Monday, August 25, 2008

Pink foam walls reveal national character. | MetaFilter

Traditional Japanese culture is highly formal, stylized, and restrained. Not so, with contemporary Japanese mass culture. This trend is demonstrated in their penchant for wacky game shows. People appear on national television participating in contests that are simultaneously baffling and humiliating, and sometimes painful.

On MetaFilter, a post entitled "Pink foam walls reveal national character" describes a putative game show and the variations that have appeared around the world. The original game show is actually a segment on a comedy program, similar to "What's my line?" In the show "Tunnels no Minasan no Okage Desu," also known as The Human Tetris Game, "contestants strike poses to fit through cutouts in pink foam walls." Bizarre and hilarious. I spent about 45 minutes watching the various YouTube segments.

Versions have appeared in other countries sometimes as part of a comedy show, as a show on its own, with comedians, and with celebrities. Links to versions from Italy, Russia, France, Denmark, Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia are available in the MetaFilter post. The contestants are typically dressed in goofy, tight super hero outfits, except in Italy where they are scantily clad models.

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