Fear Factor Returns: Are You Watching?

Fear Factor Returns: Are You Watching?
Joe Rogan
Michael Weaver/NBC

12/13/2011 AT 09:15 AM EST

It's baaaack.

After five years off the air, Fear Factor returned to television Monday night and, other than host Joe Rogan's hairline, not much has fundamentally changed. The contestants are typecast (the Hot Girl, the Big Guy, the Mama's Boy) and the formula remains a hybrid of physical stunts and gross-out tasks.

Of course, the show – which first debuted in 2001, reality TV's infancy – did make some changes for version 2.0. On their quest for $50,000, the teams face more extreme and more repulsive challenges than ever.

A carefully choreographed (but still quite scary) fireball capped the first stunt of the season, in which contestants dig for flags on the back of a runaway truck heading for a pile of explosives. Then, the brave souls vying for cash go bobbing in black sludge for a container of giant scorpions.

And then they have to eat them. Five of them.

"It's peanut butter, baby!" one contestant tried to convince himself in vain. (It looked a lot more like pea soup post-chewing).

But that's not all. The season also features, among other gag-worthy challenges, submersion in 3,000 gallons of cow's blood.

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