Quarantine Catch-Up: “Hot Ones: The Game Show” Rapid Review

Before I jump into my first review since my lengthy hiatus, I want to take a moment and state that I sincerely hope and pray everyone is doing their very best to stay safe, stay sanitized, stay sane, stay smart and stay indoors during these very uncertain and dangerous times dealing with the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt that this virus has affected, disrupted and upended everyone’s daily routine, lifestyle and future plans to varying degrees. If you are able to do so, please take this undefined period of time to rest, keep in touch with your family and friends and take necessary measures to protect your physical and mental health. Whether you believe it or not, we’re in this together. Let’s do everything we can to do our respective parts in order for us to get back to a relative state of normality as soon as possible. This too shall pass.

Let’s get into it.

Due to everything coming to a screeching halt because of COVID-19, the next couple of weeks will be dedicated to The Blog Is Right catching up on reviews that I’ve missed over the past year of game shows that are either currently airing or poised to return for another season.

Hot Ones: The Game Show: Too Hot For TV?

Based on the masochist web series by First We Feast featuring host Sean Evans interviewing celebrities while they’re eating hot wings smothered in mouth-scorching sauces, I have mixed feelings about TruTV’s Hot Ones: The Game Show. It takes the endearing and entertaining qualities of the interview series – with viewers receiving a comically rare glimpse of the stars’ vulnerable side succumbing to the searing sauces – and ramps it up to a maddening degree.

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Here’s a quick rundown of the game: two pairs of teams play three rounds of pop culture trivia filled with multiple choice questions, picture puzzles and “Who/What Am I” clue puzzles. The unsurprising catch is that teams must consume outrageously intense hot wings prepared by the show’s resident chef, Chef Willie, without using any beverage or condiments to extinguish the sauce’s potency. The team with the highest cash total after the third round advance to the end game. In this Pyramid-style bonus round (appropriately called “The Ring Of Fire”), both teams must take a shot of a XXX hot sauce concoction and attempt to give and receive clues to guess five words correctly in one minute to win $25,000 and a couple of tall glasses of cold and refreshing milkshakes.

There are several reasons why you should check out this solid game show adaptation, including the fiery inferno Pepperdome arena appropriately staged in a Roman Coliseum design to set the intense tone of the competition, brilliant and brief explanations by the host in breaking down the science behind measuring hotness using the Scoville scale and the side effects of anyone consuming those devilish wings, an excellent variety of pop culture-centered games, a solid scoring format and an entertaining cast of contestants showing off their hubris before watching them stumble and suffer their way to victory or defeat.

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The highlight of the each show for me would have to be the $25,000 Ring of Fire bonus round, from the flames erupting from the floor surrounding the Milkshakes of Victory to the hot sauce shots acting as the perfect handicap to a deceptively easy word association end game. The only off-putting aspect of the show is the same reason why many viewers shy away from Fear Factor – watching contestants disgustingly dry heave, drool, drip snot and vomit throughout the game. Like Fear Factor, it’s interesting to see how far contestants are willing to push themselves through these incredibly mental and physical challenges for a five-figure grand prize.

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However, I completely understand how viewers would be turned off by this show because it’s not exactly fun to some to see people suffer. Watching how these contestants viscerally react to eating those wings is simultaneously fascinating and disturbing, especially whenever you see EMTs scramble onto the stage the moment they see someone in such dire distress that they need medical attention. (They could’ve at least given them hand-wipes to clean their fingers and sauce-slobbered mouths after each round – but I digress.)

Overall, Hot Ones: The Game Show is a terrific spinoff game show that’s quite entertaining to watch – if you have the stomach for it.

Rapid Review Score: 7.8/10

Prediction: TruTV will want to order another round of this series

Stay tuned for new episodes of Hot Ones: The Game Show Tuesdays at 10:00pm ET on TruTV and catch up on past episodes on TruTV.com!

Screenshots taken from episodes of Hot Ones: The Game Show.
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