“Mental Samurai” host Rob Lowe truly knows what it’s like for the Fox game show’s contestants competing on its second season, which premieres Tuesday. That’s because Lowe himself recently got in the hot seat to see how hard it is to answer timed questions while being spun around in the very expensive contraption the show lovingly refers to as Ava.
However, he failed to get the producers to crank up the speed for him, as he wanted to find out just how much he could handle.
“I love thrill rides. Ava was designed by NASA; it’s a multimillion dollar piece of equipment designed by NASA to test astronauts, people going into space,” Lowe told TheWrap. “If we turned Ava to 11, it would probably severely injure everybody. So we keep Ava down at around a three. So I get in Ava and I try to get them to goose it and, of course, they never will. It’s a blast. I have to say, every time a new contestant gets strapped in, I’m a little bit jealous.”
But you know what he’s not jealous of? The timed test aspect.
“Look, timed tests, we all hated them in high school. There is nothing worse than a timed test,” the “9-1-1: Lone Star” lead said. “Now do it on national television and now do it in a multimillion dollar contraption that’s putting G forces on your body. And, you know, it brings out the best and worst and funniest in people.”
Check out a tease of Lowe’s test spin in Ava via the video in the tweet below.
As TheWrap previously reported, the second season of “Mental Samurai” was shot in Portugal amid the pandemic in a cost-cutting move that also made for the safest production experience for Lowe, the crew and the contestants. Lowe said the change of scenery from a studio lot in Los Angeles was actually a blessing in disguise, and called it “an extraordinary achievement” on the show’s part.
“Because of my ‘Lone Star’ schedule, we had to shoot ‘Mental Samurai’ in a very specific time. And it was the height of lockdowns,” Lowe said. “Portugal was, at that point, the only country that had protocols in place that were safe enough to allow productions. So we brought our contestants all the way from the United States to Portugal, and it was great. I’d never been there. It was a perfect added benefit to get to see that beautiful country. And by the way, the food there is insane. Like when I think of Portugal, I didn’t necessarily think of food — I do now. The fact that we were able to shoot that show with all the contestants and the audience and get our Ava machine over there in the height of a pandemic is kind of an extraordinary achievement.”
“Mental Samurai” Season 2 premieres Tuesday at 9/8c on Fox.