Strangest TV Shows

Strangest TV Shows
Strangest TV Shows. A few things in our world transcend national boundaries or even language: laughter, music, pathos—and, apparently, Deal or No Deal.The suitcase-of-dough extravaganza could be the United Nations of TV shows, with 68 countries having shown some version of it in the past few years. But before your heart swells with American pride for our cultural export, hold on: The show first debuted in 2001 in the Netherlands under the title Miljoenenjacht, or “Hunt for Millions.“ In fact, in countless countries you’ll see versions of Big Brother, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars, all of which started outside of the United States, too. (The U.S. can proudly claim The Apprentice, since our natural resources include an almost unlimited cache of Trump.) But thankfully, when you turn the global dial you’ll still see plenty of culturally unique shows—some fascinating, and some plain kooky. In fact, international TV is a lot like traveling itself: Just when you think something is familiar, you’re reminded that you’re far from home. After all, you can find a cousin of The Daily Show where the host wears nightmarish clown makeup; a game show where losers are beaten with sticks; and a reality show contest with a lavish, American Idol–style set, but where the contestants are bookish poets.

See the World’s Strangest TV Shows.

Japan: Don’t Laugh
Japan is the global superpower when it comes to bizarre game shows—but their motivations are different. Here, humiliation is a worse fate than losing out on the big cash prize. Consider Don’t Laugh, where contestants are challenged to keep a straight face when presented with clearly hilarious situations, such as regular guys in skimpy swimsuits or students trying to read aloud in English (granted, the knee-slapping quality sometimes seems a stretch from an American perspective). And if the contestant laughs—and you know he’s gonna laugh—a bunch of masked guys wielding big sticks swoop in and beat the guy silly. Makes a parting gift of Rice-a-Roni seem like a bouquet of roses.

Australia: Border Security
Here’s an example of a good show whose American cousin fell flat. Airline never took off, so to speak, for our A&E network back in 2004, but Border Security, with its emphasis on immigration, customs and even quarantine at Australian airports, has been a big success. Some critics question how the series is edited, to show the supposedly flawless work of the staffers, but even Lou Dobbs types will find the issues engrossing—like the Korean woman in this episode who, it turns out, may be a mail-order bride.

Germany: Wetten…dass?
This combo-talk-and-game show has been a staple since the 1980s—and the premise may remind Americans of a star-studded version of David Letterman’s “Stupid Human Tricks.” Here, celebrity guests come on and wager on the stunts performed by normal folks—like a guy who tries to lap up a bowl of water faster than his dog, or another man throwing bathroom plungers at bare backs. Even the stars get in the spirit: In this episode, perhaps inspired by the Olympic-level dog-water drinking, Celine Dion gargles to “My Heart Will Go On.“ A spin-off debuted in the U.S. this past summer, under the title Wanna Bet? Like many foreign crossovers, it tanked.

India: Super Dancer Junior
Dancing with the Stars is a concept that has traveled well around the globe, but India gets a leg up, so to speak, by replacing the stars with kids, whose moves (and backup dancers) pay homage to both Strictly Ballroom and Dance Fever. The dancing is actually pretty good, but the complete lack of irony makes it a classic. Even so, grandmothers and little kids with Bollywood aspirations would eat it up.

France: Kaamelott
The French love variety shows and crime dramas, but this comedy-short series about Arthurian legend is a big departure. With wry satire, it’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail meets Curb Your Enthusiasm. In each four-or-so-minute episode, a mopey, neurotic King Arthur botches Guinevere’s birthday, wrangles with Merlin or grumbles about that “a-hole” Lancelot. It’s funny, but you can still feel the cultural gap that plagues French-American relations—is a debate over sacred-music harmonies that much of a side-splitter?More important, would the French admit that the best parts are derivative of British or American humor?Mais non.

South Korea: Infinite Challenge
Touting itself as Korea’s first reality show, this Saturday night staple has been a huge hit since it debuted in 2005. Truth be told, Infinite Challenge (or Muhan Dojeon) isn’t a classic reality show, since it has a cast of ongoing hosts/contestants and their “missions”—trying to out-push a bulldozer, or playing tennis against Maria Sharapova—are not so much about winning as just being goofy. In this clip with special guest Paris Hilton—who needs no translation—it’s hard to tell who’s mocking whom. But it’s still funny.

Mexico: La Notifiero con Brozo
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are proof that Americans love their news mixed with comedy, but La Notifiero con Brozo takes that to a surreal level: Host Victor Trujillo rants and shakes his fist about politics of the day—but always in smudged clown make-up and a wig. Even though Brozo looks like he just lost a brawl at the circus saloon, don’t dismiss him. His political commentary has been known to change elections.

Japan: Hole in the Wall
Americans have had their own love affair with the computer game Tetris, which tests one’s prowess in space relations, but other countries clearly love it more. In Belgium, the show Blokken features brainy-looking contestants playing the game on an overhead screen, cheered on by a chuckling, Belgian answer to Alex Trebek. Japan’s TV version, of course, blows out any civility. Here, contestants wearing costumes that look like sci-fi cast-offs “become” Tetris, contorting their bodies to fit through a giant patterned wall gliding toward them. An American version landed on Fox in early September.

United Arab Emirates: Prince of Poets
This Abu Dhabi TV show looks ridiculous at first glance: the Vegas-like stage, the dramatic lights and music, and then mild-mannered folks reciting their own Arabic poetry for a grim panel of judges. While it seems comical to Americans—who might prefer watching competitive long division to a poetry showdown—this has passionate watchers in the Arab world. There were even grumblings of contest-rigging after last year’s fan favorite (whose poems leaned political) ended up in fifth place.

Italy: Il Ballo delle Debuttanti
In a nod to Italy’s traditional culture, here’s a new reality show about girls competing through dancing and manners (and with help from coaches) for a debutante’s ball. The winner will go to Vienna, the Superbowl for debutantes, and win 100,000 euros. After all, puffy white gown don’t grow on trees, and you can’t pay the rent with a good curtsy.

Source: travelandleisure