Designed as an obstacle-course version of Musical Chairs, “Oh Sit!” seeks to lower the bar on title puns while answering the burning question, “Could something really be even less intellectually demanding, and more annoying, than ABC’s ‘Wipeout?'” A dozen contestants begin the game, gradually whittling down their number as they race around a circular fun-house track, before a blaring horn sends them scampering for chairs. “Who will be the last one sitting?” the hosts cheekily ask. Odds are it won’t be many of the viewers.
Mostly, “Oh Sit!” works too hard at establishing a snide tone, with hosts Jamie Kennedy and Jessi Cruickshank swapping bad puns as they call the action, reminiscent of Spike’s “MXC.” Except that earlier show worked because it was dubbed from the original Japanese, which gave the incongruous asides a “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?”-like riff, whereas here, they’re just plain irritating.
The producers labor to appeal to a younger audience, featuring live musical performances while the contestants circle the track, and encouraging the players to climb over each other. Moreover, many of the obstacles involve water, which makes things slippery, yielding plenty of pratfalls and, not incidentally, some minor injuries. (Any reference to shooting horses would surely be lost on the target demo.)
The game does move swiftly through multiple rounds, and the “Rollerball”-like set — which for all the silliness, appears to represent a not-inconsequential investment — has a certain international feel. There’s also an inherent simplicity to an underlying premise built around a children’s game, although the scoring and rules complicate matters, assuming anyone really cares about the outcome.
For all that, sitting through an entire episode finally felt like more of an ordeal than fun, especially weathering Cruickshank’s litany of jokes (the series credits eight writers, including the three exec producers) about what a slut she is.
Then again, when networks desperately try to garner attention in the middle of August, “Sit!” happens.