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Crazy Japanese Game Shows Come to American TV Audience

Fans of Japanese game shows, such as Human Tetris and Slip ’n’ Slide bowling, will be happy to know that American producers are planning on...

Sean Leow
Sean Leow on June 30, 2008.

Fans of Japanese game shows, such as Human Tetris and Slip ’n’ Slide bowling, will be happy to know that American producers are planning on emulating them for US TV audiences. The New York Times reports that shows such as “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” and “Wipeout” recently made their debut on ABC.

Ones of the producers interviewed describes a particularly unique challenge from the show “Baby Go Boom”

Wearing baby bonnets and diapers, the competitors spin around in cribs until they’re dizzy. Then they try to cross a teeter-totter, get past spinning plates and overcome other obstacles without spilling a jug of milk that they carry. The team that manages to spill the least milk wins.

In Japan, these shows are known as batsu games, or punishment and humiliation games, and they celebrate the spirit of embarrassment and ability to laugh at oneself. As David Goldberg, the president of Endemol USA, put it, “The whole idea of watching people crash and burn — but not get hurt — is something that people seem to be drawn to.”

NYT: Japanese-Style Game Shows: Cash for Winners, Humiliation for Losers

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