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 this quirky game show requires participants to endure a series of very strange challenges while suffering in near-total silence; even wincing in pain earns a stern rebuke from the unusually severe host. The tasks can be painful (enduring electric shocks), strange (eating spaghetti shoelaces from a jogger's shoes), or humiliating (being tied to a spit while basted in barbeque sauce). On the up side, there's no sex; though some tasks require contestants to strip to their underwear, it's anything but erotic. And since silence is the goal, there's little salty language to worry about.
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What's the story?
In each round of SILENT LIBRARY -- an Americanized version of a wacky Japanese game show -- one of six players is randomly selected to endure a very strange challenge; the others either watch or help deliver the various humiliations. The goal is to endure the physical discomfort and occasional degradation silently. Laughing, yelling, crying out in pain -- it's all forbidden. Too much noise and host Zero Kazama sternly tells the contestants that they've earned nothing for the task.
Is it any good?
Set in a faux library set, Silent Library is an exercise in the bizarre. The challenges aren't particularly difficult; instead they range from the downright silly to the degrading and painful. In one task, for example, a man must attach a woman's breast pump to his own nipples. In another, to the contestant's immense surprise, a dwarf wearing boxing gloves jumps out of a box and delivers a punch to the stomach. Participants are kicked on the rear end, endure electric shocks, and must hang on to a rotating spit while being basted in barbecue sauce. All the while, a stern librarian and a few nonplussed patrons look on, unamused.
Host Kazama is even less amused. The man never cracks a smile, acting as if he's in pain watching the contestants endure the various unpleasantries, which adds to the strange mood of this strange show. "Your pain is giving me pleasure," he tells one participant after a particularly embarrassing task. Viewers may be able to relate -- though this show isn't exactly entertaining, it's just too weird to write off as a total waste of time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's challenges. Do you think the tasks are degrading or just silly?
Would you be willing to be humiliated for money? If so, how far would you be willing to go?
This series is based on a game show imported from Japan, where embarrassment seems to be a common theme in game shows. Do you think that makes Japanese game shows different from American ones?
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