Review: Flinch (Netflix)

The new “game show,” Flinch on Netfix will leave you with many questions both during and after:

What are the rules?

Who are these hosts and why do we care?

What’s the actual point of this show?

What have I just done with the little precious time I have in my life watching this?

Let’s start with this; it isn’t technically a game show because there is no prize! We’ve devolved so much so that now people will humiliate themselves for nothing more than screen time. It’s basically the Tide Pod challenge for adults. “Look at me, I’m making a fool of myself on a screen!”

The only skill on display are the contestants’ ability to fight their own bodies’ automatic responses, which leaves to another question; is it a necessary life skill to be able to not move at all when a giant balloon pops right next to your face, or a washing machine flies through the air directly at your head? In each of the 10 episodes, eight contestants participate in three challenges, all filmed in barns on a Northern Ireland farm, and constructed out of materials that appear to be homemade, apparently by a psychopath.

The challenges themselves are like the contraptions from Saw, except instead of gruesome, splattery death, they produce some kind of punishment that ranges from physical pain (electric shock, produce dropped on their heads) to annoyance (whipped cream in their faces). Which is where the most insulting part of this show arrives; no one who is sane actually believed this show was going to do permanent harm to these participants, but the “punishments,” are laughably fake to the point where my wife and I were left arguing over whether there was the smallest amount of current or no current emitting from the cattle prod. If you’ve ever been shocked on any level, you’ll understand why when you see the lack of response by the participants.

Flinch is also entirely unconcerned about what constitutes a flinch; while it’s often obvious, the show’s enforcement is very arbitrary. Over time, that makes it less interesting to watch, because if one person moving their eyes counts as a flinch and another person moving their eyes does not, what is the point? And speaking of no point, we are supposedly supposed to care about which one of these three no-name hosts, who add nothing to the show, will wind up being the final punishment.

Each of the 10 episodes is less than 30 minutes and that’s 31 minutes too long. Don’t do it, unless you want to laugh and analyze exactly how bad it is.

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