The Japanese version of the British entertainment show The Generation Game
has spectacularly flopped, with only three viewers on it's debut screening and costing TV station WTF a reported 20 billion yen in advertising and promotions, creating serious fears that the station could very well go under.
It seemed so promising for the station as they successfully fought off competition from 3 rival comapanies to acquire the rights to the British show, which during it's heighday in the 1970s used to draw primetime Saturday audiences approaching 25 million.
As if things weren't bad enough for the company executives, the three people that did watch the show are roommates, and were only watching the TV whilst they were waiting for a pizza to be delivered. This reporter spoke to 32 year old Bhand Chakshi, 26 year old Sonny J'Piker and 35 year old Michel E Vicar this morning."It started off pretty well,"
Chakshi offered, "and the host looked like he knew what he was doing, despite the fact that, disappointingly, he didn't do the Brucie pose."
According to J'Piker, things began to go wrong when the contestants were introduced. "Although I've never seen the original, Bhand always bangs on about it, so I kinda knew what to expect. But when the contestants came on, they were all - without exception - prickly old harridans with plump, ineffective sons. Coupled with the fact that they all were wearing identical hats, coats and gloves, and carrying black parasols - presumably in some daft attempt to combat the sunlike glare from the studio lights - it laid the shaky groundwork for what was to come."
And what came next was neatly summed up by Vicar, who like J'Piker was a first time viewer but has strong opinions nonetheless. "The first game started, and this being Japan it was inevitably some form of cooking. To put not too fine a point on it, half an hour went by and all that had happened was a lot of declarations that things were oishii and most of their aprons were on. Clearly receiving instructions from upstairs, the host wrapped up the game, and incredibly moved on to the finale - the conveyor belt challenge."
Chakshi picks up the story. "With no one victorious from the one and only game, all 8 teams sat down before the conveyor belt, and there was tangible relief in this very room. Then again, we'd just spent half an hour watching old women and their sons failing to put on aprons, so anything would have seemed good. Imagine the disappointment we faced when the belt started, and it was clear that every single item was wrapped in identical paper boxes, thus negating the point of the game and leaving the old women to mutter amongst themselves."
According to the three, it was at this time that their pizza arrived, so there was a mass rush to the door. When they came back, the show had ended.
In a night of embarrassing slaps in the face for WTF, perhaps the biggest was that even though there were officially no audience members (due to a reliance on canned laughter and heavy use of computer editing), five soundmen from the adjacent studio decided to stay on after their shift, which meant that more people were in the non-existent audience than those watching at home.
Having asked the three men for their thoughts on WTF and the possibility of them imploding, J'Piker summed it up rather well: "If this was a sample of things to come, it'll probably be a mercy killing."