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Reality Bites: Oh Sit!

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Oh, to be a fly on the wall at a network pitch meeting:

CW Exec 1: All right, what have you got for us?
Producer: Picture this: extreme musical chairs.
CW Exec 2: Are you high, like, right now?
Producer: Drunk. Tell me, have you seen the ABC show Wipeout?
CW Exec 1: Of course, everyone has. It's terrible.
Producer: That's basically what this is: obstacles and terrible commentary, only with chairs at the end.
CW Exec 1: ... fuck it, it's still better than anything NBC has.

I assume the process behind greenlighting the CW's Oh Sit! wasn't any more complicated than that. At least, I hope it wasn't.

Your hosts on this journey into quasi-madness are Jessi Cruickshank, described on Wikipedia as a "Canadian television personality" -- presumably to explain why we have to look her up on Wikipedia in the first place -- and Jamie Kennedy, AKA That Guy You Thought At First Was Seth Green But It Turns Out He's Not Very Funny. The tableau plays out in front of a live studio audience, who were probably lured off Hollywood Boulevard with promises of bit parts in Scream 5.

The CW make it easy for us early on by presenting 12 contestants we hope will fail. One of the dudes is an actual nurse -- and a "naughty" nurse for bachelorette parties. There was also a guy from San Diego who'd somehow developed a Southern accent, and a teacher/go-go dancer. Not to be outdone, the ladies boasted their own dancer (describing herself as "Bodzilla"), a woman competing in order to purchase breast implants, and a Naval officer who likes to party.

Because "Strength and honor" only get you so far in today's armed forces.

The contestants run around a circular track, jumping through/over obstacles until the house band stops playing. At this point, they have to make it across three Wipeout "inspired" bridges to a platform of chairs, each of which has a designated dollar amount, which is then added to whatever money they've earned for defeating the various obstacles. The two contestants unable to make it to the platform are eliminated, as is the one with the lowest money total. The competition continues for three rounds, with the chairs becoming more valuable and the obstacles more ... obstacular, until we finally reach Chair Mountain. Woo.

Of course, at this point I was pretty much falling asleep, because if there's one central criticism of Oh Sit, it's that -- absent the "salacious" title -- it's mostly just boring. Minimal laughs are to be had courtesy of repeated replays of contestants face planting or coming dangerously close to concussing themselves (because when is that not funny?), but there's next to no entertainment to be had from Kennedy and Cruickshank's "humorous" play-by-play. At least John Henson and John Henderson record their Wipeout commentary from their rec rooms in Santa Barbara or something, Kennedy and Cruickshank have to suffer the ignominy of sitting right there the whole time.

And we can't forget about the "guest bands," who are given the arduous task of lip synching through the proceedings. It's almost enough to make you feel bad to see once mighty acts such as Far East Movement bouncing desultorily along as mid-range strippers and entomologists clamber over giant rubber barricades, but then you remember how fucking annoying "Like a G6" really was.

Still, it's the CW, which means the threshold for continued airplay is markedly lower than quote-unquote real networks. Oh Sit! will probably be around for several years, or at least until Jamie Kennedy suffers an accidental death from autoerotic asphyxiation. Besides, any show that brings us closer to full-on Ow! My Balls! is all right with me.

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