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, as in the Japanese series it's loosely modeled after, much of this reality/game show's entertainment value comes from watching contestants "wipe out" during the competition in embarrassing ways. Expect some mild sexual innuendo and words like "hell" (iffier terms are fully bleeped out), as well as a healthy dose of typical game show greed. Remind kids that while many of the stunts seem silly or harmless, they can cause serious injury if tried at home.
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What's the story?
On WIPEOUT, contestants race through a series of grueling obstacle courses for the chance to win $50,000. Each week, 24 thrill-seeking competitors are put to the test as they stumble over towers of mats sitting in mud, try to swing into walls, or triumph over any other hurdle producers put in their way before they qualify for the next round. Those who make it through face even tougher challenges, with the final four facing off in the larger-than-life Wipeout Zone. Whoever makes it through the Zone in the shortest amount of time wins the competition -- and the cash. The whole shebang is a loose adaptation of various contemporary Japanese game shows that focus on the embarrassing, sometimes hair-raising spills that competitors take while attempting to perform feats that seem more like punishments than tests of skill.
Is it any good?
Unlike the seemingly life-threatening/gross stunts featured on shows like Fear Factor, most of Wipeout's challenges are designed to make people look more silly than brave. Adding to this are the comments offered by comedians/hosts John Anderson and John Henson, who -- with the help of Jill Wagner -- poke fun at the contestants' clumsiness and applaud their Herculean efforts. As a result, while viewers may cringe as contestants awkwardly tumble into pools of mud or ricochet off of giant rubber balls, they might also find themselves stifling a laugh or two.
Wipeout highlights the extremes to which some people will go to win money, even if it means getting humiliated in the process. While some viewers may find this sort of thing entertaining to watch, it doesn't send a particularly positive message to kids. If yours do watch, be sure to remind them that no matter how silly some of these stunts look, many of them can cause serious injury if tried at home.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about game shows. Why do you think people compete in crazy, humiliating, or scary challenges? Is it just for the money, or is there something else that motivates them? Do you think any of the challenges go too far?
Are any of your favorite shows originally from another country? How do you think the American version differs from the original?
Do you think there are shows from other countries that wouldn't work in the United States, or vice versa? Why?