Banzai/Most Extreme Elimination Challenge

Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:35 am
I saw the new show "Banzai" on Fox TV Sunday night. I am not Japanese, but I found it very insulting to the Japanese. It was a fun show, but characterized Japanese in a 'politically incorrect' manner. I don't think it will last long.

"Banzai" isn't a real Japanese import. It is a North American (Canadian?) parody of Japanese game shows.

On the other hand, I have no problem with TNN (Spike)'s program "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge", which actually IS a Japanese game show redubbed with English wisecracks.

What does anyone else think?
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:50 am
I haven't seen the new show "Banzai" but read about it in the NY Times. It sounds dreadful, but, as P.T. Barnum once said, "No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." Or words to that effect.

I have watched and enjoyed "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge". I love the narrative--very funny, without being unduly cruel to the participants...
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 10:59 am
Banzai is a UK export, where it was a cult hit. My guess is that with the popluarity of Jackass, and other type shows, Banzai will be around for a while.

LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Blend the lunacy of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" with the uniquely Japanese competitive spirit of "Iron Chef" and you get "Banzai," a British import bound to get eyebrows lifting and tongues wagging when it premieres Sunday, July 13, at 8:30 p.m. ET, on FOX.

"It came from my warped mind," says the show's executive producer, Liverpool native Gary Monaghan. "I came up with it for Channel 4 in the U.K. We've sold it all over the world, so I guess everybody else shares my sick sense of humor."

The half-hour series has the bold graphics and manic energy of a Japanese game show -- with a largely Asian cast -- but Monaghan asserts that it's really set in "a mythical, Far Eastern world where all this craziness can happen. The subtitles aren't Japanese. It's Banzai language. We live in the land of Banzai."

Or at least he hopes it doesn't say anything. "You know what, maybe the person who invented this language has had a horrible joke on me, and for years, we've been putting out really offensive messages to somebody. But nobody's hit me yet, so I guess I'll have to wait for that."

"Banzai" sets up strange competitions, such as having a priest, a rabbi and "The Incredible Hulk" star Lou Ferrigno vie in a stationary-cycling contest for the soul of a baby, or having two grannies in motorized wheelchairs square off in a game of chicken.

Other contests involve celebrities, including Lady One Question, who asks one question, then continues to hold the mike in silence. "American Idol" super-critic Simon Cowell was reduced to wondering aloud if he'd caused offense to his stoic questioner.

The audience -- via the Internet at FOX.com/banzai or on wireless phones -- then votes on the outcome (with no actual money changing hands).

The idea came to Monaghan while sitting around with friends in pubs in Manchester. "Sadly, we're all alcoholics over here, and we just live in pubs. We just sit in the pubs after work. We're so bored with each other, we haven't got anything to say anymore, and we invent gambles to pass the time. It was just that, me and a few mates in the pub, drunk, gambling."

Unfortunately some of "Banzai's" more outrageous skits -- usually involving nudity and body parts -- won't air on FOX.

"Half our content we can't use," Monaghan says, "because of taste and decency."

Already, promos for the show have caused a problem. Among the stunts shown is one in which contestants bet on how many helium balloons it would take to raise a chicken into the air. Viewers of "Banzai," if they watch closely, can see that the chicken is tethered and therefore cannot float away.

Apparently, in late June, a San Francisco prankster decided to emulate the stunt -- without the tether -- and sent a chicken named Amelia floating off, where she became tangled in power lines. Luckily, she was rescued safely and is now awaiting adoption.

Monaghan admits that some of the animal stunts caused in a stir in England. Asked if animals were abused, Monaghan says, "Not sexually. We did have a bet where we had three vets, and they all had their arms up a cow's bottom, doing an inspection. You had to guess which was really the one-armed veterinarian, who didn't have his arm up there at all.

"The cows loved it," he jokes. "We had to do 20 takes. We only needed one."

Do don't blame us Canajuns Twisted Evil
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Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2003 01:22 pm
The news is far more offensive (by omission if not by commission) than Banzai. (Yeah, I watched it, quite by accident. Won't watch it again, but it was amusing enough -- though they're certainly going to get tons of letters.) But I'm a fan of the extremely low-brow, so long as it's not wrestling.
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