A CBS creative team must’ve done a lot of acid while bingeing 90s TV on their smartphones – that’s the only conceivable reason this Candy Crush TV series, hosted by Mario Lopez and featuring contestants pulled from past seasons of Survivor and Big Brother exists. That or CBS looking to learn a few tricks from MTV’s The Challenge, while also picking up some brand sponsorship that got thrown in its direction without much thought to where it could end up.
Candy Crush is obviously a game that most people are at least somewhat familiar with – it’s a matching puzzle title that has millions of mobile users, and it might have done more for mobile gaming than any other single game in existence. But its mainstream success is no excuse for this TV travesty, which unifies a bunch of also-rans in the misguided hope of making something new and unique.
It does not do that.
This is easily the worst thing I’ve ever spent 40-ish minutes (minus commercials) watching on television. I stuck with it through the whole thing to see if it would ever have a moment of originality, spark or personality – it did not. Instead, it featured some quotes that you won’ believe were uttered on TV, spoken by a Mario Lopez who sounds like he’s an autopilot but absolutely dead inside.
Here are some highlights (yes these really are highlights everything else doesn’t even rise to the level of unintentionally interesting):
“biggest touchscreens in the world”
“teammates are gonna have to be connected to each other via a long candy cane”
“let’s strap on those candy canes!”
“everyone’s struggling to break that last licorice lock”
“she’s a challenge beast too”
“you gotta start swiping gentlemen”
“use the bubble gum troll”
Ultimately, this whole thing is about as interesting as watching someone else play Candy Crush on their phone on the subway while you’re on your morning commute. Probably less so, because everyone involved seems so transparently unenthused to be there, including the shadowy studio audience that seems cruelly to have to applaud constantly throughout boring, drawn out gameplay stretches.
To make matters worse, the touchscreens seem often to not even register contact, either from the giant, vaguely obscene prodding tools used in some games, or from players’ hands. It makes the whole thing feel even more hopeless, but sometimes you trigger a chain reaction and a disembodied guttural voice yells out “TASTY!” so I guess that’s ok.
Luckily, there’s zero chance this show survives longer than a few more episodes.