Thursday (Mar. 9) marks the debut of Fox’s latest reality competition, “Kicking & Screaming” — which pairs up 10 hardcore survivalists with 10 novices who’ve never really experienced the great outdoors. The last team standing after 28 days wins $500,000 to split.
For viewers who enjoy competition reality shows like “Survivor” or MTV’s latest little gem “Stranded With a Million Dollars,” it’s a fun, it not overly original premise. There are two challenges each week — one that lets the winner choose a prize or a power in the game, and one that pits two teams against each other for elimination.
We may be starting slow, but based on the first hour the stakes are so low the show might as well be called “Mildly Inconvenienced & Annoyed.” The Fiji setting definitely provides the perfunctory “Survivor” challenges, like building shelter, starting fire and getting eaten alive by bugs. But it really feels like the “pampered” contestants are having to try pretty hard to act put out. No, it’s not a four-star hotel — they are roughing it. But it’s just not that rough!
First off, each team of two should have had to build their own shelter. That would have made things harder. Secondly, the group was given flint to start their fires: What? No — that should have been a prize, putting the winning team in the interesting position of deciding whether to share it.
The first challenge was not so challenging, either: It involved swimming and then grabbing a fish out of a netted tank. Then after contestants Ben and Juliana won, the ex-Air Force survival specialist Ben called model Juliana’s performance “amazing.” Let’s… Not get carried away. Who is this for?
It feels like the “Kicking & Screaming” producers vastly underestimated how the pampered contestants would fare, making for a rather boring premiere. Our hope is that this is a fake-out, and the show will get a lot tougher on the contestants as soon as possible.
The one bright spot, however, was host Hannah Simone. This “New Girl” star is a natural for this type of gig, especially if she gets to mix things up a bit as the season goes on. One reason Jeff Probst is such a great “Survivor” host is because he really stirs the pot when need be.
The delightful Simone could do that, if the show will let her — but it may be a moot point if the conditions and challenges don’t get any harder for the contestants.
“Kicking & Screaming” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.