Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, December 29, 2005

How to Deal

I am a longtime fan of pretty much any kind of game you can imagine and that holds true for game shows on television as well. So I know what I'm talking about when I say that 'Deal or No Deal' has to count as one of the stupidest, most mindless game shows ever invented.

Luckily, the Canadian Cynic is not impressed either and links to a couple of reviews, one of which provides the following summary of the game: "Here's how 'Deal works. The contestant faces 26 exotic models, each of them holding a closed briefcase containing preset incremental amounts, from a penny to $1, $100, $100,000, and $1 million. The player picks one briefcase, which remains unopened and will be his or her prize. Then, he or she chooses other briefcases to be opened, and by a process of elimination tries to guess how much is in his or her own briefcase. Meanwhile, a 'banker' hidden in the shadows of the show's garish set, phones [the host] with low-money offers, hoping the contestant will take the offer instead of what's inside the briefcase."

Presumably the next step is a game where the contestant repeatedly flips a coin and we anxiously await the outcome. Couldn't they have at least found a way to work in putting or whammies, or something?

I'll give the final word to Barry Garron, writing in the Hollywood Reporter, "That [Deal or No Deal] has been a hit in 35 nations, as NBC claims in a press release, reveals that there are more international threats than terrorism and global warming"

P.S. And I didn't even mention the host, Howie Mandel. Grim stuff.


  • "Presumably the next step is a game where the contestant repeatedly flips a coin and we anxiously await the outcome."

    No network would go for an idea that silly. Now if you hired hot models to flip the coin...

    By Blogger Simon, at 3:20 PM  

  • I watched the first broadcast, not realizing at the time that it was such a mindlessly simple game of chance, with no substantive twists (I did tune in despite knowing that Howie Mandal was the host, I'm ashamed to admit).

    I was quickly bored to tears, so I decided to keep a running score of the expected winnings for the contestant at each stage of the game, and compared them to the cash offers that were being made.

    Basically the show lowballed the contestant early with cash offers that were far, far below her expected winnings. Then, by 'round 7', or in other words after 22 of the briefcases were opened (leaving 4 remaining), the show finally offered the contestant 100% of the expected value of her winnings. Then, each time one more case was opened, they again offered her 100% of her expected winnings (of course that number varies wildly, adding so-called drama).

    I was stunned at how stupid the concept was, but I also noticed that the studio audience seemed pretty jazzed. They were hooting and hollering and generally going bonkers. And of course the contestant was right into it.

    What a stupid show.

    By Blogger Simon, at 3:33 PM  

  • Maybe they could strap two models to a giant coin (one on either side) and then flip it in some giant glass tumbler. The model on the losing (down) side, would be replaced, while the model on the winning (up) side, would take off an article of clothing and remain for the next toss. They could call it "Flip and Strip". (Note: I'm not advocating this, I just think that it's the next logical step from where we are now.)

    As for the crowd, I guess if you're going to be there you might as well enjoy yourself. I'd be tempted to constantly yell out, "One Dollar" as advice, but then I'm not likely to be in the audience any time soon.

    By Blogger Declan, at 11:15 AM  

  • I hate to admit that I, too, spent a good few days claiming that it was the stupidest show ever invented. Then I watched it. And couldn't look away. It was horribly embarressing.

    By Blogger Anna, at 8:42 PM  

  • Yeah Anna, I hear what you're saying, that's how TV goes. Earlier today I found myself watching 'Who to Do' but luckily it was already almost over so I didn't have to hate myself too much.

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:35 PM  

  • I just want to know which bloody moron at Boston Pizza (or their ad agency) thinks that Howie Mandel helps them sell pizza. There are a couple of BPs that are convenient for me, so we go in them from time to time - but good ol' Howie sure ain't the attraction - particularly in the spots wehre he invades someone's table. Yuck.

    By Blogger deaner, at 12:47 PM  

  • Yeah I'm not a big fan of their food, plus the ads are sooo obnoxious - as you say.

    Which is too bad since we live almost on top of a Boston Pizza and it would be nice to be able to eat there more often.

    By Blogger Declan, at 2:54 PM  

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