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August 4, 2009 - Kim Collette
Human cannonballs!  Human pinballs!  Crashes, smashes and mud splashes!  That is how ABC describes it's summer reality show Wipeout. know what....they are absolutely right!

Twenty-four thrill seekers (or crazy people) compete in the "world's largest obstacle course."  And this is not your ordinary obstacle course.  This course is designed to cause the most falls, face plants and of course the ever-so-funny wipeouts.  The 24 contestants of all ages, shapes and backgrounds go head to head through 4 different rounds.  Each round is physically grueling but.....hilarious to watch!  The prize you ask?  The title of  "Wipeout Champion" and a $50,000 grand prize (which if you ask, me is not nearly enough for the pain and embarassment the contestants go through.)

Round 1 is "The Qualifier."  Here the hopefuls try to make it "qualify" for  the next round by making through the 4-part course in the fastest time.  Sounds easy right?   Not as easy as one would think.  The folks at Wipeout make sure of that with obstacles like "Sucker Punch," a wall covered with mechanical boxing gloves above a mud pit.  The gloves are place just right, so when one connects, the contestants take mud baths. OUCH!  But the trademark obstacle has to be the "Big Balls".  The big balls are 4 red balls that the contestants attempt to bounce across.  As if that wasn't hard enough.  They have now added the "motivator."  The motivator is a padded pendulum that swings into action  and forces the players onto the big balls.  The 12 contestants who have the fastest time move on to round 2.  To me....the qualifier is by far the best part of the show!

Round 2 is generally the "Sweeper" or "Gyro Sweeper."  The 12 contestants are on elevated platforms above a pool of water.  They have to duck, dodge and jumper the horizontal bar known as the sweeper arm.   Usually the players who are the most confident and most talkative are the ones who wipeout.  The 6 contestants still atop their Wipeout pedastal continue on to round 3.  The spills are still funny but, I'll take the big balls any day over the sweeper!

Round 3 is a toss-up.  Some are time challenges.  For example, players ride a moving spacecraft on a spinning platform (think mechanical bull) while dodging whatever else Wipeout can think to throw at them. Round 3 is at it's best when the contestants have to do the "Dizzy Dummy."  They strap the players to a spinning wheel.  After spinning in circles (for what must seem like an hour) the contestants race across 2 more obstacles.  The winner in each dizzy dummy round advances to the Wipeout Zone.

The final round is the Wipeout Zone.  The four remaining contestants have one more obstacle course to complete.  Of course there are still spills and falls, but it comes down to which of the players can "pick themselves up" from the wipeouts and finish the course in the fastest time. 

Yes....the wipeouts are funny.  But what makes this show truly hilarious are the hosts; John Anderson, John Henson and Jill Wagner.  Wagner is like a sideline reporter.  She gets to interview the contestants before their day starts.  And...her reactions to the wipeouts are classic.  But, the reason this show is as hilarious as it is because of the "Johns".  Anderson and Henson have hilarious, running, play-by-play commentary.  Most of the time it consists of them mocking and "gently" insulting the contestants.  Without the 3 "J's", Wipeout itself would crash and smash....They make the show what it is....HILARIOUS!

Check out an all new episode this Wednesday at 8 p.m.  It is sure to be the funniest of the summer.  The most memorable contestants are returning for a second chance at Wipeout fame and fortune.  After watching, ask yourself.....could I make it through the physically challenging obstacles that would make myself look funny?

Until next time friends!


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