Before we get to the #1 spot, there’s one more show that deserves mention.
Dishonorable Mention: Waratte Ii Tomo!
The title of the show translates to “Its Okay To Laugh!”. Which is a pretty bold statement, considering they don’t give you much to laugh at. Its almost like a dentist who specializes in root canals hanging a sign up over the dentists chair that reads “It’s Okay to Orgasm!”
This show doesn’t make the main list primarily because its daytime TV…and I think it’s a rule of the cosmos that daytime TV must suck. Like, if Moses had stayed up on the mountain just wee bit longer, God would have carved “Thou Shalt Not Enjoy Daytime TV” as the 11th Commandment into the stone tablet. So I can’t hate on it for sucking, because sucking is a part of its destiny. This show did teach me something rather eye-opening about Japanese TV in general though, which is why it gets the mention at least.
The show features Tamori as a host (he joins Sanma as one of the “Big 3”). Tamori conducts a dull interview with some random celebrity, and the rest of the show is devoted to celebrities playing games, often with food involved. …But wait, this sounds almost exactly like every other show you’ve described so far, you may say. And you would be absolutely right. So, think about that for a moment – Japanese daytime and primetime TV are virtually identical.
The other thing I noticed while being subjected to this show is that the studio audience is 100% female. That got me thinking, and I realized that most shows had a predominately female audience. It makes sense, because Japanese guys are rarely ever home in the evenings. They work late hours, and even if/when they don’t, there are drinking parties, trips to the local whorehouse, or hours to waste away at the pachinko parlor. And that’s when everything clicked – Japanese TV is primarily meant for Japanese women. So its like a combination of daytime TV and the Lifetime Channel, on every channel, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
So, for us guys, this is more or less the first step into Hell itself.
The worst hits parade continues!
#3 – Sanma’s Dancing Palace
This is one of those “round up a group of talent and just have them talk” shows. They tell “you had to be there” stories, which is boring because…well…we weren’t there, these jackoffs aren’t interesting, and I just don’t care.
As this type of show dominates Japanese TV, I’m singling this one out because of the host, Sanma Akashiya. He’s considered to be one of the “Big 3” entertainers in Japan, but watching this show “entertainment” is a terrible misuse of the word. As his guests say something supposedly funny, or stupid, he makes a horrible overreaction, braying like a donkey, falling to his knees, and often hitting a podium with a scepter that features a buck-toothed, dragon-head* likeness of himself. The podium seems to serve no other purpose than to give him something to hit with his Dragon Zord Scepter.
What, me make things up? Never!
And now, my Top 5 most hated Japanese TV shows.
I would like to stress again that this list is based purely on personal preference and experience. So if I’ve never seen a show and don’t know of its existence, I can’t really rank it. And while there may be more horrible shows out there, these are the ones that irk me on a personal level. Again, while the shows themselves might not be that terrible, you have to factor in that Japan offers nothing better – this is what passes for entertainment, and almost everything else is an uninspired re-hash of the same concepts over and over again.
While I gave a general explanation of it in the last post, I found that Wikipedia actually has an article about the geinojin/talent, here. So for those who are interested/curious to the point of dangerous obsession, someone has already written more about it than I would care to. So, enjoy.
But anyway, here we go.
#5 – Hey Hey Hey Music Champ
This show tries to pass itself off as a music show, but that’s just a facade for the same ‘ol crap of rounding up a bunch of talent, and having them talk/eat/play games. Except now its music talent, and they justify the “music” portion of the show by having the artist(s) play a 90 second version of whatever new single they’ve recently released.
Hey Hey Hey makes the list because it is exceptionally boring. I cannot overstate how mind-numbingly dull this show is. I can’t even say bored to tears – tears would imply some sort of emotional response, something Hey Hey Hey couldn’t do even if the guests and hosts all spontaneously exploded. You know the phrase “bored to death?” Sometimes I feel like watching Hey Hey Hey actually shortens my lifespan. Like a giant soul-sucking vacuum is placed on my chest for 30 minutes and my lifespan is tragically shortened.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s an example.
Host: (to a famous female artist) So, tell us about your “secret” personal life.
Singer: Well, many people may not know this, but I’m actually really good friends with [some other famous female singer].
(Mostly Female) Audience: …..EEEEEEHHHHHHH?!?!
Singer: Its true! When we aren’t busy with recordings or tours we often go eat cake together.
My Wife: …..EEEEEEHHHHHHH?!?!
Me: …..No. You stop that immediately.
Wife: But, its interesting!
Me: Wow! Normal people do normal things! Yes, that certainly is fascinating.
That isn’t something I just dreamed up, that actually happened.
I have spoken out on the evil that is Japanese TV quite often, but I realize I’ve never really gone in depth about it. Please allow me to do so now.
If I had my way, I would never watch it. My TV would only be used for video games, movies, and…um…entertainment of the adult persuasion. Unfortunately, my wife loves Japanese TV, a habit I have yet to break her of. Since she gets home before I do, the TV is already on and spewing its crap before I can even object. I have a subscription to cable TV which includes international versions of American channels, and I’ve even tried to steer her in the direction of music, but she always comes back to the boob tube. Sigh.
I feel that I should clarify exactly why Japanese TV sucks. I’m sure many of you are thinking “but, American TV sucks too!” And yes, there are a lot of horrible American TV shows that make you question your faith in justice in the universe. But I feel that for all the crap, there are gems that shine brightly enough to more than make up for it.
In Japan, its all crap.