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Not for Nuthin’

I can’t help it: I like to watch game shows. I know most people won’t ever admit it, but I do — proudly and openly. The sillier they are, the better.

I was a big fan of “The Gong Show” and “Beat the Clock” way back when and now two of my favorites are “Wipe Out” and “I Survived a Japanese Game Show.” Both are on ABC Wednesday evenings and both are ridiculously funny with the most outrageous stunts ever seen. It’s not so much that they are competing −− lord knows, I couldn’t accomplish the first obstacle, let alone the whole course −− but it’s how they react when they wipe out that gives me the giggles.

Both shows require that the participants survive stunts that a stunt person couldn’t while trying to beat the time.

On “Wipe Out,” the contestants compete individually. From a group of 24 “Daring Doers,” four are winnowed down to vie for the coveted spot of Winner of the Wipe Out Zone. The one who completes all the tasks in the best time wins $50,000. All of the stunts involve water, lots of shaving cream and even more mud. For $50,000 I’d be willing to try a few of them myself.

The “Stunters” bounce over giant balls, slip and slide through a punching wall, run across wobbling teeter totters, stand on pylons while trying to avoid an ever−lowering rotating pole and ride a twirly gig several times until reaching the end of the course. Through each obstacle the moderators, John and John, provide a running commentary.

The Japanese show pits team against team, Red Tigers vs. Green Tigers, and it’s the combined times that win or lose each tourney. So far I’ve seen the human torpedo challenge, the “how many bento boxes can you carry” and survive being hit by a beach ball contest, and the fly and spider web obstacle. At the midway point the talleys are made, and the moderator says, “Your team wins and you go to Mount Fuji − Your team lost you go clean the subway.”

Unfortunately, as much as I love watching it, there’s just so much water, goo and shaving cream I can view before my brain hits the “Veg Out Zone” and I fall asleep before it ends, so I have yet to see what the winning team is awarded. Besides visiting Mount Fuji, do they get free sushi for life, I wonder? Also on the schedule and on ABC is “The Superstars,” an old favorite re−tooled and shot entirely at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The show pairs eight celebrities with eight professional male and female athletes that then compete against each other in various sporting events. Each week a different team is eliminated. The one that survives will be crowned the winner at the end of the six−week season. It premiered this past Tuesday, but unfortunately Pregnant for 46 Years was on Discovery Health at the same time, and as much as I love game shows, my other guilty pleasure is weird health shows. I’m all out of the closet now.

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