The concept behind the YouTube series “Hot Ones” is simple: Take the typical celebrity interview and spice it up with some hot wings. The show is extremely well researched, insightful and genuine. TruTV has decided to adapt “Hot Ones” into a game show on its channel: “Hot Ones: The Game Show.” The game show centers around two teams of “bros” as they devour some hot wings and answer some trivia for a cash prize.
Despite all the game show’s theatricality and flair, where the YouTube series is wholesome, fun and entertaining, the game show is just plain bland. “Hot Ones: The Game Show” doesn’t add anything new or interesting to the game show formula and lacks the heart that made the YouTube series so successful.
So what’s so bad about the game show adaptation?
Let’s start with the host. Part of what makes the Hot Ones series on YouTube so engaging is the interviewer himself. Sean Evans is an absolutely fantastic interviewer: He is thoughtful and funny, bringing the right amount of energy to his interviews. Unfortunately for Sean, interviewing celebrities across a table and hosting a game show aren’t the same thing. His voice hardly carries across the stage, and his interactions with contestants are dry and lifeless. In the new fantastic world of lights and spectacle of the game show set, he looks meek and out of his element.
The game is divided into three rounds: In the first two rounds, the teams “clean the wing,” answering a series of trivia from Sean for increasingly large cash prizes. If a team answers a question incorrectly, the other team automatically wins that money. The categories of questions revolve around pop culture. In the final round, the team with the most money has the chance to win $25,000 by playing a condensed version of charades.
The game’s structure doesn’t provide that much entertainment, either. Since a team that answers incorrectly has more to lose, it is a riskier move to answer a trivia question than to stay silent. During the premiere, one team walked away almost uncontested despite not attempting to answer the majority of the trivia. Besides these strange rules, the show doesn’t present its audience with anything else that any other game show hasn’t done a thousand times before, and better. If not for the hot wings, the show would look like “Jeopardy!” for dude-bros.
Despite all of this, there are some aspects of the show that aren’t all that bad: The set itself is incredible. It maintains the dark, ambient design of the original YouTube series with an updated version of the iconic logo. The show also has “behind the scenes” footage of contestants struggling to finish their intensely spicy wings (the puke bucket is also a nice touch).
They say all good things must come to an end. In that case, all good YouTube channels must become game shows. Television has a way of eating up the authenticity of YouTube and spitting out the shell. Lucky for those of us with a sense of taste, Hot Ones has returned to YouTube for season 11.