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