August 17, 2012

TV: Oh Sit! (CW, Wed 8)

I don't know that TV really needed a game show in which musical chairs is turned into a comic contact sport, but if we must have such a thing, the CW's Oh Sit! is less ghastly than it could have been.

A dozen players start the game, and two or three are eliminated in every round until three are left to fight for the final chair. That chair is located on Chair Island, which is surrounded by a 10-foot moat of icy water. Three different bridges, each designed to be wobbly and unstable in some way, connect Chair Island to the main track. The circular track features three obstacles (in the style of your average Japanese game show), each of which is also designed to dump the contestants into the water.

When the music begins, the players race around the track, collecting money for each obstacle they complete; when the music stops, they have to get to Chair Island. One or two players will be eliminated for lack of chairs, but that's not the end of the eliminations. Each chair has a secret dollar value attached, which is added to the money the player won for that round's obstacles; lowest total is eliminated. At the end of the game, the "last player sitting" (and good lord, does the show love that phrase, which it believes to be the height of wit) takes home whatever money they've won; everyone else goes home with nothing.

The show's sense of humor is relentlessly juvenile. Each contestant is assigned a cutesy nickname at the beginning of the show ("The Babysitter," "Mr. Marine," "The Beard"), and hosts Jamie Kennedy and Jessica Cruikshank leer at the attractive contestants and mock everyone else.

The show is entertaining in precisely the same way, and to almost exactly the same degree as ABC's Wipeout, and if you enjoy watching people pummelled by foam rubber mallets and falling into chilly water, this will fit the bill nicely. It's not my cup of tea, but there's certainly an audience for it.

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