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Why The Hero Is Between The Rock And A Hard Place

When TNT's new Rock-infused Amazing Race meets Tough Mudder reality show The Hero debuted two weeks ago, we here at Previously.TV were pretty bullish on it thanks to its high energy and good production values and a generous helping of Rock Time™. The third episode, however, is showing some issues with the show and perhaps throws into question the long-term prospects of The Hero.

Diminishing Rock Time™

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The third episode contains less than half the Rock Time™ of the premiere, which is a measure of meaningful on-screen Dwayne Johnson-age starting with the opening credits. (We throw out the recappy preamble.)

When The Rock smiles at us, we forgive the show for a lot. When The Rock tells us the jungle is "hot and scary...like me," we drop our guard a bit. So when we get less Rock with his mighty reality-show distortion field, we get antsy, and the show's issues start to show themselves.

No One Here Is A Hero

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The show's early villain is Shaun (a professional wrestler) who was the first one to take money for himself instead of adding it to the endgame pot. That might be unheroic, but it's a smart move when you play the odds. He's also the guy who speaks the truth:

"Everybody here wants to win money."
- Shaun -

And that's the problem with a show called The Hero when we are given time to think about it. Everyone is self-serving and nothing about this is heroic, so who cares who wins?

Just give us more Rock, you heartless bastards, and give Shaun the money for at least being self-aware.

Leaning On Reality TV Tropes

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Keeping a picture of your girls and longingly looking at it for the camera is a Reality Show 101 production note and it makes our teeth ache.

America Votes

Only one person is going to walk away with the grand prize, and it's up to viewers to declare whose that will be. America loves a good sad sack story, so it will boil down to a popularity content as these things always do. You don't get a Richard Hatch victory when America has a say in it. You don't need to be a hero, you just need to be the nicest person.

A Prediction For The Redemptive End of The Hero

In the finale of The Hero, The Rock assembles the contestants for a look back on their adventures and ask them about their sacrifices, what they overcame and blah blah blah Probst-cakes. Then he reveals America's choice for The Hero and the grand prize.

Then he says "But..."

The Rock gives contestants one last chance to be the true hero. He reminds them how each successful challenge also contributed thousands of dollars to the Red Cross. He reminds them of the good work the agency does across the globe and at home. Hurricane Sandy is mentioned.

"Will you donate your prize to the Red Cross?"

Silence. The contestants look at each other, and then to the winner, who is panicking.

"I really could use the money, but a hero always does what's right so yes, I'll donate the prize."

[clapping, hugs, fist bumps]

Then The Rock announces that donating the jackpot comes with double prize money for The Hero because this is America.

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