Wednesday, July 16, 2008


G4TV is desperate to prove to us that they are just as legitimate a cable channel as Spike TV, even if it ultimately kills us all. To be fair, they've done a pretty good job of it so far. Their reruns of Cops and Cheaters are certainly things you would see non-stop on Spike a few years back. Their original programming also stands head and shoulders above Spike's, with 90 minutes of live television every night to update their viewers on the latest in video games, movies, and geekery. It's almost enough to make G4's mothers proud.

That was until now...

With Hurl, G4TV incorrectly assumes that they can create a game show here in America every bit as entertaining as Japan's Ninja Warrior. Oh how wrong they were.

The rules of Hurl are pretty simple: if you are a famewhore and want an easy way to get 15 minutes of televised screen time, meet up with 4 other famewhores on their street tunnel set and prepare to throw up. Surely as a child your mother might have regaled you with tales of starving children in China or Africa. Fun update: they are still starving. So when a show like Hurl comes along, it's as if the American flag's stars and stripes have been replaced with a bald eagle flipping off poor people while eating a supersized Big Mac extra value meal.

The game show, if you can even call it that, starts off with an eating competition. For our debut episode, the contestants have 5 minutes to cram as much macaroni and cheese in their gullet as possible out of a 11 pound bucket. The contestant that "won" this round only polished off 5 pounds. That means there's 6 pounds of macaroni and cheese which was thrown out. That's enough to feed 3 or maybe even 4 hobos for a whole weekend. The hobos are crying, Hurl.

What's weird about the announcers at Hurl is they seem to be taking the whole game seriously. The producers have decided to deem every move or sound made by the contestant a "play," as if from a Playbook. Not only that, they gave the plays numbers, as if we're supposed to write them down and compile our own handbook to Hurl Supremacy. Tonight we were witness to many plays, some more effective than not, that included the Snowball, the Double Fisting, the Face Plant... wait a second, are all Hurl Plays also sexual maneuvers? No wonder these guys crammed down so much food then.

Another interesting fact that announcers seem to stress every other sentence is that the food the contestants are either forcing down their throat or covering their face and shirts with is organic. Really, after about pound 3 of macaroni and cheese, I don't think a human heart cares if the cholesterol is organic or processed.

So after 5 minutes of cheesy cheesy shame, the hurl-ers scurry into hamster balls right out of American Gladiators. While strapped down in a sitting position in these globes of pain, a group of men in gas masks and hazmat suits spin them right round, baby, right round, like a record baby, right round round round. Oddly enough, even after a creamy macaroni and cheese starter, none of the soon-to-be-pukers threw up, making the first half of this game show highly anti-climatic.

Determined to videotape every single person on this show throwing up including, but not limited to, the audience, the second round was another eating orgy of Greek proportions. This time our competitive eaters must down large sized pumpkin pies and wash the whole thing down with "organic" orange soda. Wouldn't "organic" orange soda just be orange juice, Hurl? Who knows, because we've got pies to shove our faces into! And eat they do, with the winner of this round downing over 3 pounds of pumpkin pie to go with the 5 pounds of cheesy macaroni he already ate.

It's during this second eating round we actually bare witness to our first vomit of the game show as the mixture of lactose and "organic" pumpkin fixings proves to be too much. Before I describe the vomit in great detail, I must stress that this is a show that starts with a warning alerting us about the "Extreme footage of throwing up" we're about to see, probably because "Vomit" isn't part of the standard television rating system. Now that you've been suitably warned about the vomit to come, let's all revel in it, shall we?

Oh wait, we can't. Apparently, despite the warnings and the fact that the show is called Hurl, the producers have decided actually showing puke is just inappropriate. So instead of actually seeing hurl on Hurl, we see the puke covered up by cartoon buckets pulled straight from your nearest Clip Art collection CD. Just so we're on the same page: the entire reason for this show's existence is to show people throwing up, and then they censor that. We've been seeing people vomit without censorship on television for decades, moreso nowadays with shows like Fear Factor, A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila, or Real World/Road Rules Challenge. These are shows not even built on the premise of forcing people to throw up, yet they show us piles upon piles of human vomit with reckless abandon. Naming this show Hurl is a bit like watching Poison Ivy: the New Seduction edited for broadcast TV on a Sunday afternoon. They censor out the one reason for its being.

So in the end, one famewhore managed to keep from vomiting about two minutes longer than another and won himself $1,000 and a lifetime of shame. As a viewer, I won the feeling of regret that comes with just wasting a half hour watching boring, watered down television. While some might scoff at Hurl and consider it another rung down the ladder humanity is taken to the end times, it's not even worth that. It's just another half hour on G4th's schedule that would be better served airing another episode of Code Monkeys, where at least the pixelated, 8-bit vomit isn't censored.