Wipeout — No Takeshi’s Castle

Wipeout. Some of you know that I really enjoyed Takeshi’s Castle from my time in Japan and I’m not a fan of MXC. Still, an attempt by an American company to do an American version of Takeshi’s Castle, or at least something inspired by Takeshi’s Castle, is something that would get my attention. That was done by ABC, which debuted tonight.

Sadly, while on the surface Wipeout looks as if it were taken from Takeshi’s Castle, it is not good like Takeshi’s Castle. First, with ESPN’s Sports Center guy John Anderson being one of the commentators, it feels like we are trying to make this reality show feel like a real sports thing rather than what it is – a dopey set of obstacle courses. This attempt is furthered by having Jill Wagner doing “sideline” commentary and interviews. She reminded me of how many women work the sidelines of football games on TV while at the same time, I kept expecting her to start talking about the latest Mercury vehicle (since she’s in so many of their ads). Rounding out the cast is John Henson, the comic who used to host the show Talk Soup.

There’s no doubt that physical comedy can be funny. I admit, that was a big part of the laughs in Takeshi’s Castle. However, Wipeout‘s “wipeouts” didn’t seem funny. I think only one of the spills in Wipeout made me chuckle, and I forgot even which one it was. In this regard, the show is more like the old American Gladiators for challenges, which I never found funny but didn’t watch it for humor.

To try to compensate for the lack of physical humor, John and John are given a script of bad humor and puns when they aren’t trying to give serious commentary about the different courses.

Bottom line: I won’t be watching this again. I’d rather watch the real thing or even something like Ninja Warrior (despite its edits).

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