The Fear Factor

Reality TV recently gained a new network entry. On a weekly basis, Fear Factor takes us along as six possibly insane contestants attempt to complete three stunts in the hopes of walking away with fifty thousand dollars and clean underwear. Can Fear Factor outlive its initial run of eight episodes? We'll watch the ratings and the show to find out. No, no, don't thank us. It's all just a part of the job.

Fear Factor has only one character: our beloved host Joe Rogan. Joe is and has been funny but he has managed to avoid all funny business as concerns this show. We are left then with the stunts as our main characters and the contestants as supporting actors to our own discomfort. Let's rate the discomfort using this formula: Difficulty plus Danger times Fear Factor equals the overall score for the stunt.

This Weeks Nielsen rating is Fear Factor's best so far at 8.2 with a 14 share. Here are the stunts that got Episode #3 to such lofty heights:

#1. Lunch at the lake.
The challenge: Ride bitch on a Jet Ski and attempt to climb into a low flying helicopter. Cargo netting and life jackets have been provided for your convenience.

If either standing or doing a pull up is a problem, please don't apply.
Difficulty: 1

Should you fall you can look forward to your wind being knocked out and a fresh water enema.
Danger: 1

Unless you're afraid of loud noises, this stunt shouldn't be a problem.
Fear Factor: 2.5

Overall Score: 5 James Bond would be proud of this stunt but upset about the attire.

One female contestant failed this stunt so here are some lessons we've learned:
Take the time to workout your upper and lower body at least a couple of times a week. You'll feel sexier, more energetic and should you need to complete a physical challenge for fifty thousand dollars, it could come in handy.
Helicopters are capable of amazing flying feats. One of them is being able to fly well within your reach. Wait for the helicopter to come to you.

#2 Bowling for Beetles.
The Challenge: Bowl for a frame. The number of pins you leave equals the number of live beetles you eat.

Anything a three hundred pound man can do while drunk, I can do better.
Difficulty: .5

Oww! I just bit my tongue. NO, no that was the beetle that just bit my tongue.
Danger: 1.5

If I'm not mistaken, Beatle phobia swept the United States in the 60's. George, Ringo and Paul still make me feel queasy on a semi-regular basis.
Fear Factor: 3.5

Overall Score: 7 I would have made the score higher but after traveling extensively I had to make this policy about eating strange foods at least twice. See, travel does broaden your palette.

No one failed this challenge but we did see some interesting methods for dealing with nasty foods. If you're at your in-laws for dinner, try these amusing tricks to chase away the bad taste.

Stare at the person sitting across from you while chewing quickly. Do not blink, Do not show any sign of humanity.
Put your hands over your mouth, look to the sky and pray to whatever god you believe in that the meal that you have just eaten doesn't make it's way back to the dinner table.
Do a little dance that resembles Sammy Davis Jr. doing the Curly shuffle.
Take the time to comment on every bite. Possible topics include be how bad the fifth bite was, how good the eighth bite was, the possible relationship of the animals you are eating.

#3 A quick trip next door.
The Challenge: A rope is suspended between two five-story buildings, the contestants are to pull themselves across while maintaining their position on top of the rope. Fastest time wins, two-minute penalty for hanging under the rope, fashionable harnesses provided at no extra charge.

Have you pulled yourself along the top of a rope? I haven't.
Difficulty: 2

Harnessed and helmeted, your only danger is a stunt coordinator on crack.
Danger: 0

One hundred feet up. Hmmm. I've got a harness and a helmet. Was that a crack pipe the stunt coordinator just put in his pocket?
Fear Factor: 4

Overall Score: 8 Looks silly, feels silly, but that's a sidewalk I'm dangling over.

No one failed in the traditional sense but people found new ways to lose.

First girl versus fear. Fear wins. Two-minute penalty for flipping over, plus a little over two minutes pulling herself across equals four minutes and some change. Nice try. Your fifteen minutes are up; please leave any unused minutes at the counter on your way out.

Second guy versus stupidity. Stupidity laps him. 19 seconds to get across plus two minutes for intentionally flipping under the rope. He does this after watching the first girl take two minutes to do it after her penalty. If anyone stays on the rope he's dust.

Third Guy versus balance. Third guy wins by staying on the rope. Total time 1:49, second guy goes home stunned.

Fourth Girl versus her own mouth. I didn't like her. She was always talking smack to cover her own fear. Whatever happened to honorable competition and beating the heck out of blowhards? Total Time 1:19, sorry third guy.

Fifth guy versus the navy. Yeah, he served in the navy. No, he never pulled himself along the top of a rope either. Go figure. I swear I've seen the navy do the rope thing to transfer large numbers of men between ships. Maybe that was WWII technology. I'm pretty sure I saw Goldie Hawn do it in "Private Benjamin". Damn, that could have been Bill Murray in "Stripes". Regardless, the fifth guy is too slow.

Our lucky winner of 50,000 dollars is the vivacious smack talkin' Jeannette Jenkins from Ottawa, Canada. That'll buy a whole lot of bacon.

Best Name: Shannon Swallow, I'm sure she never heard that one before.

Cutest Contestant: Lisa Hammond, that squeaky little voice drives me nuts.

Best Alternate Reality: What if Larry, Curly and Moe of the Three Stooges were played by Dino , Sammy and Frankie of the Rat Pack?

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