Last night NBC kicked off their fall lineup with the premiere of the reality series America's Toughest Jobs. I'm a huge fan of the shows The Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers but was honestly skeptical if show that puts untrained contestants into these impossible situations would really entertain me. Surprisingly, it did. I thought it would pale in comparison to the actual shows about professionals, but I was hooked from the moment these newbies or "greenhorns" stepped on to a crab fishing boat and were initiated by biting the head off of a bait fish.
The minute that Amy started griping about how she was deathly allergic to fish and wouldn't do it because she'd go into anaphylactic shock, I knew I'd be glued to my TV for the rest of the hour. Not that I don't believe her or whatnot, but maybe she should have thought of that before signing up for a reality show that would likely involve fish and/or fishing. Watching these contestants in freezing temperatures trying to heave hefty cables without tossing themselves overboard makes for good entertainment in my book.
I've got early favorites (Sandy and the manic Eric), early not-so-favorites (Amy and well... so far just Amy). And I'm loving the show's big twist, where they take the worst performers and force them to do the task again to see who really sucks, or who was just slow on the uptake. Gives deserving people a second chance and gives the sick and twisted viewers (like myself) a chance to watch the unskilled people suffer more. Plus, this tactic is so much better than leaving the eliminations in the hands of the other contestants, who would likely oust the strongest first... if they've watched as many years of Survivor as I have. This way the powerful contenders will, in theory, make it to the end. But if they've started out with crab fishing in Alaska and next week head on to diving trucks up near the north pole on the ice roads, I can't imagine what else is in store for them. Will the final challenge be a cake walk compared to some of this stuff?
Now I still think that this would be a better fit on Discovery Channel or TLC or a cable net of that ilk, as I think it may get lost in the waters of primetime network TV, but only time and ratings will tell if this competition series will muscle through the competition, or if it will be out for the count. I'm hoping for the prior, because this is the first new reality show in a long time that I've been so excited to watch.
Watch the full episode below, and see if you agree.
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