June 28th, 2011
05:34 PM ET
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Watching “Wipeout” is not an intellectual pursuit in which one strives to find deeper symbolism about the meaning of life and the evolution of society vis a vis the physical hardships perpetrated upon a group of well-meaning volunteers seeking fame and fortune.
“Wipeout” is basically an hour of fall-down-go-boom. And that hour is funnier than it has any right to be.
Yes, it is in many ways a rip-off of “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.” But it’s entertaining, often because of the visceral reaction that we have to seeing people innocuously get hurt. Why do you think “American’s Funniest Home Videos” lasted so long?
I was on board with “Wipeout” from its premiere in the summer of 2008, and spent the first three seasons of the show watching religiously and trying to recruit others to watch, too.
And now that the fourth season has started? I couldn’t care less.
The problem is that when “Wipeout” started its new summer season last week, it came on the heels of a spring season… which came on the heels of a winter season. And quite frankly, I’m wiped out.
When you over-saturate the market with your product, you’re undercutting the demand for it. Which is why, with each additional “season” of the show these past six months, my interest waned more and more.
This has happened before, and on the same network, in fact. Remember what a ratings juggernaut “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” was in the early 2000s? ABC rode that show into the ground, airing it multiple times a week, burning out the audience and eventually leading to the cancellation of the primetime version.
Now go check your TV listings for “Wipeout” this week. It’s on Tuesday AND Thursday, just like last week. So not only were we overwhelmed with winter, spring and summer seasons, now we’re inundated with multiple episodes per week.
It’s a terrible cliché, but there really can be too much of a good thing, and finding that balance between maximum value and total overload can be tricky.
Whoever decided once upon a time to air “American Idol” only once a year was a genius. But what happens when “Idol” comes back in the spring after a fall of “X Factor” (and a longer run of “The Sing-Off”) and a summer of “The Voice”? Will viewers be maxed out on singing competitions?
Sadly, “Wipeout” crossed that line into overload for me earlier this year. And a show that was enjoyable when it aired exclusively during one season, is about to have its “season pass” deleted.
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