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January 31 - February 6, 2005

 
Driven To
Distraction...

 
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Five Legacies
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Gwen Stefani's
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 Driven To Distraction
We seriously thought this wasn't going to happen. When we first saw the clothes-pinned faces advertising Comedy Centrals new game show Distraction, we were none too impressed. Fear Factor meets one of those Japanese shame-the-contestant style game shows? Dishonor? Shame? Humiliation? Big deal. We eat crap like that for breakfast. It's as American as apple pie, NASCAR and the so almost not even endangered anymore bald eagle. Damn proud of it too. So this show, we were convinced, just wouldn't work here; it just wouldn't have teeth. After all, how can you out-shame Who's Your Daddy?

Oooooh child, we think we were wrong, and it's the kind of being wrong we really like. Idly watching the tail-end of one episode of Distraction where some innocent twentysomething kid tries to save the car he's just won from being demolished by answering inane trivia questions, we were bemused. Each question he got wrong, they messed up his mother-lovin' car, with say a sledgehammer, or by pouring paint all over it, effectively rendering the vehicle unusable until the poor sap shells out cash to fix it. Wicked. Then British host Jimmy Carr, looking like a dapper, doughy-faced, cricket-playing cousin to Jimmy Kimmel, wrapped the show by saying: "And that's Distraction. Please join us next time. You know, all these years, I was always worried that it would be my mother who found me masturbating."

We were scandalized! And we were hooked. Turns out this cheeky urbane Cambridge-educated Carr has hosted the UK version of this show and worked with the hilariously obsequious Ricky Gervais of The Office fame. Ahh, this is familiar; here we sit again, bested by the British funny makers. We get the good dental plans, they get the dry, smashingly hilarious wits. Distraction wouldn't be nearly as tasty without Jimmy Carr's frighteningly cool delivery. Clearly in charge and awfully well-dressed, his Smooth Brit Reservedness makes directives such as "I'm afraid you didn't get that right and that means we have to shoot you" work. Without dropping a beat, he says in a very calculated manner to the man with the paint gun: "I would shoot her in the boob." Which is, of course, exactly what happens. Upon impact, the hazmat-suited contestant seems as though she will keep a stiff upper lip and not respond. Pause. Pause. And she very succinctly states, "Ow." Delicious.

We could watch that again and again. Oh wait, we just did, because that particular little morsel is featured at the end of Comedy Central's online game "Appetite for Distraction," which quite ironically is Not about Guns 'N Roses, but is instead about their game show, Distraction. The online game, like its namesake, has us giggling and squealing with embarrassment at the same time. And yes, the British online game also kicks arse, and it was created by one of those ingenious boys from B3TA, Rob Manuel.

We look forward to our next encounter with this show on Tuesday evening. Until then we will occupy our time trying to help Jimmy Carr dodge the nudists.

The Reidster


 


Would a British accent also make Fear Factor less unbelievably revolting?


Yes. A continental brogue simply makes people smarter. It worked for Madonna.

No. Sorry, but there's no accent in the world that can make "Next you have to eat those centipedes out of Drew Barrymore's vagina" sound cool.


Last Week's Poll:
Which midseason replacement looks better?

Point Pleasant. (34%) I heard The O.C. And there are not enough bared midriffs on telly!

Committed. (65%) Funny trumps earnest, and if I need hot women I'll turn on ESPN's lady bowling.