New Netflix Must-Watch Reality Show Is Now Steeped In Assault Allegations

New Netflix Must-Watch Reality Show Is Now Steeped In Assault Allegations

I’ve been getting into sports lately. Not like physically, mind you, but parasocially. Y’know, watching Hajime No Ippo ahead of the anime AF Creed III and seeing what the hubbub is about LeBron James making history while being an “old.” While new Netflix game show Physical: 100 inspires lapsed athletes like myself to pick up recreational activities again, sadly, like most Netflix “reality shows,” its initial greatness is hindered by its controversial participants.

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Physical: 100 is a South Korean game show where, in the same spirit as Squid Game (hopefully minus the backstage shitstorm), 100 athletes from different disciplines compete to win $300  million won (roughly $AU337,000). These athletes are professional dancers, gymnasts, rugby players, stuntmen, cross fitters, bodybuilders, and more. My favourite obscenely athletic gods among mortals on the show are MMA fighter Choo Sung-hoon, aka Yoshiro Akiyama, a wrestler named Jang Eun-sil, and a car salesman named Jo Jin-hyeong.

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Similar to Netflix’s Japanese reality TV show, Terrace House, Physical: 100’s participant’s secondary goal in competing in a myriad of athletic challenges is to promote their respective crafts to a larger audience. And what better way to do that than by defeating a group of egoists in the temple of gains through freakish displays of athleticism?

The most enthralling part about watching Physical: 100, aside from how audaciously ripped each contestant is, is how the show’s “quests” (the game show games) routinely pit athletes from different fields against each other. As a viewer, these games create a type of meta similar to a fighting game where athletic backgrounds play a pivotal part in the success of a participant. For example, games of keep away with a medicine ball favour top-heavy athletes, whereas when participants must cling to a metal bar while being suspended over a pool, those with leaner builds have the advantage. The show even displays a Japanese RPG-esque flowchart describing which body type each quest favours.

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Sadly, Physical: 100, like Terrace House, is steeped in controversy. Back in May 2020, Terrace House’s Japanese broadcast was suspended following the passing of Stardom wrestler and contestant Hana Kimura. Kimura, who joined the show to get viewers interested in women’s wrestling, was the victim of online bullying after she and her Terrace House roommate argued about how he’d ruined her wrestling gear in their washing machine. Since her passing, Japan created a new law making cyberbullying a punishable offence of either a one-year prison sentence or a 300,000 yen (roughly $A3,200) fine, according to CNN.

As of today, two Physical: 100 contestants have been accused of physical assault, according to the BBC. While the names of the contestants haven’t been revealed to the public, it’s been revealed that one contestant is under investigation by the Seoul Gangnam Police on charges of assault and battery of his girlfriend as of last Thursday, February 23, according to The Korea Times.

Kotaku reached out to Netflix for comment.

While Physical: 100 makes for exciting television harkening back to sportsman-like shows like 1989’s American Gladiator, it, like many other reality TV shows, loses its lustre upon closer inspection. And like other series that put its contestants in rather extreme situations, it raises questions about the consequences of the media we consume, the dangerous side effects of increased public scrutiny and targeted harassment, and the ethics of giving screen time to people who have a history of bad behaviour.


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