Friday, September 12, 2008

The Zen of Game Shows

Stuck in a hotel room this week, I finally watched "Deal Or No Deal". At first I thought it was the dumbest thing I've ever seen on TV. Yes, I know, there are a lot of shows that are offensive, stupid, intelligence-insulting garbage. This is worse: it is a game show without a game. It's like the producers spent so much time on designing the set, "interviewing" the models, and hiring the "talent", they forgot to actually think how to play. If you've never watched the show -- something I highly recommend -- it consists of the host, Howie Mandel, basically asking contestants how much money they would like, while a bevy of models pose on a staircase smiling stiffly.

After a while though, I began to wonder if I'd missed something really subtle. (This tends to happen when I spend too much time alone in hotel rooms.) "Deal Or No Deal" might, in fact, be a TV game show distilled to its purest essence. It strips out all of the frippery and goes directly to the heart of what every viewer wants to see: how much money will the contestant win? It is so dumb it might actually be clever. It is the Zen of game shows.

Mind you, that epiphany still leaves one baffling question: what the hell is that thing on Howie Mandel's chin? It looks like he had one face lift too many, and his pubic hair ended up just underneath his lower lip. One word of advice, Howie: Brazilian.

No comments: