted on September 10, 2008 10:46 AM

Chris Collins said:

Hey David,

I'm not sure if you know, but is in Japan, is their Hole in the Wall show primetime fare? (I ask, in part, because it feels more like it should be, I don't know, something on a really underfunded kid's network as programming in the middle of the day?) Also, I'm just curious if the networks are stealing the best or the worst from overseas? (My understanding is, it's prime time. And far from the worst --David B.)

Comment posted on September 10, 2008 11:13 AM

Akit said:

It's a terrible show to begin with. For the millions of people who have watched the Japanese version on YouTube, they know that the U.S. version does not mimic exactly the Japanese format, especially the lightheartedness fun the Japanese version has.

Take a look at my blog to see the Japanese and the Australian versions which are better than the U.S. version. http://www.akit.org/2008/09/foxs-hole-in-wall-not-amusing.html

Comment posted on September 10, 2008 1:40 PM

James Ruggiero said:

Nice job. Your write up included a comedic duality of punctuation sense. Hole in the Wall upsets me greatly, as if it were a "mending wall" and the viewers did not understand the misplaced stones: they think it is original and believe in their father when they hear, "Good fences make good neighbors." When rather, recycled shows make bored viewers...

Comment posted on September 10, 2008 11:21 PM

Avi said:

Hole in the wall might be an absolutely low-grade television show, but I'll take it over that abhorrent exploitative monster, The Moment of Truth any day. For me, the moment of truth was the incarnation of everything terrible about humans and entertainment and money. The fact that something like that even existed is enough to make me sick. Admittedly, I never saw it, the commercials alone were more than enough to make me change the channel. That's all I have to say.

Comment posted on September 11, 2008 10:51 AM

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