Wake Up Call: Can You Smell the Intervention the Rock is Cooking?!

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson delivers intervention realness on TNT's Wake Up Call
Wake Up Call (Photo: Frank Masi / TNT)

TNT calls upon American treasure Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson to save people from themselves on the new reality series Wake Up Call.

Show

Wake Up Call, TNT’s new save-you-from-yourself series debuting tonight at 9pm.1

Premise

America’s Greatest Treasure Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson travels the country to help those who haven’t realized they hit rock bottom pull themselves up. Be it extreme weight loss, unrealized dreams, or substance abuse, the Rock and his celebrity friends will turn lives around.

Lineage

The show is produced by Electus, the docu/reality outfit behind House of DVF and King of the Nerds. The Rock has worked with TNT before as the only thing consistently enjoyable from the 2013 contest The Hero (also an Electus joint). TNT has been working toward developing a full-on reality slate, and this is the latest attempt to see what sticks after getting thrown to the wall.

Who is Wake Up Call For?

This show if filling in a number of gaps left by A&E after they decided to pursue personalities for their reality shows instead of concepts. In the episode posted before the official premiere, the Rock and Jillian Michaels (formerly of The Biggest Loser) help a client achieve extreme weight loss goals. From the previews, we can see elements of InterventionHoarders, and other shows where there is a condition that needs treatment.

What Works

The Rock is a good choice of host for a program like this. He has the likability factor where you can’t help but be drawn in by his charisma, but his stature is imposing enough that the client will get intimidated to do whatever he says. Although the clients cover a wide scope of problems—all outside of what would be in the Rock’s professional area of expertise—he seems to genuinely care about the outcomes. He’s also willing to bring humor into the situation, such as comparing biceps with Jillian Michaels and the two having a faux weigh-in fight. I don’t think we need another weight loss series on TV, but I love seeing this two working together.

What Doesn’t Work

The tactics get a little extreme to the point of being cartoonish. In the weight loss episode, in order to drive the point home that the client needs to take his new diet seriously, the Rock and company stage an elaborate surprise funeral for the client. Spoiler: the tactic worked, but instead of feeling heartfelt it came across as a backdoor pilot for a show that could be on TruTV.

Verdict

Wake Up Call will run for eight episodes, and it seems like it will vary in quality based on what problem the client-of-the-week is experiencing. The payoff in the preview episode seemed rushed almost to the point of unearned, but that may have been pilotitis compressing the amount of available story time. The Rock will be the thread that holds the series together, and he has just enough screen time without pulling focus from the client. It’s the most enjoyable of TNT’s recent reality offerings, so you should at least check out one episode.

  1. The second episode of the series was made available on demand ahead of the premiere.  

A Brief Word From Our Sponsors:

About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv