Review: Oh Sit! takes Musical Chairs to the next logically absurd level
Musical Chairs has been in dire need of a makeover for several years. The CW has added a little Wipeout and a little Canada to the mix to create the zany Oh Sit!, which debuts Wednesday night.
The Obstacle Course television genre is a tricky one to navigate. It's not enough to just have a high degree of difficulty, such as American Ninja Warrior or Wipeout: there needs to be some additional hook to distract the viewer from the tedious repetition. The CW's new offering Oh Sit! makes a good attempt at keeping things interesting, though borrows a little too heavily from its contemporaries to be an Oh Hit!
The hook for Oh Sit! is its self-description as Ultimate Musical Chairs. The game begins with 11 contestants running around an outer ring completing various obstacles as the F.O.S. (Full of Sit?) house band plays a cover of a current pop hit. Completing an obstacle rewards contestants with cash of an escalating amount each round. When the music stops, the players need to cross unstable bridges to reach Chair Island and grab a seat. As in musical chairs, the player who can't find a seat is out. However, each chair has a random money amount attached to its seat. The player who earns the least amount of money (obstacles completed + chair value) is also eliminated. All eliminated players leave with nothing. Only the player who summits Chair Mountain in the fifth and final round takes home their earnings, which ranges from $20,000 to $50,000.
Oh Sit! draws several elements from ABC's Wipeout, including water obstacles and snarky commentary, provided mostly by Jessi Cruichshank (a Canadian MTV VJ) and Jamie Kennedy (annual recipient of checks from the CW for some reason). Kennedy registers no interest in participating while Cruickshank talks for the sake of talking. If the commentary was more in the style of play-by-play found on the 1980's version of American Gladiators, it would be more engaging than the failed attempts at double entendres. The show also hired a ringside reporter (Tanika Ray) to chat with contestants as they are eliminated. She's more of an audience surrogate and is surprisingly refreshing when dealing with the one-dimensional contestants.
Full disclosure: I'm totally in the bag for shows in the Obstacle Course genre. The game looks like a fun, if physically exhausting, way to spend an afternoon. Also, I know I would be terrible if I ever tried to compete on these programs, so going "oof" and "ohhhhh!" from the comfort of my couch is satisfaction enough. Oh Sit! is a fun way to spend an hour, but I doubt it will have a long life. I have a difficult time seeing this show matching up with the network's demographic (females 12-34) and the Wednesday 8pm timeslot has been particularly unkind to the netlet. Enjoy the show while you can.