Solitary pods touring malls as part of the show’s third torture-filled season

Fox Reality Channel’s most-popular original series, Solitary, recently returned for its third season, which airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET and is on Hulu, and now an interactive version of the show is visiting malls across the country.

If you’ve never seen the show, it’s basically like a super-stripped down version of Big Brother: it’s just contestants in an empty octagon-shaped room and producers fucking with them via sometimes creative, sometimes sadistic challenges. The person who wins $50,000 is the person who outlasts everyone else; that’s the only game. Contestants can leave any time, but then they lose, so it’s intriguing to watch how much they will put themselves for a chance at money–or because people are watching on TV.

If near-torture isn’t entertaining, there’s always the sarcastic producer voice-over known as Val, who pretends to be observing human behavior and tells one of her “guests” that her job is to “push each of you until you break.” Solitary 3.0, which has so far aired two episodes, started with the contestants not exactly in solitary confinement: the 10 contestants were paired and had to compete to earn one of nine spaces.

The series is taking versions of its “pods” to malls, where you can enter a pod or deliver instructions to someone inside it. (A superfan contestant from season three, RobRob, filmed that mall experience briefly, although he spends most of the video harassing Fox Reality employees.)

Last weekend the exihbit was in Los Angeles, and it moves on this Saturday to the Hulen Mall in Fort Worth. Other dates: Feb. 7 and 8 at the North Point Mall in Atlanta; Feb. 14 and 15 at the West County Center in St. Louis; Feb. 16 at the West Towne Mall in Madison; and Feb. 21 and 22 at the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut.

Solitary 3.0 [Fox Reality Channel]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.