Hannah Star What the fuck, Fear Factor!?

Remember how (minimally) sad you were when Fear Factor was off the air for five years? Well dry your eyes and put down that box of tissues, because Fear Factor is back. Actually, it’s been back for a couple weeks already. And actually, you should probably pick the tissues back up, because 2011’s Fear Factor 2.0 is just as bad – or possibly worse – than the original.

The contestants still suck as much as ever. They’re not humans, but completely one-dimensional archetypes: the ditzy, slutty girls; the huge tattooed muscular guys; the gay couple; the sassy black women. They seem to have no deeper characteristics beyond their assigned “role”. On the episode I watched, the sassy black woman wore four-inch heels to every challenge, and constantly reminded the other contestants how ugly she thought they all were. There are two potential conclusions I can draw from the contestants’ one-dimensionality. One, all the contestants are actors and the show’s producers think that personality-less archetypes are more fun to watch. Two, (and the more likely conclusion), the show’s producers realized that anyone dumb enough to sit through an hour of the world’s worst reality show must be too stupid to comprehend contestants with more than one personality trait.

For the most part, the challenges were pretty lame too. Also for the most part, they don’t really have anything to do with fear. On the episode I watched, the contestants had to complete some weirdo obstacle course in as fast a time as possible. But completing the course quickly didn’t require any of the contestants to overcome their fears – all they needed was luck to find the right key to open a box, and enough dexterity to swing a hatchet and cut a rope in half. When the winner is declared at the end of the episode and Joe Rogan (oh, Joe Rogan) says, “Evidently fear is not a factor for you,” he should really be saying “Evidently, the difficulty inherent to severing a rope is not a factor for you,” or “Evidently the bad luck of having to try every fucking key before finding the right one is not a factor for you.” You know, something like that.

The saving grace of the otherwise totally lame episode was the second challenge. Traditionally on Fear Factor (because I was obviously a die-hard watcher back in the show’s glory days), the second challenge involves eating something really gross – usually bugs or rotten food. On the episode I saw, Joe Rogan introduced the contestants to the Fear Factor “Crappucino”, a blended drink made from worms, stink bugs, flies, and curdled milk. The contestants had to drink as many cups as they could in two minutes; most didn’t make it beyond one glass. Now that’s a challenge. Sorry Joe Rogan, but fear would totally be a factor for me.

But despite the fun of watching the dizty slutty girls guzzle down the Crappucino (and Joe Rogan throwing out words of encouragement like, “come on girls, imagine it’s booze!”), the show still sucked big time.


That was the one thing that stuck out to me, the fact that this week's spotlight wnienr wanted the best to stay in so he could compete against them in the sculpture competition later. The idea that they are there to prove themselves and not just to win a reality show is the only reason I watch. The one thing that may keep it from crossing into the drama territory in future seasons is the independent judges.I wonder if they are keeping the guy who did the elevator makeup around for his temper tantrums. While I think Sergio was a little lost in this competition, that guy showed really no imagination this week. I mean, he traced the black light tattoos he already had, that is incredibly lazy if not potentially plagiarism if they were not his own designs. The poor model who had to have a lampshade on his head is probably lucky there wasn't an umbrella around to use as a prop.I'm there to see the talent. When it becomes Big Brother I'll turn it off.

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