Minute To Win It Review

I have to start out by saying that I have my doubts about Minute To Win It. Something inside me loves the fact that a game show is getting the big hype treatment, and it’s awfully cool to see that we’re going all the way back to Beat the Clock, but I’m not so sure about the long-term prospects.

The show really is rather fun, and Guy Fieri is as watchable here as anywhere (who knew food show host translated so well?), but I’m not sure there’s anything about the show that is going to keep me tuned in several weeks down the line. Putting a million dollar price tag on anything will get people to show up for the premiere (but really, who is going to go for it?), and the chance to watch people performing the odd stunts doesn’t hurt, but we don’t seem to have managed that solid hook that is going to keep you coming back for more.

There’s something very Wipeout! about the show for me, which is actually good and bad. When that one started, you couldn’t get enough of the Big Balls, and what makes or breaks the show is your attitude toward the host/commentator. Eventually, you settle into a “been there, done that” frame of mind, and something else is probably finding its way to your TV, and we might be on the same path here.

Of course, there is a family-friendly ease to the choice which is probably going to guarantee some level of continued support, but even that strikes me as both positive and negative. There’s something a little too straight-laced about the show’s direction (which sounds odd), given that we’ve taken a premise which at least partially relies on making fools out of people, except we don’t. You may look a little silly trying to work a cookie from your forehead to your mouth using only your facial muscles, but it’s lacking a certain drama somehow. Balancing golf balls on top of each other?

Keep in mind that this is all a sort of long-term hesitancy. For now the show is a good measure of fun, and Fieri carries things along quite well. You’ll enjoy it, and if there is anything to this idea of drawing energy from the roots of game show history, the show may find a serious fanbase.

And, considering that Wipeout! is getting versions in other countries and a video game, maybe those long-term worries are nothing to worry about after all.

Check out some clips in the Hulu player below.

NBC’s new competition show “Minute to Win It,” hosted by All-American chef and television personality Guy Fieri (“Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”), features competitors participating in a series of simple, yet nerve-wracking, games that can lead to a $1 million prize.

In each one-hour episode competitors will face 10 challenges that escalate in level of difficulty using everyday household items. Each game has a one minute time limit and failure to finish the task on time will eliminate the contestant. At various points throughout the game, the competitor can walk away with the money earned up to that point – but it’ll take nerves of steel to complete all 10 tasks to win $1 million. The competitors, who come from all walks of life, are shown over 60 games prior to the competition and are encouraged to practice these one-of-a-kind challenges at home.

Some of the challenges include:

HANKY PANKY – Using only one hand, the competitor must pull tissues out of a tissue box one-at-a-time until the box is empty.

JUNK IN THE TRUNK – A belt with an empty tissue box is attached around the competitor’s waist and positioned against the contestant’s back with the hole facing outwards. Ping-pong balls are placed inside the tissue box and the competitor must jump and wiggle to shake the balls out of the box without letting his hands touch the ground. All balls must be out of the box to complete the challenge.

EGG ROLL – Contestant must move three eggs across the floor and into a target area only by “fanning” the eggs with an empty pizza box.

BOBBLE HEAD – A pedometer is attached to the competitor’s head and he must move his head to rack up a total number of steps to complete the game.

MOVIN’ ON UP – Contestant is given a stack of 49 blue plastic cups with a red cup on the bottom. He must race to move the one red cup to the top by holding the stack and continuously moving the cups, one-by-one, from the top to the bottom through the entire stack.


Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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