Thursday, February 08, 2007

this one isn't for you either

I’m talking a lot about television lately. I don’t know why, probably because I’m watching it in the hope that something good might come on. Not likely.

Today’s topic is quiz shows. If there’s a ridiculous quiz format that hasn’t been adopted by our cycloptic friend, then I’ll eat my hat. And not the chocolate one, the other one made of… whatever hats are made out of. Possibly cotton, or some kind of poly-fabric. Sure.

I’ve watched at least one episode of each of the ‘hot’ ‘new’ ‘shows’ that have graced our screens over the last week. 1 vs 100, The Rich List and Con Test. Because I watched Con Test most recently, I’ll do that one first, and make up stuff about the other ones that people won’t remember.

The Con Test

Unfortunately, this is not a show involving Con the Fruiterer or Con from Heartbreak High, which is a shame. Imagine those two together at last. I'd like it to be called CONsequential. The format is still a mystery, but it has two guys who play a character called Con, and it's got Con in the title. It'll write itself. Anyway... Con Test. No Cons in sight, but it does have one of the muppets from Idol on it, that Nathan Bracken guy. And some old duck who thinks she’s hot. Maybe next to Gretel Killeen, sister. But next to Bracks, you’re looking a bit like Reba McIntyre. Now, I’m not entirely sure what she looks like, but her name doesn’t flatter, so picture someone who’s ugly and you’re with me. The show has a handful of idiots who spend all day together trying to convince each other that they’re rich or successful or insanely brilliant. I don’t really see the point of this. If I went on it, I’d wear one thong and a pair of overalls and claim to be an ancient Aztec demon. Graah. That way, people wouldn’t really care if I was smarter than them, they’d be too scared to do anything about it. Graah.

The game goes like this: Answer 8 questions. Each answer you get right, you get $500. No one knows how many anyone else got right; only their own score. If you think you’ve got the lowest score, you can buzz out and take home however much you got right. If you don’t buzz out and have the lowest score, you get shunted out to the ‘Fold Room’ and have to sit with Judith Lucy’s ugly sister and win nothing. After a bundle of rounds, possibly 5, possibly not, the last person standing wanders out the door with $50 000.

This could go alright, if the contestants aren’t as fucked in the head as the ones on the other night were. I’m not sure how saying “I’m the best!” between each round is a “con”. If someone with a hint of personality and a touch of nous is allowed into the game, it might even be enjoyable. But Channel 10 aren’t really into that, so expect another dose of this crap again next week. I give it a B for execution, a B+ for potential and a C for longterm watchability. Overall, it’s 5 and a half apples worth.

1 vs 100

Eddie’s back baby, and he’s still smug and greasy. I swear, that guy must bathe in every oil vat in every fish and chip shop in Australia, and then produce his own grease and sell it back to them. No wonder he’s so freakin rich. I hate that guy.

So he pulls out one contestant and puts them against 100 idiots sitting at the largest panel in the southern hemisphere. They ask him a few ridiculously easy questions – if he gets it right, he keeps going, and for every idiot that gets the question wrong, he wins a couple of bucks. The fewer people there are on the panel, the more money each answer is worth.

Again, this puppy has as much potential as a potential-laden piece of potential pie baked in Potentiala, which is the capital of Potential. Unfortunately, Eddie has employed himself to be the star of the show, so it has a few hindrances. All of them are his fault. It’s slightly quicker than Millionaire, and has a bit more personality. Especially if they keep getting cheerleaders to be on the panel.

My main qualm about 1 vs 100 is that the answers are piss easy. I’m not entirely sure how anyone has actually got one wrong yet. Maybe I’m just smarter than the rest of the world. Probably. My other qualm is that Eddie insists on talking about himself, his ‘other’ show, ‘his’ football team and ‘his’ tv network. Way to mix with the common man, Ed.

This one gets 2 boxes of popcorn for execution, 3 boxes for potential and 2 for longterm. Overall, I give it a used bus ticket and an empty Subway card.

The Rich List

Holy crap. How does this show go for an hour? Or does it? I can’t remember, but it feels like it does. Maybe even longer. I watched two episodes, and felt like I’d eaten a box of scissors – I don’t know why I would do it, or why I wouldn’t stop. That bloke from Deal or No Deal is again thrust into the spotlight, begging the question, “How does one get onto television these days, if they keep recycling the same spastics over and over?” Seriously. Bert Newton has a thousand shows, all stemming from some variety thing he put together late in the 1500s. Daryl Somers is somehow still around, Eddie McGuire keeps hiring himself (I guess it beats reading resumes and having to do interviews and screen tests) and even Larry Emdur is doing something else… maybe Wheel of Fortune, I don’t know. It’s all too much sometimes. I think I need a lie down.

Ok, so Andrew O’Keefe is back at his best, repeating three lines over and over for the whole show. “Is it on the list?” “It’s on the list!” and “If it’s not on the list, you walk away empty handed.” That pretty much sums up the whole concept. Two teams of two idiots each name things (animals beginning with P, for instance) until someone fucks up (“sorry, a paratrooper is not an animal”) and the winners go to the super list. 15 answers about… something (“name 15 out of the 6 billion people on the planet”) and every three correct answers wins you a couple of grand. Piece of piss. The shows that I saw had a bloke that would give Merv Hughes ugly shivers team up with some pansy boy who watched an entire season of Queer Eye in one sitting, who may or may not have won enough money from Channel 7 to buy a large island, and then crash that island into several small islands that they bought, just because they can. It only takes a smidge of intelligence to win this game, so it’ll probably be off air soon, as the station just won’t be able to afford it.

Qualm: The contestants are stupid. Instead of just blabbing their answers out, they discuss every friggin detail with each other. “A penguin starts with P, we could say that.” “No, I want to save penguin for later, how about platypus?” “Is a platypus an animal?” “Of course it is, it’s a marsupial.” “Are they still categorised as animals?” “I think so. Man, now I don’t know. What about piranha?” “They’re fish.” “Not animals?” “I don’t know.” OH MY GOD JUST SAY SOMETHING. Even worse is smug homo man who backs up each answer with some kind of witticism. “When I went to Barbados, they didn’t have penguins there. I love penguins, so I’ll say penguin. Final answer.” Or “I went to school with a bloke whose nick name was Digger. I can’t remember why we called him that, but I do know that his real name is Gary Anderson. So I’ll say Gary Anderson.”

No one wants your life story, chuckles. The Rich List gets a thumbs down in execution, a thumbs down in potential and thumbs way way way down for longterm. Overall, it receives a kick in the gonads for existing and a pat on the head for trying.

If this is what passes for entertainment these days, I will pray to the holy Sarah-Marie for Big Brother to start up again soon. And then I’ll set fire to my feet, and melt them into puddles of skin and feet goo and then drink it and die.

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