Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What's The Deal?

A few years ago, when I lived in the good ole US of A, it came to pass that there was a serious drought in terms of good telly to watch. Somewhere in the middle of the '00s, just after we'd endured about a year of nothing but post-9/11 news updates, there seemed to be absolutely nothing but reality TV on, and of all those reality shows, the reality game shows were the worst. This is when I first encountered the ghastly Deal Or No Deal. On the face of it, it's not a groundbreaking concept. In fact it's just a rehash of older shows such as Take Your Pick or  Let's Make A Deal. But the fact that they can find people so deluded as to think that they have any sort of control over what's going to be in the boxes/suitcases frankly staggers me. I am no maths whiz but even I can remember covering probability in school.

 It was bad enough watching this show in the States, where Howie Mandel, a talented comic actor and stand-up comedian, is completely superfluous to the proceedings, which, if you've never seen Deal, is a debacle of epic proportions. 

He used to have a full head of flowing locks.

26 leggy airbrushed lovelies in matching outfit stand next to 26 identical  metal briefcases on some sort of tiered step affair which looks like it might have been used to help the celebs get to their seats in Hollywood/Celebrity Squares. (Sorry, but writing a blog with international followers requires that I keep everyone informed so that they don't lose the plot. You haven't lost the plot, have you? Good. Then I shall continue.) These Botox poster-children then stand with plastic grin affixed firmly to the front of their phizzogs awaiting instructions from the numpty who has been picked to play this ridiculously childish game, egged on by their family members and the baying mob in the studio. They are required to decide upon cases to open, each containing a number representing a monetary amount, from 1 cent up to a million dollars. Every so often they are interrupted by a phone call from the banker, who supposedly sits silhouetted in the gods and occasionally offers the contestants a sum of money in exchange for stopping the game. 

He usually sports a much more vivid shirt than this.
In the UK it is presented by Noel Edmonds, ex- DJ and presenter of such classic shows as Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and The Late Late Breakfast Show. The cases are red boxes, and there are only 22 of them. The leggy lovelies are replaced by a group of random people who are either people known to the contestant, people who've played before, or people who are waiting their turn to play. Or just people they pull in off the street, who knows really? The maximum prize is £250k, but other than those differences, the concept is the same.

The main issue I have watching this show is how addictive it is. You simply can't pull yourself away from it even if you hate it. I find myself talking aloud to the TV, telling the woman to take the deal. "He just offered you £11,500 missus! You're not going to get a better offer than that!" And predictably, she says NO DEAL, and 5 minutes later regrets it when there are only four amounts left on the board and they are 1p, 50p, £3,000 and £5,000, and the banker offers a paltry £600. Still she resolutely marches on, believing in the power of lucky numbers, "Ooh, my son's birthday is on the 14th, I'll take box number 14 please Noel." Brilliant idea. 

Trouble is, nobody really has a mind like a computer. And that's what you need in this game. You need to be able to instantaneously
  • Add the amounts left on the board; and
  • Divide that by the number of boxes left; and
  • Figure out if the banker's offer is better than that. 
If it is, I advise you to take it. But what with the host's incessant babble, the banker's constant interruptions, the audience and your family members yelling and carrying on, not to mention being on national telly and your lunatic belief in the power of luck, or clairvoyance, or divination of some sort, and that you have any control over inanimate objects, it's no wonder people make these dumb mistakes. You want my advice if you're thinking of going on Deal? First offer the banker makes you over £10 grand? Take it. Pay some bills with it or something. You're in debt already, aren't you? Why else would you agree to go on a stupid game show?

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