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This ‘Slippery Stairs’ Japanese Game Show Is Exactly What It Sounds Like, and It’s Perfect

2 minute read

Television serves many purposes: delivering breaking news updates. Exploring long-form journalism. Sharing prestige drama. Placating us with reality TV. And, of course, it gives us the all-important game show format. While Americans have long grown accustomed to standbys like Jeopardy! and The Price Is Right, other countries have innovated in the form, creating TV content that is both unexpected and highly watchable.

Enter Slippery Stairs, a TV special in Japan. It’s grabbed the attention of global viewers after a 9-minute clip of the epic Sisyphean struggle was posted on YouTube and made the rounds on Reddit over the weekend.

It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: six contests in skintight bodysuits attempt to climb a slicked-down staircase as an audience watches. Drama, hilarity and the persistence of the human spirit ensue. There are close brushes with victory. There are futile wrestling matches. There are tears. There are moments of pain, for empathetic viewers and for the contestants who are getting pummeled by those gooey stairs.

In any case, if you want to kill nine minutes exploring the power of resilience and questioning our understanding of entertainment as an art form, Slippery Stairs should fit the bill.

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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com