Yesterday was pretty boring, wasn’t it? I imagine today and tomorrow will be the same.
Ramble of the Day
On television, humiliation has been a tried and true formula for a certain amount of success. It is brutal, and yet somehow enjoyable. Those two statements were hardly truer during the run of ABC’s Wipeout, which aired from 2008 to 2014.
YouTube is full of compilations and full episodes of the show, with one offering the most challenging, but simple prompt that captures the entire concept: “TRY NOT TO LAUGH.” Maybe you’ll be successful, and maybe you won’t; it’ll naturally depend on how you react to human pain, or a specific version of it.
Wipeout was working with the (likely correct) idea that having people work their way through a giant obstacle course, almost never flawlessly, would be amusing to many generations of Americans. It was coupled with a sports-like presentation, as commentators holding a significant role in the show. The seriousness of the announcers with the absolute opposite appearing on the screen provided comedic dissonance that easily made it a clear example of turn-off-your-brain television.
What I take away from this demonstration of pain is that Wipeout is simultaneously the most painful of reality shows while also being honest. One could argue that most reality shows are out to embarrass its contestants; I’m watching a rerun of Family Feud as I write this, and it’s essentially Steve Harvey’s distinct brand as the host to mock the bad answers.
I imagine people enter all of these shows — and maybe they entered Wipeout the same way — hoping or believing they’d not be the subject of mockery. After all, the point of most other shows is other things. Wipeout, though, made sure everyone know it was in the business of embarrassment, and that no one was safe. There’s no accusation to be made of being portrayed in a bad light because that’s essentially the point.
These people are all braver than me for venturing into the world of reality television, and particularly so for going on Wipeout. I couldn’t speak to their thoughts at all, but I imagine that feeling of collective embarrassment softened any blows a little bit.
tl;dr: Wipeout as pain-filled, turn-off-your-brain, honest entertainment.
Links of the Day
Nottingham Forest has banned a fan after he was found racially abusing Derby County’s Duane Holmes.
Schalke chairman Clemens Tönnies will step down for three months after breaking the club’s anti-discrimination rules.
David Squires provides a Premier League preview in his latest cartoon.
Transfer updates: Bournemouth has signed Harry Wilson from Liverpool on a season-long loan; Wolverhampton has signed Renat Dadashov from Estoril; West Ham has signed Gonçalo Cardoso from Boavista; Derby County has signed Wayne Rooney from DC United as a player-coach beginning in January
Today’s longer read: Nicholas Blincoe on Palestinian football and its off the field impact for The Guardian