More Japanese Game Shows

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It’s been a couple weeks, and I’ve finally mustered the courage to watch some more Japanese game show clips. I have no idea what’s going on with these, but half the fun is trying to figure it out.

Who do you feel worse for in this video: the girls or the lizard? Sure we’ve seen this before in the US on Fear Factor, but the child-like glee with which these women are tortured is new. And it wasn’t until my third viewing that I noticed each woman has meat strapped to her head. Here lizard, lizard, lizard…

The best way I can describe this game show is American Gladiators meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Or maybe live action Spongebob Squarepants on scooters? Either way, I have to admit during the last event, I was leaning forward a little in my chair. The guy has skills. By the way, is that woman punishing the losers by breathing onion breath into their faces?

This show takes the American game show convention of “What’s behind door number X” to an amusing extreme. It also reinforces my belief that no one wins on Japanese game shows except the viewers, and regardless of the potential prize, I’m not sure I’d want to make it through the door knowing monster-boxing-glove-guy was waiting for me.

After a couple weeks of exploring Japanese game shows, this is what we’ve got: inexplicable costumes, demoralizing punishments, impossible feats, feverishly elaborate set decorations, and pain. Looking at our American game shows through this lens, it’s not hard to imagine playing Hollywood Electric Chairs, dropping the losing family on Feud into a giant clothes dryer, or even seeing Drew Carey dressed as a man-lobster. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that. What strange hybrid of east and west can you imagine?

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