Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Money, Cars, and Light Bulbs!!!"

A few years back, on my radio show, we did a game show parody by that name, where contestants didn't do anything, but were awarded money and cars, surrounded by blinking light bulbs.

It turns out, you don't need the cars.

NBC's new series,
"Deal or No Deal", with Howie Mandel, features only contestants and money. Okay, the money is in briefcases. But that's it. Does the briefcase you chose contain the million dollars? Or will you trade the briefcase for less money, guaranteed, as we open the other cases?

No trivia. No physical challenge. Just you, your family on stage with you, pressuring you, and money. And Howie Mandel. Naturally, each of the briefcases is held by a female fashion model.

It's hypnotic. There's a middle class American family deciding whether to take $125,000 or turn down the deal, in hopes that another briefcase has a million.

Even while you're hypnotized, though, you get a little growl in your tummy. It's your conscience wondering if we don't have something better to do than watch other people get money dangled in front of them. Sitting and watching poker on TV seemed lame enough. Now, we've removed the cards.

Film buffs remember Martin Scorsese's character in the movie "Quiz Show" (an excellent rental if you haven't seen it), saying that the "21" scandals were beside the point, because the audience didn't care about the contestant's knowledge: "They just wanted to watch the money." Now, they can.


Blogger Dan McGowan said...

I have watched this show a few times and, yeah, I do follow the money... well, I hope to follow the money... The question arises: "How much is really 'enough?'" If I had the chance to be on that show, and opened a briefcase with, say, $25,000.00 inside - - but still had 11 suitcases left - - would I stop? Or would I keep going in the hopes of finding $50K, or perhaps even $100K?? At one point am I honestly content??

Of course, with MY luck, I'd be the guy to get all the way down to the last 2 suitcases... and I'd pick suitcase "A" only to discover it has $5.00 inside - - with the other one, of course, holding the million...

10:31 AM  

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