Kicking & Screaming: It’s not a survival show by any definition, but it may be good comedy

The “novice” castmembers of FOX’s new Kicking & Screaming reality survival show

FOX’s new reality challenge show Kicking & Screaming is a comedy, right?

It’s not a “survival” show by any means – the contestants are given machetes, knives, fire starters, and battery-powered headlamps, for God’s sake.

I can only assume they provided them with water, too, since they’re a few days in and not one single person has mentioned needing to find fresh water, or boil water, or any of the other things you’d usually hear on a survival show. Some of them are wearing canteens.

Bold move by FOX launching this show tonight, after last night’s season premiere of Survivor on CBS. But they’d better up their “survival” game real fast, or they’re going to lose a lot of viewers.

Survivor fans aren’t going to watch more than an episode or two of Kicking & Screaming unless it’s to yell at the “novices” through the TV screen.

The show pairs “hardcore survivalists” with “novices” who look like rejects from other reality shows

Here’s the shtick:

They brought in 10 “hardcore survivalists” with real credentials, and partnered them with 10 “novices,” who look like the cast rejects from MTV’s new reality survival challenge show, Stranded with a Million Dollars.

The survivalist and novice teams are competing for $500,000 to split, basically camping in the woods for a month. Both members of the team have to make it through to win.

Like Stranded, which started three weeks ago, the season is filmed in a jungle on an island in the South Pacific. And like the MTV show, one of the contestants is a boy scout.

You should check out the cast bios here – some of them are hilarious. There’s a self-proclaimed former “sniper and warlord” paired with an etiquette coach.

I feel sorry for the survivalists. Most of the novices are a hot mess.

Seriously, they meant for this to be a comedy, right?

They can’t even climb out of the boat they arrive in.

The 10 novices arrive to complete the cast of Kicking & Screaming in the premiere
The 10 novices arrive to complete the cast of Kicking & Screaming in the premiere

Angelica Bridges was on Baywatch, and she brought Louis Vuitton luggage on a survival TV show.

And she drops it in the water. Seriously.

“As you might have guessed, you are paired with your total opposites… there will be no changing partners,” explains New Girl star and Kicking & Screaming host Hannah Simone.

Maxwell is a fashion student who shouldn’t be outside when it’s light out. Tamra, a survival instructor, got stuck with him.

“I could just tell that she lived a very clean life, and I live the most dirty life ever. I’m full of chemicals and bad decisions,” Maxwell says.

“I would literally do anything for a cigarette and a shower, in that order,” Maxwell says, after one day.

Caleb, the special ops guy, gets partnered with Sam, a professional chess player.

“I don’t fear anyone but God. And maybe my partner,” Caleb says, as Sam plants a machete in a tree two inches from his arm while they’re cutting down trees for the shelter.

These people need a serious machete safety class.

Jason, the U.S. Marine, gets the manners maven.

“I’m a little bit of a princess,” Elaine says. “I do all inside stuff. I don’t do any outside stuff.” She doesn’t pump gas.

“Why have a husband if you have to take out the trash?” she asks.

Brady, the sniper, describes his worst nightmare as a Valley Girl.

He gets Claire, the fashion blogger from Los Angeles, who was Miss Wyoming in 2010. Bahahaha!

And they were allowed to bring luggage… Luggage for a survival show. Yeah, that’s a challenge.

It’s a little bit like watching the early episodes of Lost when they were all wandering around wearing layers of clothing from the plane.

What survival show, ever, lets everybody bring luggage, and greets them with a trunk full of camping supplies? C’mon guys. #Weak

Nakeisha the cheerleader is having a rough time walking on Day One. Literally just walking.

Her former warlord partner John has little sympathy for her mosquito bites on Day Two, although to be fair, they’re pretty bad.

Ras Vaughn
Off-the-grid survivalist Ras, who gets paried with Kristen, below

Ras, the off-the-grid survivalist who looks a little bit like the guy your mom wouldn’t want you to get in a van with, got stuck with Kristen, who describes herself as “Malibu Barbie.”

“A typical day consists of going to the vineyards and going to the spa,” she says.

Kristen Kozak
Kristen, surrounded by plenty of vines but no vineyards

Ben, the military survival specialist, got stuck with Juliana the model.

“Not going to lie, I’m feeling like I wanna go home. I want my bed,” Juliana says right after the game starts.

Host Hannah appears to announce the first challenge, and says it involves catching food with their bare hands.

For a second, I had some hope that this show wasn’t going to be as hokey as it looked, but I was wrong.

They have to swim across a pond, grab a fish from a net with their hands, and put it in a bucket.

The first team with both fish in a bucket wins. And they get to use nets to move the fish.

At least watching them try to run holding big live fish would have been entertaining.

Mike, a delivery truck driver, almost drowns crossing the pond, then gets cramps trying to grab a fish. #NoWords

Michael Forbs washed out in the first episode, but at least he didn’t drown

“Usually me in the water is chillin’ in a Jacuzzi,” Mike says.

Juliana and Ben win the fish challenge. Mike and Jessie lost.

“I’m definitely proud of myself for finishing that,” Mike says…yeah, wait til you see the footage. You look like an idiot.

The winning team can choose to either win a prize, or win the power to pick a team to send to battle the last team to finish the first challenge.

Ben and Juliana take the luxury tent for one night in the jungle.

The group votes to send Tamra and Max to the elimination challenge against Mike and Jessie, since they were next to last.

In the middle of the night, Kristen wakes up having an allergic reaction, and she doesn’t look like she’s channeling Malibu Barbie any more.

Kristen Erskine had an allergic reaction to something the first night

But she didn’t quit, instead opting for an Epi Pen so she wouldn’t have to drop out and take Ras with her.

“Could it be the Zika virus?” Kristen asks. No seriously, she did.

They’re camping. Sure, they’re roughing it. But they’re camping. I am not impressed.

The elimination challenge is just as big a joke as the rest of the show.

They need to find pieces for a pole in the mud pit, build the pole, and knock their bag out of a tree. Then they have to build a fire with the contents of the bag, a fire-starter kit.

The only reason this is even the slightest bit interesting is the incredibly out-of-shape, uncoordinated victims the producers cast as the novices.

“My personal hygiene is already at an all-time low being out here,” Max says when he sees the mud pit.

Mike just got plain stuck in the mud, and his partner had to pull him out.

Predictably, Mike and Jessie lost the elimination challenge, and got sent home.

Even the teasers for the rest of the season look like a bit of a snore. There are a lot of funny one-liners, but there’s not going to be much substance.

I’d rather be watching Survivor, or Naked and Afraid. Or mocking the Millennials on Stranded with a Million Dollars.

Best line of the night

“It’s been seven days since I’ve ordered takeout, and I wonder if the delivery driver thinks I’m dead,” Maxwell jokes.

Things we’re left wondering

Did the novices know it was a survival challenge? They have suitcases full of bikinis and cosmetics.

Does this show have any chance of improving in future weeks? Or is it all one big  Three Stooges act?

Who, exactly, was the target audience for this show?

Kicking & Screaming airs Thursday nights at 9/8c on FOX.

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