Like NHK’s “Kouhaku Uta Gassen”, the variety show “Downtown no Gaki no Tsuzukai ya Arahende! (Nippon Television Network Corporation), a variety show that has become a year-end tradition like NHK’s “Kouhaku Uta Gassen” (Red-White Festival), has announced that it will be suspended this year. Many people must have been surprised by the sudden news.
At first, there were reports that the BPO (Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization) might be behind the decision to suspend the series.
The BPO said, “On August 24, the BPO’s Youth Committee decided to deliberate on the subject of ‘variety shows that make painful things the object of laughter. It specifically refers to “punishment games,” “surprises,” and “tsukkomi” in variety shows. It seems to me that they are referring specifically to “punishment games,” “surprises,” and “tsukkomi” in variety shows.
In “Laugh It Off” as well. In the case of “Laugh It Off,” the punishment for laughing is a slap on the buttocks with a baseball bat, and although the act itself is not the object of laughter, there was a noticeable argument that Nittele took the initiative to avoid being targeted by the BPO.
In response to this report, on September 27th, NTV President Mikuni Sugiyama announced at a regular press conference
“In response to the report, on September 27, NTV President Mikuni Sugiyama held a regular press conference and denied that the decision to suspend the program had been made before and that the BPO’s deliberations had nothing to do with it.
The BPO’s deliberations had nothing to do with it. The timing of the announcement of the program’s suspension and the BPO’s announcement seems to have raised suspicion of a connection, but since the decision to suspend the program was made in the spring of this year, there is no connection at all. However, some people in the TV industry think that the decision to suspend the program was a good one.
“The BPO says it is not targeting individual programs, but it is quite possible that individual programs will be mentioned during the deliberations. The target would not be programs from the past but those that are still on the air, so there is a possibility that “Laugh It Up” would be mentioned.
(Key station producer) If this happens, there is a risk that sponsors will leave the show, and there is a possibility that it will be cancelled. Even if it was a coincidence, some people think that they were able to take the initiative.
While viewers laughed at the reactions of the performers who were in pain, there must have been some who watched the program wondering if the performers were okay and if they would get hurt.
In addition to “Laugh It Up”, the BPO has been receiving continuous comments from people saying that they find such programs offensive and that they encourage bullying.
As a result, the production staff of variety shows that feature punishing games and surprises are trepidatious.
“The more extreme the punishment game or surprise, the more popular it will be, but the more dangerous it will be. The more extreme the punishment game or surprise, the more popular it is, but the greater the risk of injury, etc. If viewers feel uncomfortable watching the game or surprise, or if any of the performers are injured, the program may be cancelled immediately.
In addition, if any of the performers were to get injured, the show could be cancelled immediately. Recently, there have been some people who have questioned the idea of imposing a punishment just for losing a game, and the punishment game itself is being considered for review.
(Variety show production staff) They are also worried about how far the interpretation of “pain” will spread in the future. In other words, not only the bruising pain of being hit or kicked, but also hot, cold, spicy, or smelly pain is painful to those who feel uncomfortable, and is a kind of “pain. It’s a kind of “pain.
For example, “being pushed into a hot water bath or ice pool, enduring a long time in a sauna, or being forced to eat extremely spicy food ……. Most people now know that in some of those projects, the performers are exaggerating their reactions when in fact they are not that hot or cold.
However, there are some people who take it seriously and complain to the station, saying, “What if the performers get burned? The Dacho Club’s signature trick of sticking hot oden to their faces may no longer be possible in the future.
(The same program production staff) If this trend continues, there is a possibility that comedians who hit their heads or kick their butts will also be subject to deliberation.
Coincidentally, on September 18, Mr. Toshie of the once popular comedy duo “Toshie and Reiji Shoji” passed away. Toshie and Reiji are known as the pioneers of “thrusting manzai”. They were known as the pioneers of the “thrusting manzai” style, where Reiji would punch Toshie in the head with all his might and Toshie would counterattack with a flying kick.
They established this style of manzai. Although they later divorced, they were still husband and wife, and their fierce bickering on stage was a big hit with the audience.
However, some audiences were not so happy to see them, and this may have affected their appearance on TV comedy shows. After “Toshie and Reiji,” no other duo has been seen to engage in such fierce fights, but it is still common to see them use their “tsukomi” (comedy jokes) to pull down their partner’s head. However, we may not be able to see such “tsukomi” on TV in the future.
In a comedy award race a few years ago, one of the judges pointed out that there was no need for the “tsukkomi” when a comedian was laughing at his partner’s head. The issue of bullying has been highlighted, and viewers have become very sensitive to violence. It’s getting harder and harder to get people to see everything as a laugh.
It is said that the producers of TV programs are starting to look for punishments that do not involve pain. The day when “laughter with pain” disappears from TV may be near.
Reporting and writing by： Hiroyuki Sasaki
Born in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Sasaki became a reporter for FRIDAY at the age of 31, reporting on a number of scoops during his time with FRIDAY, and has been active in weekly magazines ever since. He is currently appearing on TV and radio as a commentator.
PHOTO： Yasuko Sakaguchi