After the huge success of Squid Game, Netflix decided to do a Squid Game reality show. Anyone who has seen the original series instantly recognizes that this is a bad idea. The reality show has not come out yet but there are already reports of its troubled production. Enter Physical: 100, a South Korean reality show that is what the Squid Game reality show wants to be.
In Physical: 100, 100 contestants compete in physical challenges that result in elimination and the winner receives a monetary prize. The contestants come from all walks of life. There are fitness influencers, professional athletes, MMA fighters. There are unknowns competing against contestants who are well known to South Korean audiences. Men and women compete against each other.
There are individual challenges and team challenges. The challenges were unexpected and quite intimidating. Everything from hanging suspended in the air to Sisyphean boulder rolling to moving a large wooden ship across sand.
One thing it did was give me flashbacks to my 20s. In the 90s ESPN was expanding its programming and my friends and I were getting loved watching things we had never been exposed to before, like Australian Rules Football. We quickly became obsessed with the World’s Strongest Man competition and watching guys like Magnis Ver Magnuson, John Paul Sigmarsson, Bill Kazmaier, and Geoff Capes do superhuman shit. I still remember Gregg Ernst carrying the Husafell Stone down a country lane. Physicall: 100 reminded me of that experience.
Physical: 100 is only 9 episodes long and just recently concluded. We had a blast watching it and quickly latched on to some favorites and jeered some antagonists. Check it out if you are looking for some entertaining reality programming without the social aspects (alliances, back stabbing, etc).