Review: The CW’s “Oh Sit!” = “Wipeout” + More Talking – Excitement
Update: By The CW’s standards, Oh Sit! didn’t do as horribly as it could. The series debuted to 1.3 million viewers and a 0.5/2 in the key demographic. If nothing else this was 0.5/2 higher than what its follow-up, 90210, did. It also got quite a lot more viewers. Again, those numbers are nothing to cheer about in general and look bad, but for The CW’s summer standards it’s not that bad. Frankly compared to general Fall numbers it could be a lot worse. If nothing else, if it doesn’t drop too much in the future, they could have some summer filler here. Just, please, get rid of Jamie Kennedy.
It’s been a topic of conversation gaining considerable buzz in TV for nearly a year now: The CW has been developing a show based on what they call “extreme musical chairs.” It definitely sounds like something that could be interesting but it all lies in the execution, of course. Unfortunately, based on a couple of factors, the execution of CW’s Oh Sit! is “eh” at best and “why?” at worst. It has the possibility of being fun, but a few things drag it down to the point of being forgettable. I reviewed a near-completely edited copy of the program which debuts tomorrow night, August 15th, at 8 PM ET with another new episode at the same time the next night.
If you haven’t read the rules, feel free to do so here but it’s pretty simple. Competitors compete in an obstacle course loop at the same time. Each time they complete a lap in the loop, they earn cash. However, when the live band stops playing, they must finish the obstacle they’re on and make it to one of the chairs in the center ring in the pool. Elimination occurs in two ways: If you don’t make it to one of the chairs, just like in the “real” Musical Chairs, you’re out. Also, each chair has a hidden amount of money attached to it. When combined with the amount of money earned on the track, the lowest scorer is eliminated.
Twelve participants start off in this competition, which is the point where we see the first issue with the show. They spend a lot of time talking about everyone. A show like Wipeout does character building, but you only see and find out about a handful of the competitors, not all 24 people running the course. Two solid minutes at the top of the show are spent on seeing profiles of each person, why they’re going to win and whatever silly catch phrase or trash talk they want to throw out. Even if you pick a favorite during these introductions, you’re not going to see most of them. Because of the format, all 12 of the contenders are racing simultaneously so, in necessity to show as many people in different points on the track, there’s not much individual highlighting. Early on, it’s just, “hey look, #9 fell! And now #3 is trying to slide down the slippery stairs!”
Production of the show is interesting, too. A live band is playing along with the competition and when they finish playing, the competitors are supposed to head to the chair island. They play covers of popular pop songs – in the episode I reviewed, the songs they performed included “I Like It Like That” by Hot Chelle Rae, “Blow” by Ke$ha, and “Don’t Wanna Go Home” by Jason DeRulo. There is also a guest performer in one of the rounds. This episode featured Far East Movement, who performed their – oh, I’ll just say it – their awful hit, “Like a G6.” (Please, you can’t tell me lyrics like “When we drink we do it right, gettin’ slizzard, sippin’ sizzurp in my ride” is indicative of a fantastic composition.) The premiere episode features Kevin Rudolf and outside of these two, wide recognizability of the musical guests decreases greatly. Personal preference of the “real” performers aside, two problems exist with the house band: The show has problems trying to figure out if they want you focusing on audio of the band, audio of the commentary, video of the competition or shots of the band. It’s all over the place. The other issue is that the band just isn’t very good. They sound like the band you would hear playing at your local rock club on a Tuesday afternoon: an off-peak time where they can’t really offend a large crowd.
And lastly, the hosts. The show has an on-track correspondent, Tanika Ray, whose name would be familiar to longtime game show fans as she was the voice and movements for Cyber Lucy on the kids’ game Wheel of Fortune 2000. The two hosts commentating on the action in a perch above the action are MTV Canada host Jessi Cruickshank and recurring actor, for some reason, Jamie Kennedy. The female hosts do a pretty good job with their roles. They deal with the “sit”/”s**t” puns they’re given which, admittedly, were not as heavy as I was expecting and they make it seem like they’re having a great time. Kennedy on the other hand seems like he would rather be anywhere else. It really comes off like he’s just doing this for the paycheck and doesn’t really bother to act like he’s into the show, rather showing almost mock enthusiasm for what he’s involved in.
Overall, the lack of real focus on anything combined with the distracting band and Jamie Kennedy’s inability to be anything but himself make this something I think you could pass on and wouldn’t miss anything. I’m just here to guide you, though. If you’re into stunt shows and can’t get your fix with just Wipeout, tune in. Let us know how you feel about the show and tell us what you think if you watch it when it airs. Promos being distributed by The CW are embedded below where, shocker, they beat the pun right into you. Again, Oh Sit! premieres tomorrow night at 8PM ET.