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The Unluckiest Game Show in History…

By Brian | May 23, 2007 | Share on Facebook

My wife and I are big fans of the Deal or No Deal game show, despite Defective Yeti’s accurate assessment of the show:

A contestant comes on and is given an amount of money between one cent and a million bucks. That’s it. That’s the entire program. Everything else is suspenseful music and reaction shots.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself rooting for the show itself, and for it’s host, Howie Mandel, rather than for the contestants.

As the Yeti points out above, there is no real way for the contestant to lose. Everyone walks away with some amount of money between $.01 and $1 million. But the show is trying like hell to create those “very special moments,” and every time they do, it falls flat on it’s face.

There was the special Valentine’s Day show, where everything was in pink and someone proposed marriage to the contestant. I think she walked away with $50. There was Ladies Night, where all the cases were held by men and the contestants were female. Again, no one won a significant amount of money. A couple of weeks ago, they had their 100th Episode Special, with dozens of former contestants in the audience and guest spots by some celebrities (including Jay Leno & Regis Philbin, who pooh-pooh’ed the 100th episode as no big deal…). They picked their favorite past contestant (who won $10 the first time) to play the game again. Big dramatic build up, right? In his second chance, he won $50.

But the ultimate blow was this past week. In a “Salute to Heroes” show, they had Wesley Autrey as the contestant. Wesley, you’ll remember, dove under a New York City subway train to save a total stranger who had fallen onto the tracks. President Bush called him a national hero in the most recent State of the Union. Models and audience members alike were in tears over the story. He started picking cases, and eventually worked the bank offer up to more than $300,000. But no matter what they offered him, he kept saying “No Deal” in hopes of winding up with one million dollars. Eventually, he picked the million dollar case, and wound up leaving with $25. Both Howie Mandel and the audience were so stunned by his lack of success (and his unwillingness to take the money and run), that there wasn’t even that much of a crowd reaction when Howie revealed that Chrysler had given him a free car in addition to his “winnings.”

Next week, they’re going to do the entire show on some unsuspecting contestant’s front lawn. Another “must see” episode. Another chance to give away a couple of bucks…

Topics: Primetime TV | No Comments »


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