ABC's 'Wipeout' and Spike's 'Jesse James Is a Dead Man' test the limits of human -- and viewer -- endurance.
By ROBERT LLOYD, Television Critic
May 27, 2009
Summer is a time for the Things You Should Not Try at Home and most of us would not try anywhere else. That is what we have television for.
In “Wipeout,” which bowed last summer on ABC and returns there tonight, ordinary -- though extraordinarily enthusiastic -- citizens tackle a giant mechanical obstacle course in pursuit of $50,000. It is in its very essence a summer show, full of running around all day and into the night, of getting wet, muddy and foamy. (The final challenge takes place by flaming torchlight.) Contestants are also punched, flipped, spilled, thrown and catapulted -- in such challenges as A Bridge Too Far, the Sucker Punch, the Big Balls, the Gears of Doom, the Hurtles and the Scary-Go-Round -- which is somewhat less evocative of the summertime.