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MTV’s ‘SafeWord’ makes a surprisingly fun game show out of memes and tweets

MTV’s ‘SafeWord’ makes a surprisingly fun game show out of memes and tweets
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The days of MTV as a music-only network are long gone, but that doesn’t mean their original programming is all bad. Case in point: the network’s newest celebrity competition show, “SafeWord,” is a fun and raunchy take on the traditional game show. But it’s safe to say this one won’t be airing reruns on Game Show Network anytime soon.

MTV has been pioneering game shows that “the youths” can enjoy since its inception in 1981. From “Singled Out” in the ‘90s to “Room Raiders” in the mid-aughts, MTV has had plenty of success in showing famous people and normal people alike making fools out of themselves for prizes and cold hard cash.

Lately, the network has been reveling in the surprising success of a “Fear Factor” revival (hosted by none other than Ludacris) so it seems they decided to capitalize on that success this summer with their newest competition show called “SafeWord.”

What’s a safe word, you may ask? Of course, this is MTV, so pushing the envelope is kinda their M.O., so it shouldn’t surprise many that a safe word is a BDSM term that someone engaging in sexual activity can use when they wish to stop said sexual activity. A safe word can be anything but is usually something benign and non-sexual in nature, like “Beetlejuice” or “banana.” Oh, MTV.

There’s no handcuffs or chains here, but this adaptation of a British show of the same name certainly features situations that you probably won’t find on “Family Feud” or “Match Game.”

The premise is simple: two celebrities are each given a safe word and “safety crew” of comedians, and they go through various games and tests designed to make them as uncomfortable as possible. They’re allowed to invoke their safe word whenever they want, but whoever uses their safe word the least wins a sparkly safe word crown in the end.

In a truly 2017 twist, one game involves the opposing team sending out mortifying tweets from their opponent’s Twitter account (first example: actor Kevin Hart sending a tweet from his account about hooking up with Beyonce...think that seems tame? Hart has 34.5 million Twitter followers, and Bey has 15 million. A rumored hookup would steamroll the press and the Beyhive into a sheer panic.)

In the show’s first two episodes, the best contestant has been Amber Rose, a TV personality and feminist icon. Rose made clear right away that she was NOT here to use her safe word - no matter what - even if it meant putting a dirty dollar bill from someone’s pants into her mouth. (Spoiler alert: she did it, and it was incredible.)

“SafeWord” seems to be doing well in the ratings, as it seems viewers young and old are gravitating towards game shows for fun, easy viewing these days. If your parents are looking for a tech-themed game show to make them feel cool and connected to the youths, we don’t suggest they check this one out. However, might we recommend the “Candy Crush” game show instead? It’s much more family friendly...no safe words needed, we promise.

Check out “SafeWord” on Thursday nights at 11:30pm on MTV.

Photo credit: MTV

‘The Bold Type’ is a stylish new take on the floundering women’s magazine world

‘The Bold Type’ is a stylish new take on the floundering women’s magazine world
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Freeform’s newest summer drama “The Bold Type” is TV’s newest attempt to portray the glamorous yet turbulent lives of magazine writers in the New York City publishing world.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The show follows a young assistant named Jane who just got promoted to a writer spot at Scarlet magazine (loosely based on Cosmopolitan magazine, the No. 1-selling women’s magazine in the world). Jane isn’t exactly nailing the new gig with her pointy-toed stiletto wearing boss. She quickly becomes the “how-to” girl, and her first story involves stalking her backpack-wearing, Brooklyn hipster ex who isn’t on social media.

The glitzy world of magazine publishing has been chronicled time and time again in movies like “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Trainwreck,” and “13 Going on 30,” and TV shows like “The Hills,” “Ugly Betty,” and most recently in an E! reality series about Cosmopolitan called “So Cosmo,” which aired in the spring.

“The Bold Type” seemingly has plenty of credibility behind it, as it’s executive produced by Joanna Coles, the Chief Content Officer for Hearst Magazines, and former Editor-in-Chief of...you guessed it, Cosmo.

The show’s two-hour premiere checks all the boxes: gorgeous mag staffers teetering around in their highest heels, a sordid office romance, potentially dashed hopes and dreams. But in order for this series to thrive among the ones that have come before, it’ll have to bring more than just a Miranda Priestly knockoff and platform-wearing glamazons. It’ll have to get real.

It’s ironic, given that print magazines are a dying industry, bested in the past decade by digital media, Snapchat, and even podcasts. If glossies like Cosmo will even exist in 10 years is impossible to predict, but it seems Coles herself is hell bent on creating Cosmopolitan “the brand”...even if Cosmopolitan the magazine ultimately becomes a relic of its time.

Coles has tried just about anything to make Cosmo not just survive but thrive in the fading magazine industry since she joined staff in 2012. There was the aforementioned reality show, a short-lived clothing line at the decidedly unglamorous mall staple JCPenney, and even Cosmopolitan The Fragrance, which seems to only have existed in the U.K.

But “The Bold Type” is Coles’ first shot at a thinly-veiled fictional account of her team at Cosmopolitan, and so far, it seems to be a juicy summer dramedy worth tuning into. After Freeform’s rebranding from ABC Family to slightly more mature fare, the show should hold its own, even though it’s much of the same old, same old.

In fact, ABC Family had its own TV movie version of a magazine writer’s plight back in 2010 with “Beauty & The Briefcase,” starring Hilary Duff, who is currently starring in “Younger,” the delightful TV series about the high-wattage world of NYC book publishing.

“The Bold Type” feels like a full-circle moment, as it’s already seemingly fresher more self-aware than its predecessors. It treats women with a great amount of respect, showing the three leads’ close bond and openly discussing their career goals and aspirations. In a post-”Lean In” world, it may just work.

Check out “The Bold Type” Tuesday nights on Freeform.

Photo credit: Freeform

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