The title says it all: Wipeout.
Ostensibly it is a television program about athletic ability and endurance. And it is that for sure. But it's also a vehicle for providing the rest of us amusement provided by the armpit of America. Shows like Wipeout and the now-defunct Dear Factor prove what I have always known: that people will do absolutely anything to be on TV.
On Wipeout, my favorite part is where "contestants" are forced to cross a bridge that consists of four very large inflated rubber balls. Invariably the contestant bounces awkwardly from the first ball and then off the second in an extraordinarily uncomfortable-looking position. Often they hit the water below them in a position that most people are only in when they are delivering a child or very, very drunk. Nonetheless, the top six that make it past the initial weeding-out stage do indeed appear to have some athletic qualities. I can see myself doing that for a shot at $50,000. And thus add another hair to America's armpit.
Now "Fear Factor" is a whole other story. If I were GUARANTEED $50,000 there's no way I am eating a rat-milkshake. Let's face it, $50,000 is a lot of money, but it won't buy nearly enough mouthwash to rid myself of a rat-shake. Driving a car into a pool of water? Cool. Jumping off a boat onto a rope dangling from a helicopter? Check. Eating a live scorpion? Hell no. No way. Ever.
I'm starting to dig this trend toward Japanese-based game shows. People in other countries have weird senses of humor, which is probably why I like them so much. I once saw a Japanese show where contestants had to drink 4 ice-cold beers, eat a plate of cold spaghetti, and have a bag of ice hung strategically next to their genitalia. The objective? See who could go the longest without peeing. Awesome.
The Egyptians have a bit of a darker sense of "humor." In one program, hosted by a single creepy Egyptian man in a dark suit, a man would walk up to strangers on the street, set a briefcase down next to them and run away. Hilarity ensues. Bear in mind this show was done in the Middle East. But funny nonetheless.
Folks, I hate to break this to you, but reality-based programs are here to stay. In a time where advertising revenues are way off (thanks in large-part to DVRs), reality programs are ridiculously inexpensive to produce, and it's easy to find actors. For me, the only scripted shows I really watch anymore are Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and How I Lost My Penis. OK, I made that last one up, but it explains the TV shows I watch.
Oh, and to placate my blog-critics. My blood sugar has really sucked lately. Probably watching too much TV.