I have watched about eight or nine reality TV episodes, ever. Then again, I don't count Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch as reality TV. But there's a new game show in town that's rather interestingly shabby, which is One Man Army. It's so good that it made me do pushups.
The premise is simple. Take four macho dudes from various military, para-military, police and other such agencies and get them to compete in three super rigorous contests. For 10K dollars and the honorific 'One Man Army'. It's shabby because the production values and on screen graphics and sound effects are overdone - to the point of annoyance. The host's voice has got that mix reminescent of cartoon superheroes like Dr. Quest but not so smooth as made to sound artificially deep. I liked the guy from Superweapons much better.
But. It is by far the most difficult set of tests I've ever seen on any TV show. It's harsh. It's real.
When people complain about the levels of violence on TV, we tend to forget what real violence is like - as if we ever knew. Just one 20 second clip of Joe Theisman's leg going the wrong way or a weightlifting event gone horrible and then we instantly know what's too painful to watch. We are shocked by our ability to empathize with something that stands out from fiction. We immediatley know it's not drama for its own sake. So One Man Army impressed me with the harshness of its trials.
There are three challenges in each episode. Speed. Strength. Intelligence.
The first episode I watched, only one man finished the first challenge. It was crazy difficult.In this challenge, the contestant was placed in a tank filled with 50 degree water where the only breathing room was a hole about 6 inches in diameter. He has to breathe through that hole, then move back underwater to cut through about four inches of steel to escape the tank. This was the Speed Challenge, and the only man who finished too 45 minutes.
The strength challenge on the second show had men breaching through five barriers, one of which was a cinderblock wall with rebar. Another had them sprint uphill to fire a pistol at a target 60 feet away. One had them hang upside down and crack four safes.
I can't wait to see what they think of next, because when these guys fail, they fail hard. I'd have to say this is the unwussiest.