What will they think of next?

/ 12:01 AM February 27, 2017
From left: Jimmy Fallon and “Late Night” guests, “Jackass” costars Johnny Knoxville and Ehren McGhegey

From left: Jimmy Fallon and “Late Night” guests, “Jackass” costars Johnny Knoxville and Ehren McGhegey

TV program producers have been pushing the envelope to the max for years, coming up with “extreme” tests and challenges that viewers feel they have to watch, for fear of being left out in the cold.

Trouble is, “extreme” sometimes means dangerous, so viewers are sternly warned: Please, don’t do this at home!


Sadly, however, there have been instances when even that cautionary caption has been woefully insufficient in fending off injury, mayhem—and even worse.

In the 1980s, “Give It a Whirl” encouraged daredevils to perform risky stunts on-cam. But, a bungee jump went horribly wrong, and the jumper fell 120 feet—to his death. The show was abruptly canceled—but the harm had been done.


Later, “Jackass” went the same risky route, as did “Dirty Sanchez,” “Splash!” and “Total Wipeout.” While nobody perished, serious injuries were sustained.

On European TV, the French reality show, “Dropped,” did end in tragedy when nine people perished in a helicopter crash!

One of the most notorious “extreme” TV challenges was “Man vs. Beast,” with humans trying to beat physically superior animals in various tests of strength and speed.

Competitors included a sumo wrestler in a tug of war with an orangutan, a speed eater vs a bear in a hotdog-eating contest, and an elephant pulling an airplane in competition with 44 little people (the elephant won).

What really got viewers’ goat was the sight of a human runner racing against a zebra (the zebra won)!

As for the latest “extreme” TV challenge, “The Jump,” contestants’ injuries to date have included a broken back, a dislocated knee and an injured elbow, so its end may not be far away. Why wait for worse things to happen before pulling the plug?

What about other far-out TV shows that don’t involve physical challenges? Their attention-deficit company includes the succinctly titled “101 Things Removed From the Human Body.” Billed as a “shockumentary” series, the items it featured included an ice pick, a bag of nails, a javelin, a boat anchor, a bicycle pump—and a human body!


Some viewers complained that they were offended by a number of the show’s graphic visualizations, but others found the program (shockingly) compelling, and it even topped its time slot’s ratings—go figure!

Other “extreme” TV programs with a “unique viewing proposition” include “The Littlest Groom,” a take-off on “The Bachelor,” with the prospective groom only 4’ 5” “tall.”

In “Playing It Straight” a woman dates 10 men, some of whom are gays trying their best to pass for hetero. The challenge is for her to choose a straight guy—and they both win a prize. If she chooses a gay blade, however, she wins nothing.

“Who’s Your Daddy?” tasked a woman to survey a group of men pretending to be her biological dad. If she accurately pinpointed her real father, she would win $100,000.

And, “Dating Naked” had male and female contestants going out on dates completely in the buff.

Their private parts were blurred, but the nude twist was still an “extreme” come-on. What will they think of next?!

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