As we all know, there’s a lot of random user-generated video out there, and lots of time squandered watching it — people taking falls, adorable babies, cute kittens. Fox has sought to transform that into a one-hour series, “World’s Funniest Fails,” which sort of misses the point about consuming these empty-calorie distractions in bite-sized bits. What emerges, in Frankenstein-like fashion, is thus a construct that’s less coherent than “America’s Funniest Videos” (no, really), with host Terry Crews (also seen in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and a trio of comics cackling over the various crotch kicks and headers. Hilarity seldom ensues.
Instead of the “Send in videos and win money” aspect of “AFV,” “WFF” (yes, that’s how they abbreviate the title) – derived from the YouTube channel FailArmy — tries to concoct a game element around the clips that never really makes sense.
In addition, a disclaimer at the outset says the show won’t accept submissions, presumably to prevent idiots from staging elaborate falls and injuring themselves. Videos are then shown under loose themes — categories like Weddings, Animals, Dancing Falls, Adorable Babies, Drunks at Parties, Exercise — with each of the comics advocating for which one they like best.
Crews selects his favorite in each segment, and at the end designates an overall “Fail of the Week.” And that’s pretty much that.
Although there’s not much new under the sun (much less the Friday-night lights), “WFF” seems inordinately indebted to Comedy Central — borrowing the clips with snide commentary from “Tosh.0,” and the wisecracking panel from “@midnight.” And while “AFV” goes out of its way to demonstrate that nobody was really hurt, “Funniest Fails” for the most part doesn’t bother, or seem to care.
On a more serious note, some of the behavior is not just ridiculous but reckless, like guys running, walking and plunging onto frozen-over lakes and pools, usually with painful-looking results.
The comics are certainly game and occasionally funny (one refers to a tumble by a guy in a cowboy hat as “Broke-Neck Mountain”), but the level of giddiness and sheer volume of stupidity pretty quickly prove wearisome at best.
Granted, it’s hard to blame a network for trying to find an inexpensive way to fill time on Fridays, historically a low-viewership night, where Fox has also sentenced the final season of “Glee.” But if the goal was to develop a series that exhibits even a shred of originality or ingenuity, as “Fails of the Week” go, hey, it looks like we already have a winner!