Are the "Xtreme" TV shows actually bad for the amusement industry?

Just curious to hear some thoughts.

I was watching the "Xtreme Waterparks" premier last light on the Travel Channel showcasing the construction of Schlitterbhn's new slide Verruckt, the tallest and fastest waterside in the world (when it opens).

While very entertaining, I couldn't help but wonder if shows like this cast a negative light on the actual complexity and commitment to safety the amusement industry has.

In last night's episode, parts of it made it look like the waterpark industry is some "back of a napkin" rinky dink design game, and that isn't the case.

One one side, you have trade organizations such as IAAPA and WWA touting safety, safety, safety; and on the other side, shows like Xtreme Waterparks showcasing the extremeness and danger of waterparks.

Do the general public look this deep onto this?

TiggerMan's avatar

I had some similar-ish thoughts about that show. There was nothing about the actual engineering or other technical stuff that went into designing the ride. I couldn't put my finger on it last night, but I think you summed it up quite well - the show gave the impression this ride was "drawn on a napkin" and then they just went for it.

Later in the show they *did* mention the had talked to scientists/mathematicians/physicists, but only to really say "that they had all been wrong" in what they had calculated and/or told them.

The other part I didn't like was how abruptly they went from the initial days of construction to all of the sudden the ride was about to open (which we all know it hasn't). It was quite the time-jump compared to the rest of the episode. I would have like to seen more of the "drama" about delays and the actual construction and testing.

Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

Reality shows are interesting, and many times annoying. I used to like to watch home improvement shows where an actual couple was assisted by a remodeler or a design team. But I wound up thinking only an idiot would believe the process we saw was the actual process, so why bother? Then there's elimination reality shows, like Next Network Food Star or Project Runway. While many of us would prefer to see the contestants do their work and then actually learn something about how they got there, instead the show focuses on personalities and needless drama with the actual results treated more like an afterthought. It's all in the editing and what networks and producers consider "good TV".

I've seen my share of these extreme amusement shows and I always shake my head. But I try to concentrate on the things that we would be interested in, like the ride itself, instead of the extraneous bullcrap. And as far as the safety thing goes, that's just a shame. Here we are, busy trying to dispel these myths and these shows make it seem like no one but a foolish daredevil should participate in such dangerous activity. I guess they can't use words like "Xtreme" unless they make it seem so. (is that a word?)

Every once in a while I have a friend say something like "Hey, Mac. Did you see that scary ride show on TV last night? Who would get on those things?" and I usually say "Hey, I've been to that park and have ridden that ride. And I'm standing here talking to you, right?"

Last edited by RCMAC,

I'm sure the producers are well aware of the fact that with the exception of a few theme park "geeks", most people will watch a show like this with the tv remote in their hand, ready to click it at any moment. So it's got to be fast and entertaining above anything else. That's just the modern society we live in.

Last edited by John Knotts,

This is really interesting to me because I actually had the thought, "this guy is gonna ride this insane slide when just a few days ago, rafts were flying twenty feet in the air and flipping over and...he is verruckt!" Technically, I KNEW they did test after test after test before putting themselves in the rafts, but I don't know how many people would put this all together. Then on top of this program, they still haven't opened the full-sized version? It definitely puts out a....vibe (I can't think of a better word for this) that doesn't do the amusement world any favors.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Raven-Phile's avatar

Does anyone know the actual mods that have been done to that thing? It looks to me like they raised the bottom of the drop, changed the "up" portion on the camel hill to a much more shallow profile, and added some rails or trims to the drop.

Then, there's the black mat at the bottom of the hill, and I'm not sure what purpose that serves. Either way, this thing looks way different than when it was first built.

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