First We Feast’s ‘Hot Ones’ kicks up the heat with new game show

How the show compares to the YouTube interviews that gave the brand its name

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By Emma Ryan, Collegian Staff

First We Feast’s interview show “Hot Ones” has spread far and wide across the internet, providing us with beloved memes like Paul Rudd’s “not me” and DaBaby murmuring “f*ck it” with a casual shrug after dipping a wing in ice cream. The brand has recently branched out by introducing a spin off, “Hot Ones: The Game Show.” But will this variation be as successful as the interviews that gave the show its name?

For those of you who are in the dark on these ever-entertaining interviews, host Sean Evans invites celebrities to snack on extremely hot wings with him while he asks perplexing interview questions. Easy right? Maybe for some. The wings start off easy and get spicier with each question, leaving interviewees sweating by the end of their time in the hot seat as well as leaving viewers amused at their inability to sit through the spice.

The interviews gained their popularity for a reason. Inviting celebrities from all career paths (singers, actors, comedians, chefs and the like) targets a wide audience. Not only does “Hot Ones” always manage to catch an interview with the latest and greatest celebrity, the questions Evans proposes prove far more interesting than the average day or nighttime talk show. Evans often gets comments from his guests along the lines of, “Wow, that’s a great question” or, “You really did your research.”

The interviews are bound to leave viewers thinking, “it can’t be that spicy, I could definitely do it,” which is where “Hot Ones: The Game Show,” streaming on TruTV, enters. While keeping the same concept of answering questions and eating spicy wings, the game show loses a lot of the characteristics we all know and love from the interviews.

The show is set up with two teams of two competing against one another in three rounds of three questions. With each question, the money incentive for answering correctly is raised, which creates a high intensity environment for contestants. Round one begins with the presentation of a wing to each contestant. This wing is meant to be the least spicy, but with fewer wings to eat than as compared to the YouTube series, this wing starts off at about a 7/10 on the “Hot Ones Scale” immediately starting off much spicier than the original interviews. After each contestant has fully finished the wing, unlike the interviews where a small bite will suffice, the questions begin. The first round consists of your average trivia questions, including stats on sports teams, knowledge of TV shows and movies and various other facts. If one team answers the question correctly, they accrue whatever monetary prize was attached to that question. If they answer incorrectly, the money automatically goes to the opposite team without them having to buzz in with the correct answer at all.

Round two is similar to round one in every aspect besides its questions. Rather than being asked traditionally trivia questions, this round is a test of contestant’s visual strengths. In the case of the first episode, contestants were shown close-up shots of mouths and asked to identify what celebrity the mouth belonged to.

Round three, dubbed “Mount Scoville,” after the scale by which the spiciness of a chili pepper is determined, requires contestants to listen carefully to Evans’s description of an item and buzz in with the correct answer. Think of it like playing verbal charades or “Heads Up.” Rather than eating the whole wing at the beginning of the round, contestants must take a bite after each description, maintaining the fiery sensation the wings provide. The first episode included a description of the moon and the website “Kickstarter.” Unlike the first two rounds, if a team doesn’t guess correctly in the third round, the opposite team must then guess correctly in order to earn the money.

At the end of three rounds, the team that has accumulated the most money moves on to the final round, the Ring of Fire, and the other team departs. The final round is identical to the third round in that answers must be guessed based on descriptions. However, instead of Evans providing the descriptions, one team member must describe to the others who must guess. Instead of taking bites of wings,  each team member must take a shot of the hottest sauce yet. If the team can guess five correct descriptions in under a minute, they win $25,000 in addition to the money they already acquired and they are given the antidote to the spice that lingers on their lips: an ice cold milkshake.

While any game show is bound to keep viewer’s attention for half an hour, can “Hot Ones: The Game Show” compare to the interviews that gave the brand its name? Viewers are bound to have a stronger attraction to the interviews in the YouTube series since celebrities are people they feel like they know and are close to, whereas the game show features complete strangers. The game show also loses the interesting questions that Evans is known for asking and there’s a level of fascination seeing everyone’s favorite celebrities see if they can take the heat. So, will this show version take off, or is it just another into the ranks as another trivia game show with a slightly unique twist?

Emma Ryan can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @emma_ryan13.