Why All Parents Are Living Our Own Personal Fear Factor

NBC announced recently it was bringing back its hit show, Fear Factor. In an Entertainment Weekly article, the network’s head of alternative programming Paul Telegdy explained that the show will be bigger than ever before, saying, “We’re going to make it more visually arresting.”

Have we really scraped every reality TV idea from the bottom of the barrel (Storage lockers! Taxidermy! Tori and Dean!) that we now have to revisit the granddaddy of the reality genre? Is watching 20-somethings bob for live rats and slurp slugs that enticing when we have incredible scripted TV like Mad Men and Modern Family?

As big a reality TV fan as I am, I’m not really into this reincarnation of Fear Factor. Mostly because, although my entertainment choices often mirror that of a 12-year-old boy’s, I’m a grown-up and prefer something a little more high-brow in my television. Like Jerseylicious.

But really, the main reason is that because I have two kids under the age of five with no ability to distinguish between the socially acceptable and insanely disgusting, I’m already living in my own Fear Factor 24/7, but without the snide narrative of Joe Rogan to accompany it.

Once you’re elbow-deep in a diarrhea diaper, sticking your hand in an aquarium full of spiders doesn’t seem too bad. Eat buffalo testicles? Heck, I’ve been puked on in the face by a 9-month-old baby full of formula – while my mouth was wide open. I’ve witnessed my four-year-old lick the bottom of her dirt-encrusted flip flop like it was a popsicle. And turned to find my kids picking each other’s toe jam and sampling it to see if it really tastes like jam.

To truly make that 23-year model/actress Fear Factor contestant swathed in spandex earn her $50,000, I suggest Joe Rogan pulls her out of the shark tank challenge and toss her in an empty room alone with 15 toddlers with the sniffles, a gallon of milk, and an open bottle of ketchup. In minutes, she’ll be clawing at the door, her stomach in knots, begging to climb back into a casket full of cockroaches.

I will never be glamtastic enough to be on Real Housewives, fertile enough to be on 19 Kids and Counting, or chainsaw-savvy enough to be on Ax Men. But being able to stomach what the new Fear Factor throws at me – yeah, I can handle that.

By Nicole Plegge, Lifestyle Blogger for SmartParenting

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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