Sunday, June 11, 2006

Deal or no deal

Recently, in London, I caught an episode of DEAL OR NO DEAL. A staid, proper host conversed with the staid proper contestant and all was very civilized. Then I saw the US version. Holy shit!!! It’s like we slammed together a game show, live informercial, Vegas, and Victoria Secrets Lingerie special.

Contestants can win a million dollars just by choosing the right suitcase. It’s the perfect American game show. No knowledge of anything is required other than maybe being able to count to 26 and point. And the willingness to jump around the stage, scream, and act like Jerry Lewis in the ERRAND BOY. One contestant I saw last week said his dream was to become a professional mascot. The adoring studio audience went WILD.

Of course they go wild over EVERYTHING. They react with the same delirious cheering, stomping, and clapping at the news that we’ve killed Abu Musab Zarqawl as learning that “we’ll be back right after this break.” This must be the same studio audience that has a collective orgasm when the man explains how the pocket fisherman works.

Here’s the premise: A contestant selects one of 26 suitcases, each held by a drop dead gorgeous model. From there he opens other suitcases revealing dollar amounts from $.01 to $1,000,000, thus eliminating them. At certain intervals the “banker” calls and offers a cash amount to end the game. The contestant can accept it or keep going (deal or no deal) until ultimately he takes the cash or whatever’s in the suitcase he originally selected. That’s it. Keno with tits.

At the moment the show is a huge hit. I fear, however, that in time it will start to get old. So I have a suggestion for how to improve it. First off, make half of the gorgeous models men. Then put a million dollars in every suitcase. Each contestant picks a suitcase. He or she then has one decision to make. Take what’s in the suitcase or the model. Weeks will go by before producers have to pony up any money at all.

If there was a studio audience here they’d be going wild.


Anonymous said...

"I fear, however, that in time it will start to get old."
I agree. And that time for me was about five minutes. I was unable to get through an entire broadcast. What on earth is it's appeal? It can't be Howie; science has proved that NO ONE finds him entertaining. There are plenty of gorgeous models on more entertaining shows. (ANY show is a more entyertaining show.) As you point out, there really is no game, no skill or knowledge or strategy to win. WHY are people watching it?

VP81955 said...

As you point out, there really is no game, no skill or knowledge or strategy to win. WHY are people watching it?

It's easier than thinking?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the real question is did he manage to go through so many permutations, including acting in a hospital series...And no one really likes him..

Well, as for studio audiences, I recall reading an article about the different audiences, at Oprah, at some game show, and how there were staff whose job it was to MAKE SURE you are smiling, laughing, fawning over inanities, to the point where if you were off-step, it would get mentioned publically, to force you back to the script. Scary really.

Anonymous said...

dammit we don't get the models here, just noel edmonds.

The Curmudgeon said...

Your post made me think of H.L. Mencken and the Limbo.

Mencken said that no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. As for the Limbo: How low can we go?

Anonymous said...

Rednecks need rent checks. Trailer park America loves those non-thinkin' game shows. How long has 'The Price is Right' been on?

They define 'Jeopardy' as datin' a girl who ain't kin.

Anonymous said...

I think the utter genius of the show is that it requires nothing from the audience. You can guess which suitcase is going to be the one with close to zero effort, then you're hooked until the contestant opens that suitcase. If you picked a high dollar amount, you can feel great about how "good" you are at the game, if not, then you know that you would have taken the deal at its highest dollar amount.

It really is a genius concept in audience manipulation, but just like Who Wants to be a Millionaire, this one is going to get burned out. Then, Star Jones will wind up hosting a daytime version of the show where they WILL switch out half the models for soap-star looking dudes.

And Howie Mandel will go back to blowing up rubber gloves on his head.

ChrisO said...

I'm not a fan of Howie Mandel's comedy, but for some reason he works on this show. My wife is addicted to the show, while I can't stand any of these prime time game shows.

And for what it's worth, the strategy of the game lies in deciding whether to keep what you've won so far or take a chance to go for more money. And I think despite the gratuitous "rednck" remark, you'll find the show enjoys good ratings in a lot more than redneck areas.

Jason said...

The show is a gamble, people like to gamble. The game is only as mindless as you make it. I will watch the show with a calculator, and try to keep up with the permutations. Americans love to watch contestants get worked up into a high fever, and then lose it all. You ever notice how no one ever takes the first offer even if it is a really good one? I think they only let players on that agree to go very far. I would like to know how they screen contestants.