The All-Pilot Project

The All-Pilot Project: Hole in the Wall & Priveleged

This edition of the All-Pilot Project heralds an exponential increase in instances of people falling into green-colored water. Seriously, that didn’t happen on 90210 at all!

Today’s edition brings us the opening salvos of FOX’s game show Hole in the Wall and the CW’s Privileged. Let’s see how they fare!


THE PREMISE: People try to fit through holes in a moving wall. If they fail, they fall in the water. It’s sort of like Human Tetris. It will not surprise you to hear that this was originally a Japanese game show.

THE PERSONNEL: Japan. Also, the announcer is Mark Thompson, who is the announcer on virtually all of FOX’s reality programs, and has played a reporter in no fewer than 15 different movies and TV shows. Brooke Burns handles the sideline reporting, while reminding me of how much I liked Miss Guided.

THE POOP: I know it sounds like I’m making this up, but really, the whole show involves people not getting knocked into water by a moving wall. Each wall has different shapes cut out, either geometric shapes or something sort of human-shaped, like a cartoon character ran through the wall a moment ago. If you don’t properly contort your body to pass through the hole, you fall in the water.

Ever since I realized the Japanese version existed, I’ve been mildly obsessed with it. I’ve scoured YouTube for hilarious footage of people getting hit by walls. Of course, those are 3-5 minute clips, not a full hour. Can that kind of hilarity expand to fill out an entire show?

Well, theoretically.

The problem here, and in fact, the problem on most modern game shows, is too much emphasis on the contestants. You know how on Jeopardy!, Alex briefly talks to each contestant right after the first commercial break? That’s the right idea. Tell us one interesting fact about yourself, and then get to the game. So many current shows leave the contestants a lot of time to do their shtick, and it’s really not entertaining, except to their closest friends.

Frankly, I don’t care if you think you’re hilarious. If you’ve got material to share, go on Last Comic Standing. I’m here to watch people get smacked with a wall, and watching you and your friends dance is taking away valuable time. The more we know about you, the less likely we are to root for you. When we watch game shows, we project ourselves onto the contestants, but the better we know them, the harder it is to do that.

And Brooke Burns really should not be talking to people while holding a microphone. She doesn’t really have much to say, and I’m not entirely sure that she should. Either you fit through the hole, or you don’t. There’s not a lot of contemplation involved.

What I’d like to see is more of a Wipeout format, where there’s a larger number of contestants, so it’s pretty much a rapid fire stream of people trying to squeeze through holes. I don’t care what they do for a living, I just want them to perfectly time a jumping jack.

Also, I think the pool behind them should be filled with different substances occasionally. People falling in water is funny, but if they used, say, shaving cream every once in a while, episodes would be visually distinguishable from one another, and might encourage a casual viewer to watch more often.

THE PROGNOSIS: Funny in small doses, I can’t imagine being a regular viewer of the show. It’s something I would definitely stop by to watch on occasion, especially if they pick up the pace. I still think I’m more likely to watch Japanese clips on YouTube than to tune in to the FOX version. The Japanese, they know how to present failed contortions like professionals.

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