Idiot Box: Extreme musical chairs on The CW? “Oh Sit!”
 Alibi V.21 No.34 • Aug 23-29, 2012 

Idiot Box

Sit List

“Oh Sit!” on The CW

Kudos to the evil entertainment industry genius who successfully pitched the “extreme musical chairs” show “Oh Sit!” to The CW. Clearly, the man could sell ice to the Inupiaq. “Oh Sit!” may be the dumbest idea the idiot box has ever embraced—and this is a medium that aired “My Mother the Car” and “Homeboys in Outer Space.” Why, just last week, it seemed like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” would be the pop cultural nadir of the decade. “Oh Sit!” easily limbos under that low-water mark.

In theory, “Oh Sit!” is “high-stakes, high-octane” musical chairs. Helmet-and-elbow-pad-clad winners could take home $10,000 or more. In practice, however, the show is just a lightweight rip-off of ABC’s “Wipeout” (itself a lightweight rip-off of countless Japanese game shows). The premise is simple: Contestants race around a circular obstacle course covered in assorted gym pad-bedecked barricades. Each obstacle conquered earns players dollars in the bank. While this is going on, a house band and assorted musical guests culled from the lowest possible ranks of music company catalogues noodle away on terrible pop music tracks. When the music stops—you guessed it—contestants scramble to park their butts on chairs. The chairs are located in the center of the arena, surrounded by a moat of water and a trio of tricky, unstable bridges. You know the basic rules, though: There’s one less chair than there are contestants. One person is gonna be out of luck each round.

Despite exuding the faint odor of other great, chair-based TV shows—NBC’s “The Voice,” ABC’s “The Chair”—the musical chairs aspect of “Oh Sit!” is relatively minor. It’s an obstacle course competition, pure and simple. The weird part is there don’t seem to be any rules. Competitors are encouraged to bump, jostle, push, hit, trip or even kick one another out of the way. As a result, female contestants get rather manhandled on the course. Get a few roller derby chicks on the show, and it will balance out right quick—but for now, the show’s faintly abusive nature makes it uncomfortable to watch sometimes.

Mitigating the fact that burly marines have a major advantage over reedy computer programmers is the fact that each of the chairs is assigned a random monetary value—from $0 to $10,000. You could do terrible on the obstacle course and sit in a chair worth five digits or you could do excellent on the obstacle course and sit in a chair worth nothing. So ... basically it doesn’t matter how well you perform on the show. It’s mostly dumb luck.

“Oh Sit!” seems tailor made for tired, brain-dead-from-work Americans who shun clever game shows like “Jeopardy” in favor of “I could do that!” fare like “Deal or No Deal.” (“Pick a number between 1 and 26. ... You lose!”) At the end of the day, though, “Oh Sit!” doesn’t try very hard. The obstacles are generic, the music sucks, the contestants are boring, and the hosts (some MTV Canada gal named Jessi Cruickshank and Jamie Kennedy, reminding us why he’s no longer on anybody’s comedy radar) are as colorless as possible. Go ahead and sit this one out.

“Oh Sit!” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. on KWBQ-19.