Now, I’ve been watching Game shows on Tv for as long as I can remember. I think my first words were “Come on Down!”. I’ve seen some great shows come and go, and unfortunately, I’ve seen my share of really bad shows that looked like they had good intentions.
Over the past few years we’ve been seeing a lot of prime time game shows. Some are imports that did pretty well in the U.K. like “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” or “The Weakest Link”, and some are new ones created by some real network geniuses like “Greed” and “Deal or No Deal”.
“Deal or No Deal” features Howie Mandel, an aging stand-up comic. If anyone remembers his old routines he used to be extremely hyperactive and relied a lot on props. His two basic claims to fame were inflating a rubber glove on his head with his nose and doing the voice of an animated child named “Bobby”. His humor was passable at best. Now, he’s back – and bald?
Each show you get to see a contestant called “at random” from the audience and they act all excited when they get to hang out with Howie. Up on stage are 24 models holding briefcases with numbers on them. It’s easy to see that the casting director of the show was looking for how much talent these models have – that is if “talent” means being able to hold a side job as a Victoria’s Secret underwear model. The contestant picks one suitcase in hopes that it’s the one that has $1,000,000 in it. In the other suitcases are other amounts ranging between .10 (that’s right, there’s a chance that the contestant could pick a case with only a DIME in it) and the million dollars.
Real quick, let me tell you about the contestants. These are not folks you expect to see on shows like “Survivor” as most of them look like they haven’t gotten out of their trailer, much less off their couch, in decades. They also get to bring their entire family up on stage with them – although, they’re sequestered away from Howie and the contestants to prevent any Jerry Springer-esque violence, I guess.
Each round the contestant has to pick a number of cases to be opened. It starts with six and goes down to about one as the rounds go by. Now, the opening of the cases does nothing more than to help eliminate any hope the contestant has of getting a good prize – and of course, to show off the models’ “talent”.
At the end of each round Howie will get a phone call from “The Buyer”. The Buyer is a guy that hangs out in a darkened booth and no one ever sees them. It’s probably just the producer saying jokes about the contestant or their family. The Buyer will tell Howie an offer that he’s willing to make for the contestant’s case based upon the remaining prizes on the board. If all of the prizes are of large sums he’ll make an offer that’s roughly halfway between the top and second amounts. If there’s hardly anything up there, The Buyer might offer as little as $150.00.
At this point the contestant has an important decision to make: Do they take the deal in hopes that the offer is more than what’s in their case, or do they reject the deal hoping that they have a larger amount in the case.
At this point they’re faced with a big red, candy-like button that they can either push and take the “Deal” or slam down a plastic lid over the button and say “No Deal!”.
It usually goes like this for about six or seven rounds before the contestant either gets a really great deal and takes it, goes all the way to the end and finds out how much they have in their case, or if the contestant picks all of the larger prizes and the buyer offers them the price of a McDonald’s Happy Meal to get them to leave.
The show is entertaining – the first time you see it. After that it gets old really fast as you see more and more of the lowest forms of life living in America getting on the air, acting like idiots, and hoping against hope that they can get lots of money – for nothing. To be honest, I think I’d rather just go to the local convenience store and watch people buy lottery tickets. I’ll see the exact same kind of people with the exact same attitude.