Hot Ones: The Game Show

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Hot Ones: The Game Show TV Poster Image
Spicy chicken trivia game promotes dumb behavior for cash.

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Winning money at all costs is the overall theme of the show. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Suffering contestants taunt other players throughout the process. Team members push each other to keep it together and not tap out, despite significant suffering and EMT intervention. 


The heat of the food is so high that people moan, yell, tear up, and throw up in buckets. Some teams provoke each other so much that they want to fist fight. 


Curses are bleeped. 


Chili sauce bottles are seen from a distance; but no logos are visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to bars and drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hot Ones: The Game Show features people trying to win cash by eating very hot chicken wings and answering trivia questions. Unlike the popular, celebrity-heavy YouTube series from which it's adapted, it features competitive rounds designed to make players sweat, cry, throw up, partially lose vision, and struggle to breathe in front of a rowdy studio audience (and watchful emergency responders). Curses are bleeped out, but taunts and insults are frequent. Viewers of all ages are reminded to never try this at home. 

User Reviews

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Kid, 12 years old August 5, 2020

not even that bad

nothing bad at all kind of interesting

What's the story?

Adapted from the popular YouTube series, HOT ONES: THE GAME SHOW features teams of friends eating spicy hot wings and while trying to win cash. Hosted by "Spice Master" Sean Evans, the challenge requires contestants to enter the "Pepperdome" and complete three rounds of simple questions. Making it more difficult is the fact that they must answer each query after eating a chicken wing coated in a sauce made from some of the hottest chili peppers in the world. Teams successfully completing rounds win money. The team that banks the most cash makes it to the bonus round, swallows a shot glass filled with a combination of the sauces used throughout the show, and competes for $25K and milkshakes designed to put them out of their misery. 

Is it any good?

This over-the-top, borderline unethical game show features contestants trying to win cash by willingly torturing themselves with dangerously spicy food. The entertainment comes from watching people tear up, sweat, struggle to see and breathe, and throw up as they consume hot pepper sauces that rank between the thousands to the millions on the Scoville Scale (the index that measures the heat of chili peppers). Adding to this is resident cook Chef Willie boasting about the bodily harm the sauces will cause, and excerpts of EMTs checking up on the struggling participants to make sure they’re ok. Throughout it all, the crowd cheers them on, and players somehow find it within them to taunt each other. Some folks may find these antics all in good fun, but Hot Ones: The Game Show feels pretty irresponsible, and reminds us of how money can motivate people to do really dumb things. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Hot Ones: The Game Show differs from its parent YouTube series. Why doesn't the format of the original show work for TV? How does the fact that the TV version is a competition change the tone of the show?

  • Why do some viewers find real people suffering on game shows fun to watch, but feel differently when suffering people are visible on news programs? Is it because contestants are willingly subjecting themselves to the pain?

  • Is showing real people harming themselves, or engaging in potential dangerous behavior, on camera ethical? What if it’s presented in a funny or entertaining context? Are there risks that come with showing this kind of activity on TV?

TV details

  • Premiere date: February 18, 2020
  • Cast: Sean Evans
  • Network: truTV
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: March 12, 2020

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