Monday, January 24, 2011


by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Brief history:
Wipeout is a newer show, only debuting in 2008... so there's not a heck of a lot of history, really. There was another, completely different gameshow with the same name in the late 80s, but it is completely unrelated. The show does pretty well, and has a lot of accolades regarding its ratings. When the third season debuted Nintendo DS and Wii released a game to go along with the show. We are currently in the fourth season, and I'm gonna be kinda smug and say that I believe that I have seen nearly every episode. Head's up, "Winter Wipeout" will last eight episodes before the show goes on hiatus, airing the remaining 16 episodes of the season in the summer.

The game: 24 people start, individually going through a qualifying round, trying to get through the quickest. The 12 fastest times move on to round 2. Round 2 trims the 12 down to 6. Round 3 takes 6 down to 4. The 4 remaining go through the "WipeoutZone" individually, and the fastest time wins $50,000. The first three rounds are during daylight while the fourth is at night. The obstacles all tend to change, and if you fall off the course you generally need to swim, LoL. Some of the most notable obstacles in Round 1 are the Big Balls, which very few people make it across without bouncing into the water, and the SuckerPunch, which is a wall of boxing gloves popping out at random. Rounds 2 and 3 are sometimes time-based and other times a see-who-can-last-the-longest extravaganza. Round 2 often contains a version of "The Sweeper" which has rotating arms that contestants must get by.

Notable changes to the way the game is played: In the fourth season, only three people go to the WipeoutZone as opposed to four. I'm not sure if this is going to continue, since we're only four episodes into the season, but I miss watching four people give it a go. Otherwise, the game changes quite often, as there have literally been dozens of different obstacles introduced and rotated in and out.

Special contestants: No celebrity contestants or anything come to mind, but I do like how the announcers give nicknames to all of the competitors, based on something they say in the pre-show interview most of the time. They did an episode with random pairs... that was weird.

Favorite Rounds: I like it when they have the second or third round be one where the goal is to last the longest, rather than get through something first or the fastest. Also, like the average American, I love to watch people attempt the "big balls," and I'll never forget the "seal girl" who made it across them with her unique technique.

My take: I'm actually going to admit that I've looked at the application before. About two years ago I thought about trying to get on the show... seriously. Now, I wonder if it's the best idea. I mean, the courses generally look crazy fun, but I think that it would be much more fun as an obstacle course with friends rather than a race-the-clock competition with strangers. Now, maybe I'm flashing back a little too hard to a time when my friend, BK, and I ran through an inflatable obstacle course in college (and both of us struggled to climb up the wall, hahaha), but I'd like to think that I'd want all similar courses to be like that one. Plus, you really get beat-up doing this one... and I'd be paranoid about chipping teeth or something. So, I'll pass.

Are you someone who watches Wipeout? Is it a guilty pleasure for you? Would you try it if you could?
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