Jordan Peele's 'Us' is a Creepy Tale That Sadly Mirrors Our Reality

On May 25, 1986, approximately 6.5 million Americans stood hand in hand forming a human chain that stretched from New York to California for an event called Hands Across America. It was a fundraiser project from USA for Africa (the same people who produced the “We Are the World” single the year before) in hopes of raising $100 million to fight hunger and homelessness. The hope was that everyone who participated would donate $10 for the cause. Families stood and sang together for 15 minutes. And then it was over.

I had trouble remembering if Hands Across America really happened or if it was a gimmick for the film when the original commercial for the event flashed on the big screen during the opening of Us. I only vaguely remember the event, which might have to do more with the fact that I have lived in Washington State my whole life and we weren’t involved in the project. I doubt that I’m the only one and I suspect that was also some of Jordan Peele’s reasoning as well whe…

Kevin Hart’s ‘TKO’ is No ‘Wipeout’

TKO: Total Knock Out
TKO: Total Knock Out (CBS)
TV is always a bit different during the summer. While a few reruns of hit shows are shown during the summer, many other types of series are also presented from game shows to futuristic dramas to murder mysteries. The networks get more relaxed during the summer and viewers tend to enjoy wild and wacky fare during the dog days. One show that did especially well during past summers was Wipeout. The obstacle course game show where grown adults acted like children bouncing on “big balls” aired on ABC for seven seasons ending in 2014. This year, CBS has begun airing a new obstacle course show called TKO: Total Knock Out which stars Kevin Hart serving as host. The network has been hyping the show up for months now and fans of Wipeout thought their prayers for a new show were answered because at first glance, TKO seems very similar. Unfortunately, Wipeout fans may have to settle for YouTube clips of the former show.

Airing its first of 10 episodes last night, TKO: Total Knock Out is one of those shows where you might mildly enjoy the first episode without feeling the need to ever have to watch again. It’s not a bad show, but it’s not great either. Despite Hart’s over-the-top reactions to the antics happening below, TKO becomes very repetitive rather quickly. There’s not a lot of variation to keep one’s interest very long. If you missed it, TKO features five contestants. One of the contestants runs the course while the others pelt them with miscellaneous foam obstacles in hopes of making them fall off. The obstacles include dodge balls, large spiked balls, flying discs and large pounding hammers. There are four sections of the course that each contestant must fun through. If they get knocked off, they have to begin again. If they get knocked off a second time, they receive a 60-second penalty and move on to the next obstacle. Wash, rinse and repeat. The one player who does the best wins $50,000 while the person who finishes last gets nothing.

Hart makes a pretty good host, so the problem with the show doesn’t lie with him. Although I can’t confirm it, it looks like every contestant will have to run the same course each week. This might be okay if Hart was a little more quick-witted and was able to give commentary on the players. Half of the fun of watching Wipeout was listening to the commentary and banter between John Henson, John Anderson and Jill Wagner. They had nicknames for every player and the three came up with some very clever descriptions of what each of the players were doing on the course. Hart himself seems to love this show and so does the audience while my family and I just sort of watched with subtle amusement. During the pilot episode, Hart mentioned each time a contestant had to move on to the next obstacle that the contestant was TKO-ed. It gets old fast.

When the show was over I asked them, is that something you feel you need to see each week? The all agreed that it wasn’t. You might feel differently.

TKO: Total Knock Out airs on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. on CBS.


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