Ire­land’s Fittest Fam­ily

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - GUIDE - EMILY HOURI­CAN

RTE Player, un­til Jan 6 Best-fun fam­ily view­ing around — as one 10-year-old of my ac­quain­tance said, ‘there’s some­thing very cosy about watch­ing ev­ery­one wad­ing through mud and fall­ing into freez­ing wa­ter when you’re not’ — Ire­land’s Fittest Fam­ily is into its fifth sea­son and the for­mula is as strong as ever. Take a bunch of fam­i­lies who think they have what it takes, and pit them against each other in tri­als in­clud­ing ‘The Back­breaker’, and a va­ri­ety of mam­moth walls to scale along with freez­ing dips and mud-runs.

This year, two new coaches — rugby player Don­n­cha O’cal­laghan and sprinter Der­val O’rourke — join se­ries reg­u­lars Davy Fitzger­ald and Anna Geary, each bat­tling hard to get their fam­i­lies to the fi­nal. So far, we’ve had one new record, for ‘Hang­ing Tough’, and, for the first time ever, a trial no one could com­plete.

Yes, this is about phys­i­cal fit­ness and strength, but more than that, it’s about psy­cho­log­i­cal fit­ness and en­durance. Var­i­ous The Art of War quotes come to mind as one watches the play­ing-out of triumph and de­spair. The win­ning fam­ily goes home with €15,000, but far more than that — it’s the glory.

RTE Player, un­til Jan­uary 1, episodes 1-4 The Rub­ber­ban­dits cross a lot of gen­res, from com­edy to hip-hop to con­cep­tual art, satire and theatre. They have been likened to Flann O’brien and Mar­cel Duchamps, as well as, oc­ca­sion­ally, sim­ply a cou­ple of guys from Lim­er­ick who know how to cre­ate clever, catchy tunes and video. As they con­tinue to ex­pand their reach, with The Gospel Ac­cord­ing To Blind­boy and a heap of TV and art projects, here’s a chance to check out their Guides To Every­thing.

A se­ries of four half-hour com­edy ex­plo­rations of a sin­gle topic each time — specif­i­cally Sex, Money, the In­ter­net and Re­al­ity — these come com­plete with their own unique, wide-rang­ing and sur­real take on the sub­ject un­der dis­cus­sion, along with plenty of jokes.

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