I don’t watch this show often, because although I do like the tight-rope walking, and jumping between speeding boats, I don’t like seeing people eat nauseous crap. I wonder if tonight’s show hit a new low.
There was one event where whichever contestants had the most needles stuck through her arm advanced! The needles were stuck into the skin, then back out the skin, so that they lay somewhat parallel to the skin, not directly in like acupuncture needles. Plus they were of increasing diameter. The woman I saw having this done to her was in tears.
It seemed to me that this crossed a new threshold; to be sure it is unpleasant for Americans to eat centipedes and Tarantulas, and this kind of thing is not new for reality TV. It is a staple of FF, done on Survivor etc.
But causing physical pain? Sticking needles into your arm? Standing around and watching while somebody plays pincushion with a cute girl?
Am I wrong that this is the first use of physical pain as an event on a reality show? On Survivor Thailand, the final challenge wa similar to what they have done on previous shows: It was to stand in an uncomfortable posture, and whoever could do it the longest won immunity. To be sure, this is eventually painful, but bodies are designed to move, sometimes briefly to uncomfortable postures. To me this is essentially different from being jabbed with a needle.
Some clarifications: I only watched as much of this as I did because I was at a friend’s house, in fact I cut short my visit because of this. I realize the contestants on the show were complicit in their torture; I consider it less bad than grabbing someone and jabbing needles in them without their permission.
I also am not saying I think a program like this should not be shown. One could choose to not watch it. I’m just saying when Fox starts running ‘Mutilate Yourself for Money’ I will not be tuning in.