A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Flinch is a British game show that shows people who participate in potentially dangerous stunts and receive painful but tolerable punishments (electric shocks, having hot wax poured on them, getting snapped by mousetraps, etc.) when they react, or "flinch." Occasionally protective gear is worn, and no one suffers permanent injuries, but contestants are shown yelping in pain while others laugh. Viewers of all ages should be reminded to never try anything they see here at home.
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What's the story?
FLINCH is a British reality competition where people must avoid reacting to stressful or scary situations in order to avoid pain. Set on an Irish farm, presenters Seann Walsh, Lloyd Griffith, and Desiree Burch choose contestants to play on their behalf. Each player must participate in a series of challenges that present unexpected or frightening moments, during which they must avoid flinching. Every time a player reacts during their particular challenge, a quick and painful punishment, such as being quickly shocked with a cattle prod or being dunked in icy dirty water, is administered. A point is also given to the corresponding host. At the end of the episode, the host with the most points must endure their own flinch challenge.
Is it any good?
This silly and unecessarily brutal series features people trying to keep themselves from reacting to a barrage of challenges specifically designed to be unnerving. While some of these challenges may remind viewers of those featured on Fear Factor, others just seem a bit weird. However, the real draw to the show is watching people endure the punishments. Granted, the pain inflicted by acts such as pouring hot candle wax on a contestant's hands and legs or snapping a mousetrap on one's fingers appears more uncomfortable than intolerable. But it's never made clear why contestants are putting themselves through this, which makes the satisfaction the audience is presumably supposed to feel as a result borderline sadistic. Some people may find it funny, but overall, Flinch is a socially irresponsible series that has the potential to do more harm than good.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about entertainment. What makes something entertaining? Are there things that are entertaining but don't feel right?
Game show participants often put themselves through crazy or painful stunts for money, prizes, or bragging rights. What do contestants on Flinch get for doing this? What messages does the show send?
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