Available on Netflix, it shows, in six episodes, unusual competitions, such as resistance to spice, how high a frog jumps, or hunting a rolling cheese last. About tastes …
“Traditions are a form of magic,” says a voice over, while the camera We are the Champions, by Netflix, shows a large pot of milk, which in no time will be cheese. In the English countryside, the tradition has been going on for many years, although no one can say how long. What does the test consist of? Running down a hill that is 100 meters long and has a 45 degree incline in search of a cheese last that rolls at full speed.
The most frequent injuries of the participants are broken ankles and dislocated shoulders. There is a person who won the competition for three consecutive years, and he is a legend in the village. Will he make it to the room? A girl has a shoulder injury, but she doesn’t want to stop participating. Can he finish the race without hurting himself?
The most unusual competitions in the world take place in this new Netflix docuseries, which has six half hour episodes. The production was in charge of Dirty Robber, a Los Angeles production company with long experience in the world of documentaries.
The history of the rolling cheese of England is not the only protagonist of the docuseries. The cameras travel to Southern California for the World Chili Eating Championship. The same with a contest of fantasy hairstyles, skills with the yo-yo, dance with dogs and leap of frog (it is not the man imitating the animal, but measure the distance a bullfrog travels).
Throughout the episodes, the eye is more on the characters than on the extravagance of the competition. What leads them to submit to the pain of eating spicy to vomit? Why do they jump off a hill chasing a last of cheese? At what point does someone decide to dedicate a whole life to the yo-yo?
With an effective and classic storytelling -perhaps too much and somewhat repetitive-, the episodes begin a few days before the competition and tell the story of its participants, as well as the outcome with the winners and losers. In those lives is the interest of this product. For example, a woman who decides to eat spicy to avoid drinking again. Or a teenager, who was a withdrawn and bad boy for sports, manages to become a yo-yo prodigy.
The episodic series is uneven in its stories, which appeal to a generous use of slow motion. There are some charming ones, with compelling characters and beautiful moments, like the English one who opens the production. And others without so much sense, with the sole purpose of showing a theater of cruelty, such as the competition of eating spicy.
In some cases, the stories are nourishing; they delve into the tradition of competition and celebrate diversity. While in others it only focuses on the obsession for personal success of a certain American culture of winners and losers. Motivational phrases full of clichés do not add too much. at the end of the episodes, in the style of “Like the yo-yo, life is full of ups and downs”.
We are the Champions cares about being respectful of the passion of the participants no matter what freak make it look like the competition. But it ends up being a well-intentioned, low-gloss product. In short, everyone entertains themselves as they want. The question is if that is enough to make a series that deserves to be seen.
Documentary film Protagonists: Rainn Wilson, Steve Brown y Tishauntae Small Creator: Dirty Robber Issue: Netflix Duration: six half-hour episodes.