Aug 7, 2009
Playing Plinko used to be as crazy as North American game shows got. Now, however, crazy game shows challenge contestant to eat a horse’s colon for cash.
Foreign game shows, on the other hand, have been challenging their contestants to perform oddball stunts like this years before American ones have. Did you see the Japanese game show clip of guys getting hit in the nuts? How about the trivia show in which people peel their clothes off after every wrong answer?
Crazy game shows are found everywhere. So to narrow it down, we’ve put together a top 10 list of crazy game shows outside North America. To make the list, each crazy game show has to have one or more of these nutty elements: “punishment” games in which contestants are physically hurt for laughs, tough physical challenges, nudity or a mixture of everything. The madder the elements of each crazy game show, the higher it ranks on our list.
How far would you go to win on one of these crazy game shows?
Here’s the premise for this German game show: Two contestants play a guessing game and a woman strips. While this goes on a group of women called “Cin Cin Girls” dance in the background to popular hits of the day played by the live studio band. A spin-off the Italian game show Colpo Grosso, this German show ran from 1990 to 1993 and caused controversy not just for its nudity, but for its gratuitousness. It’s reported few viewers understood what they were watching and considered the random assortment of dancers and nudity plain bonkers.
The Naked Jungle
This crazy British game show aired only once. Set up as a quiz show for nudists — or “naturists,” as the show called them — its host led nude contestants through various physical challenges. These included The Chasm of Doom where players swung on a rope to collect a fig leaf while their parts also swung in the breeze. It got huge ratings for its nude theme, plus it inspired a debate in parliament. Apart from its nudity, many considered it a dud and it was even made a Top 50 Worst British TV Shows list
What would you do with an abandoned fort in a body of water? If you’re French, you make it the setting of a crazy game show. In Fort Boyard, contestants endure insane challenges to find gold keys. These challenges include carrying a bucket of corn which they had to weigh in the middle of a room full of live chickens and feeling around for a key in jars filled with rats and worms. This crazy game show is known for making contestants break into tears. To finish, players have to exit the fort’s final room before live tigers run in. England also spun off its own version, which also proved to be a big hit and verified that “fou” translates well into “crazy” in English.
The concept: A wall with a shape cut out of it moves toward the contestant. To win, the contestant must form the same shape as the wall’s hole with their own body and pass through it without getting knocked in the water. Sound easy enough? Sure, if the shapes were simple. Many have sharp angles that would even prove a challenge to the most rubbery contortionists. The result: Most of the players get swept into the water. Often referred to as “Human Tetris” in the U.S., the show is in production in Australia, Russia and Indonesia. Currently, a show is in the works for the U.S. Want to give it a shot? Make sure you perfect your Downward Dog first.
Right you are, Ken! Known in English as Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC), this is a classic Japanese game show that pits contestants against various challenges. The idea is that the Count of the Castle — played by popular Japanese actor Kitano “Beat” Takeshi — sets up challenges to prevent people from taking over his castle. Contestants then jump into the course to overcome these challenges and usually fail painfully with a nasty fall or mishap. This was a huge show in Japan that aired from 1986 to 1990. It led to tons of spin-offs around the world, but perhaps the best name that emerged from them all belongs to MXC.
Do you think you’re good at trivia? What if your buzzer to answer questions was in the middle of cacti? Or, to buzz in, you had to pee in a certain spot in a toilet? This British game show pulls out tons of crazy stops to prevent its players from advancing to the final round. If they do get to the final round, they have to face their toughest challenge: answer questions while the prize up for grabs gets damaged for every wrong answer. Of course, if contestants are really lucky they might also be exposed to Nudist Turntable. In this game, each player has to pull off with their teeth cards that are stuck to nude old people. Afterward, they enjoy the thrill of being shot by a paintball expert for any other wrong answers they get. Clearly this show spells C-R-A-Z-Y.
Do you think American Gladiator is tough? Only two people have completed all four stages in this Japanese obstacle course. The course is so demanding that the majority of contestants are amateur Japanese athletes and former Olympians. It’s so rare for anyone to make it to the final stage that those who do are labeled Sasuke All-Stars and are treated as Japanese celebrities. It has been going on since 1997 with untold amounts of injuries to its credit. With a course difficult enough to send Navy Seals packing, you can bet the level of injuries are a lot more significant than a flesh wound.
El gran juego de la oca
Roughly translated into “the game of the goose,” this Spanish game show has 63 board game pieces that players try to advance through to win prizes. Each game piece represents a new stunt or humiliation that is both insane for its requirements and its randomness. Take Square 31, for example: Contestants hacked watermelons with a machete. Or Square 47: Players entered a glass pit filled with snakes to find a key. Or Square 57: A male contestant had to keep his heart rate down while a model stripped for him. Add to this a cast of surreal characters like mud wrestlers, knife throwers, a man dressed in pink pajamas, a magician, and live geese free to roam the stage, and you have a recipe for madness.
Do you want to play Grand Theft Auto in real life? Thank Russia’s crazy game show for giving you the opportunity to do so. Contestants are given a stolen car and 35 minutes to escape police. If they do, they win the car they’re driving. Originally conceived as propaganda to show Russians how great its police force is, viewers cheered for the criminals. One driver hid on a train to avoid the cops while another hid on a raft in the middle of the Moscow River. Still, the cops held their end up and arrested the majority of contestants, even going so far as to throw suspects against the car and arrest them with guns drawn. At its peak, the show had 85 million viewers. No word on whether they’ll make the criminals the heroes in a spin-off.
Gaki no Tsukai
This show covers every kind of crazy. It has a regular cast of people who hit each other in the nuts during word-teaser games, make each other laugh with torture devices in a game called Silent Library, watch each other eat food with bizarre ingredients that once included cigarettes, fire blow darts into each other’s butts if they laugh in a “no laughing game,” and punish each other with humiliations that can last up to 24 hours. It may be cuckoo, but it’s a big hit in its home country of Japan. Hosted by a popular comedy duo called Downtown, the show attracts a loyal audience that howls at their comedic personas, while contestants often howl in pain.
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