1810, commonly known as the Year of the Physical Challenge

As I sit here watching this craziness, I feel like this cultural phenomenon is something that has to be shared. Tonight, a virtual holiday throughout Santiago, is the finale of 1810, a popular reality show that’s something like a combination of Survivor and the Real Life. And The Tudors, which is why this so weird. The catch? Everything “takes place” in 1810, on an old villa in the countryside.

Still, as far as I can tell, that mostly just means that they all walk around dressed in frocks and dresses. Everything’s taped, everything’s just like any reality show. They’re just wearing old clothing. They have a nice house, they have a fancy pool table. They have a film crew with modern cameras and everyone is expertly lit.

Still, like Survivor, this show has been a monster hit. Tonight for the finale they’re doing a live show at a packed stadium in Santiago (as I write this, and it’s about 1:30 in the morning). And though the announcer obviously loves saying the name of the show (Mil… ochociENTos diez) so much that she’s said it literally a hundred times so far, the audience is going absolutely mad, including just recently running into the competition area and forcing them to stop the show (there must be Dodgers fans in the audience). Still, that just gave them another exuse to go to commercial to again hype their new show 1910, which is apparently starting tomorrow morning. Guess what the gimmick in that show is?

And I’ve actually seen a few episodes of this, because I’ve been watching more tv at the suggestion of some of the workers at the EAP office. My favorite, naturally, is Los Simpsons, which they show with really awkwardly dubbed audio and make sure to say every phrase that appears in writing on screen, including random street signs and any of a thousand subtle jokes in this show. I love it.

I keep coming back to this. Right now in 1810 they’re doing the final challenge between two dudes, in which they have to walk across a series of hanging poles with small foot pegs at the bottom, run and retrieve a key, cross again, open a trap door with the key, go back, get another key, open another door, etc. You can see on the face of one of the guys that even he’s bored, and this is when he’s really close to winning 50 million pesos. The previous physical challenge had balance beams and hamster wheels. This could use some spicing up.

The best part so far was when one of the guys knocked out a female contestant and had to stand there while her family came down and yelled at him for… something. That was really awkward, and he just kind of gave them a Steve Mariucci “bummer” look, and went to collect his winnings.

Right… where was I? Oh yes, TV. I’ve been enjoying watching it, even if they speak quickly and the news has a habit of replaying old stories whenever they don’t have their shit together.

The music, on the other hand, is crazy. Chileans will be the first ones to tell you about Reggaeton, a music form that’s incredibly popular here. And as much as I like it, the singer Daddy Yankee is everywhere, hiding behind every corner to blast his new song through every radio, more overplayed than “Flake” by Jack Johnson or “Snow (Hey Oh)” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This song right here is literally the most popular song in Chile right now, as it’s hard to get through a day without hearing it at least twice.

Well, the guy just won, and even stopped to take his shirt off part-way through, his lead was so great over the other guy. The announcer, who may be just a tad too excited, has now referred to him as “The hero of the 21st Century” about 37 times, which I’m thinking is an slight exaggeration on her part. She’s been making that joke all night, you know the “Man, it must be weird to be back in the 21st century. Ya know, because you were in the 19th century, eh? eh? Get it? 1810?” But instead of the crickets chirping… the crowd goes wild. This country confuses me.

Oh yeah, and I went to an art museum and I’m going to start working at a newspaper tomorrow. More on that later. Buenos noches!

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One Response to 1810, commonly known as the Year of the Physical Challenge

  1. Razi says:

    Come on grammar geek, “noche” is feminine!

    Buenas noches, and I’m glad to hear you’re not sick with anything unusual and scary!

    (You can tell I’m trying to catch up on the most recent posts.)

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