Reality Bites: Oh Sit!

Categories: Reality Bites

ohsit0508a.jpg
In my opinion, mandatory helmets ruined competitive musical chairs.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall at a network pitch meeting:

CW Exec 1: All right, what have you got for us?
Producer: Picture this: extreme musical chairs.
CW Exec 2: Are you high, like, right now?
Producer: Drunk. Tell me, have you seen the ABC show Wipeout?
CW Exec 1: Of course, everyone has. It's terrible.
Producer: That's basically what this is: obstacles and terrible commentary, only with chairs at the end.
CW Exec 1: ... fuck it, it's still better than anything NBC has.

I assume the process behind greenlighting the CW's Oh Sit! wasn't any more complicated than that. At least, I hope it wasn't.

Your hosts on this journey into quasi-madness are Jessi Cruickshank, described on Wikipedia as a "Canadian television personality" -- presumably to explain why we have to look her up on Wikipedia in the first place -- and Jamie Kennedy, AKA That Guy You Thought At First Was Seth Green But It Turns Out He's Not Very Funny. The tableau plays out in front of a live studio audience, who were probably lured off Hollywood Boulevard with promises of bit parts in Scream 5.

The CW make it easy for us early on by presenting 12 contestants we hope will fail. One of the dudes is an actual nurse -- and a "naughty" nurse for bachelorette parties. There was also a guy from San Diego who'd somehow developed a Southern accent, and a teacher/go-go dancer. Not to be outdone, the ladies boasted their own dancer (describing herself as "Bodzilla"), a woman competing in order to purchase breast implants, and a Naval officer who likes to party.

Because "Strength and honor" only get you so far in today's armed forces.

The contestants run around a circular track, jumping through/over obstacles until the house band stops playing. At this point, they have to make it across three Wipeout "inspired" bridges to a platform of chairs, each of which has a designated dollar amount, which is then added to whatever money they've earned for defeating the various obstacles. The two contestants unable to make it to the platform are eliminated, as is the one with the lowest money total. The competition continues for three rounds, with the chairs becoming more valuable and the obstacles more ... obstacular, until we finally reach Chair Mountain. Woo.

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"I can see the end of Western Civilization from here."
Of course, at this point I was pretty much falling asleep, because if there's one central criticism of Oh Sit, it's that -- absent the "salacious" title -- it's mostly just boring. Minimal laughs are to be had courtesy of repeated replays of contestants face planting or coming dangerously close to concussing themselves (because when is that not funny?), but there's next to no entertainment to be had from Kennedy and Cruickshank's "humorous" play-by-play. At least John Henson and John Henderson record their Wipeout commentary from their rec rooms in Santa Barbara or something, Kennedy and Cruickshank have to suffer the ignominy of sitting right there the whole time.

And we can't forget about the "guest bands," who are given the arduous task of lip synching through the proceedings. It's almost enough to make you feel bad to see once mighty acts such as Far East Movement bouncing desultorily along as mid-range strippers and entomologists clamber over giant rubber barricades, but then you remember how fucking annoying "Like a G6" really was.

Still, it's the CW, which means the threshold for continued airplay is markedly lower than quote-unquote real networks. Oh Sit! will probably be around for several years, or at least until Jamie Kennedy suffers an accidental death from autoerotic asphyxiation. Besides, any show that brings us closer to full-on Ow! My Balls! is all right with me.

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3 comments
justpease
justpease

Just curious if you did any research at all before writing this completely ignorant article that bores me a hell of a lot more than this silly and harmless game show.

First of all, let's not dumb down a network pitch meeting. Sure it's fun to think that executives go to meetings drunk or high and come up with the stupidest ideas they can. I'll give you the fact of the matter that half the time, it does seem this way with what is on TV these days. Half the shit I read online is horrible too but I don't go around saying that the author of whatever article I don't personally like must have been drunk or high during the creative process. It is in fact, not all about you. I'm also sure they didn't sit down and say, "Ok what show is Pete Haar really going to love?!" 

The truth of the matter is, majority rules in the TV world. Networks buy and keep shows that people watch. If it already has a Season 2 and you don't like it, chances are, you're more a part of the minority than the majority. There is this thing called ratings, and if people watch a show, ratings go up. If ratings are good, the show continues to run. 

Second of all, many people know Jessi Cruickshank from her days at MTV hosting after shows and reunions. Ever heard of "The Hills"? It was one of the most success shows to ever air on the network - and Jessi was a part of it. You of course may not know this because CW and MTV have a targeted audience of young, fun viewers who don't critique their mindless-yet-perfectly-entertaining programing. 

As for the contestants... What's that you say, they all had something quirky and unusual about them to leave some sort of impression on you? You liked some and hated others? Sounds like a huge failure on the casting. I'd much rather watch a bunch of boring people with no personalities, who work 9-5, run around the track and I'll try to care when they win money or fall off the track.

You didn't even get the rules right. If you paid attention, (I know this show can be confusing for even someone claiming to be intelligent) you would have seen that 2 contestants are eliminated the 1st round for not making it into a chair on time, and then 1 contestant is eliminated for having the lowest amount banked. After that, each round continues with only 1 contestant getting eliminated if they don't get to a chair on time and 1 contestant getting eliminated for having the lowest amount banked. 

Some other things you are wrong about: The cover band doesn't lip synch at all, they perform live and are actually really talented. It films in Los Angeles, as if they couldn't find talented musicians looking for work?  Oh and newsflash, Jessi and Jamie don't sit there and comment on the game live as it happens. Just like Wipeout they film that later on with a green screen. Some Hollywood smoke and mirrors sure fooled you. 

Finally. This is the CW. If you want anyone to take you seriously, I'd pick a different network to start critiquing and leave this one for the kiddos. 

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