From brutal public pranks on unsuspecting people (like making them think they are part of a shootout) to over-the-top stunts (like locking a man naked in an apartment until he can win his way out), clearly Japanese television is allowed to push the boundaries of common sense and good taste more than its American counterpart. The two styles of TV programming may be getting more alike in the future, as Japanese shows such as "Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Camp" continue to inspire similar shows for America, like the MTV series "Silent Library."
Troop of 100
In the United States, we have flashmobs, spontaneous gatherings of people organized on social media, meant to impress, irritate, or astound unknowing witnesses and passers-by. In Japan, occasionally these flashmobs are organized to target one specific individual, just to mess with them. Just like the title states, "Troop of 100" features 100 people who appear out of nowhere to chase an unsuspecting stranger on the street. (See, it's funny, because they think they are about to be assaulted!)
In cases where the troop actually catches the target, they celebrate by tossing the person up and down in the air, ritualistically, which may not necessarily make the victim feel all that much better, unless he has recently had a Bar Mitzvah and it brings back happy memories. Then, just as quickly as they arrived, the mob departs, leaving the target dazed and confused, but no worse for wear. Except for the lingering feelings of paranoia and mistrust that may take a lifetime to conquer. But hey, it was funny for 30 seconds, right?
Slapped in the Balls
Clearly thought up by a woman scorned, "Slapped in the Balls" is a wacky Japanese game show in which men attempt to recite tongue twisters in a limited amount of time. As you may have gathered by now, should they fail by messing up the tongue twister or failing to get the words out in the allotted time, is a painful crack to the testicles. (Hey, it's a small price to pay for a new washer/dryer or a jetski when you think about it.)This is definitely a concept they should start incorporating into US game shows. How much more fun would "Price is Right" be if, after spinning "The Big Wheel," contestants' nether regions were randomly set upon by a maniacal, screeching Drew Carey. I'd even set up my DVR to record that.
Crazy Screaming Guy
It's hard to imagine the pitch meeting for Japan's Crazy Screaming Guy show.
"OK, so we take a man, dress him up in a ridiculous striped ensemble, and then have him yell at unsuspecting people on the street... No, there's no story. No, why would he say anything to the people? He's yelling."
It's like the Seinfeld "show about nothing" concept taken to extreme new heights.
Panic Face King
With a series name like "Panic Face King," it's easy to imagine that this hidden-camera show makes people flip out, but the lengths to which the series goes to achieve the titular shocked expressions are intense. One unsuspecting contestant learn this the hard way when he found himself in the crosshairs of a sniper. Thinking he's being filmed for a documentary about telephone fraud, this gentleman loses his mind when he sees the people he's been speaking with apparently taken out by a remote gunman.When he's finally told that it's all part of the show, the man does not appear amused whatsoever. (Maybe the explanation is just part of the sniper's fiendish plot!) Let's hope he was paid enough to hire a good therapist after this traumatic incident.