Senior Fear Factor debuted to a captive aging audience last evening where six spunky seniors vied for the coveted grand prize: free Medicare benefits and lifetime accommodations at La Fonda del Muerta, the premiere senior care resort of the Carribean.
The contestants --all between the ages of 65 and 80-- seemed confident in their quest for the brass ring until the first challenge was announced: The Falling.
"Try not to be nervous," said Dick Clark, host of Senior Fear Factor, to the six. "If you become frightened, transfer your fear to your opponents. Give yourself the edge in this challenging competition."
Clark then led contestants to The Falling's arena and explained the nature of the challenge. Each contestant was required to fall down and get up, completing the process within the landing zone.
"If you break a hip, you're out:" said Clark, "if you chicken out, you're out: but you can break anything else and you are still in. Good luck!"
The surface of The Falling arena bore a striking resemblance to the popular backyard summer product, Slip 'N Slide, but Clark explained the secret means by which the surface was concocted. A special mixture of oil and wax was created, rendering the arena far more threatening than previously believed.
Meemaw Mason drew the least favored position, that of first to fall, and she warily approached the slippery surface. The clock was started, but Williams broke down before she could complete her task, crying she had lied to show officials. She confessed before international cameras she had once undergone double hip replacement surgery, and the fear of being further immobilized was too horrific for her to endure. Mason then collapsed, and the remaining five contestants stepped over their fallen comrade to test their own resolves as Nathaniel Knox, who drew second, began his attempt at the prize.
Sadly, the show did not live up to critics' expectations as only two contestants made it through the first challenge. Through a clever bit of television marketing, NBC initially drew a large viewing audience, but the show failed to complete its half hour schedule, with both Hermione Pepperstein and Albert Covington-Trask failing to complete the second competition: Driving Without Excessive Left Turn Signaling.
"I was so scared I wouldn't remember to click off the blinker when I turned," said Pepperstein this morning on Fox and Friends. "I did my best, but I lost my mettle. My fear was too great."
What might have been gold for NBC has seemingly turned to dust for studio planners. Viewer comments have poured in all day, with NBC officials stating the majority of callers felt there were simply not enough contestants. NBC began immediate reformatting of the show, tentatively titled Senior Intimidation Island, in hopes a tropical setting will appeal to a wider audience. Challenges already planned for the program include The Terror of Cutting One's Thick Toenails.
Certainly, hopes remain high at NBC to cash in on the current popularity of their first fear brainchild, but only time will tell if they will once again reap high advertising revenues by manipulating gross panic and dread.
Copyright 2002, emily moorehead. For more parody, stop by www.eclecticem.com.