Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall Television Preview - Hole in the Wall

By now, everyone should know to expect the lowest common denominator from FOX, right? At least when it comes to reality shows. And they don't disappoint with their latest attempt, Hole in the Wall.

Cleverly labeled as a "game show," the object of the show is to get through a moving styrofoam wall as it bears down on the contestant. Each wall that approaches has a different shape, and therefore the contestant must contort his or her body in an attempt to get through the "hole." Failure means the wall pushes the contestant into a pool of water. And that's pretty much it.

Allegedly a huge hit in Japan (FOX continually reminds the viewer of this) it has now crossed the ocean and made it into my living room. I had heard so much about it, I figured I needed to check it out. Am I glad I did?

I'll tell you on the flip side.

Let me start off by saying I believe the concept of the show has some merit. With a skilled contestant, it would be interesting to see how far he could get with different sizes and shapes of hole to test him.

Unfortunately, FOX doesn't agree with me. Their idea of entertainment is humiliation. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.

Yes, at first it's amusing to watch someone poorly attempt to go through a hole and fail, falling into the pool of water. But that can only take you so far. At some point I want to see some skill. And the show I saw was devoid of any of that.

What it did highlight were the pratfalls that FOX reality shows routinely fall into. Large bodied people being made to look like fools. Seriously, I think it's a pre-requisite to have at least one plus side contestant per team. And the teams tonight did not disappoint the producers. It was obvious that neither team was going to make it through any of the walls. So why exactly is that entertaining?

The pace of the show is slow to begin with. I get the fact that it's funny to see suddenly reveal the wall to the audience so they wonder just how the fuck some fat chick is going to get through a round hole the size of a hobbit's door. But why not get a little higher quality contestant, and keep throwing walls at them that increase in difficulty the more they succeed? Is that so difficult?

One of the hosts is Brooke Burke. Nice to look at, she offers little else. I guess one of the producers loved her work on Dog Eat Dog. She didn't even look at the camera while talking most of the time, which was bewildering. The other host doesn't matter. I thought it was Martin Mull when I first heard him, but it's not. Thankfully. I would have really felt bad for Martin Mull if he had to be associated with this show.

Here's a preview of the show. Don't be fooled though. The preview makes the show seem like it has a frantic, crazy pace. Meanwhile, it's maddeningly slow and boring.


Cline said...

Watched the first episode and began looking for shards of glass to remove 2 of my senses.

It was unwatchable.

Burke was terrible. Shrill and always yelling and laughing when neither action was appropriate.

I enjoyed the YouTube clips of "human tetris". They were just the action (at least Fox duplicated the sirens), engrossing and wildly entertaining.

The game itself is enough. We don't need the forced trash-talking or themes like "beer bellies vs. 6-packs". Wipeout has the same problem. I don't want personalities, I want contestants.

Simplify, man...

Goose said...

exactly my point about the game - don't slow it down; keep the walls coming. Fast and faster. Just have random contestants, none of this 3 person team nonsense. I just pray no one continues to watch it.

hendge said...

You guys are both on point, I totally agree. The Japanese clips on Youtube would have me crying at points. But FOX has to slick everything up and pad it with filler. Last night's version was an hour ... an HOUR!! Sometimes, I think the networks should take a cue from Cartoon Network and start airing 15 minute shows. Cut out all the bull and this show might work for 15 minutes a week.

I also think the Japanese show was funnier because we had no idea what anyone was saying. FOX gives each contestant their own headset microphone. It's honestly funnier on mute -- you don't have to hear Burke shriek, you don't have to listen to inane "trash talk" between three Brooklyn construction workers and three gay hairdressers, and you don't have to hear the idiot announcer say for the 40th time "Its time ... to face ... the HOLE!!" ... is anyone more desperate for a catch phrase than that guy? Jeez.

Goose said...

Good call on the sound playing an important factor - I might even suggest the Japanese version because, since you don't know what they're saying, you can only go on inflection, and the Japanese have patented the over dramatic response to a minor incident. I think Ninja Warrior and Bansuke have showed us that.

the sexual said...

For my part one and all ought to look at it.