Aimless, cynical and idiotic, Flinch is a waste of time for all involved.
Many people argue that Netflix is bad for film and television; that its monopoly on easily accessible, direct-to-binge streaming content is a death knell for traditional distribution, and that the platform’s library is full of cynical, lowest-common-denominator claptrap designed to wring subscription fees from an unassuming audience. This is nonsense, obviously, or at least overblown, but shows like Flinch don’t provide much of a counter-argument. When you start repurposing dumb playground games as entertainment, you know you’re in trouble.
As such, Flinch works thusly: Across ten mercifully brief episodes, a range of deeply unlikable average-Joe contestants are subjected to challenges designed to make them flinch; if they do so they accrue points for one of three hosts with presumably nothing better to do, and are punished in a kind of discount Saw sense such that the audience can enjoy their pain and displeasure. There is, I must admit, some vague appeal in torturing the stupid, but I’m not sure it’s necessarily suited to worldwide television, much less set as it is in a barn in Ireland that looks like a serial killer’s hideout.
That distasteful trash-TV sensibility permeates the entirety of Flinch, which quickly begins to reuse all its ideas, highlighting the obvious limitation with a show such as this, which is that there’s only so far it can go. Trite role-reversals between contestants and hosts amount to little beyond ensuring, I suppose, that everyone involved rightly receives some punishment.
The hosts are British comedy panel show stalwart Seann Walsh, American-born but London-based stand-up comedian and former dominatrix Desiree Burch, and Soccer AM‘s Lloyd Griffith. The most interesting thing about the trio is that Seann spells his name with two n’s, which should give you some idea of the tedious nonsense on display in this brain-rotting festival of stupidity.