Tonight was the premiere of the newest program added to the WWE Network dubbed “Swerved”—a prank-styled show built around such predecessors as Jackass and Punk’d.
In fact, working on the project is one of the minds behind Jackass itself, Jeff Tremaine, so fans of his work on Bad Grandpa and the like should be enthused about this right off the bat.
The criticism, though, is that this just appears to be a simple ripoff and nothing more. If you’ve seen those shows before, what could this possibly offer you? Is it different at all and worth the viewing or is it just a repeat of the same concept and if you’ve seen it before, you don’t need to bother?
The short answer is no, you aren’t going to see anything groundbreaking or innovative. Just as the previews indicated, there’s nothing that separates this from the other shows. Even the visual style of how they go about making the show is almost identical and that familiarity can either be a positive or a negative depending on what you’re expecting out of the series.
For this particular episode, there were three pranks: 1) a stool that would shock the person sitting on it, 2) Hornswoggle popping up from a hiding spot in a table and scaring people, and 3) putting a microphone that had been covered in feces up to the faces of people at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony.
As you can tell, things aren’t anywhere near as brutal as they were in Jackass, but there’s still a crude element to it. While it’s highly unlikely that the WWE superstars will begin hitting each other in the crotch on a regular basis, it at least isn’t toned down so drastically to the point of it being mere child’s play…even if the show at its core embraces the fun of acting childish.
Your mileage may vary on which of those three pranks was the best, depending on your sense of humor, but I personally found the shock stool to be the most entertaining. The microphone gag basically boiled down to each person just saying it smelled and nothing more, while the setup for Hornswoggle’s scares took a tad too long if I had to criticize it.
Actually, the most fun aspect of this show for me was not the focal points themselves, but the relaxed atmosphere of just hanging out behind the scenes. Since everything in WWE is so scripted and rigidly overseen, it’s a breath of fresh air to see people like Dolph Ziggler, Alex Riley and Xavier Woods goofing around with one another. Who knew that the ever-suited Tom Phillips could look even goofier than normal when you see him in his sandals and shorts? Who else thinks it’s odd that Booker T legitimately thought he could be given his own cooking show?
Is it original? Not by a long shot. But is it entertaining? Sure, if that’s what you’re into. If pranks are interesting to you, you’ll probably love it, and if you find that idea beyond stupid, there’s nothing that will convince you otherwise.
At the very least, if you’re looking for more WWE content in your life and you’re sick and tired of seeing nothing but interview countdown lists and documentary retrospectives, this is something different enough to stand out.
If you’re considering giving it a shot, check it out and see for yourself, but make sure you don’t go into it with the highest of expectations as you will probably be let down.
What did you think of Swerved? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!