The Chair (2002– )

TV Series  |   |  Family, Game-Show
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 11 users  
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Host John McEnroe offers players the chance to win up to $250,000 by answering a series of seven questions. A player's heart rate is continuously monitored, and if it goes above a certain ... See full summary »

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Cast overview:


Host John McEnroe offers players the chance to win up to $250,000 by answering a series of seven questions. A player's heart rate is continuously monitored, and if it goes above a certain threshold ("redlining"), he starts losing money and cannot answer until it slows down again. As the game progresses, the stakes and redline penalties increase; also, McEnroe may set off a surprise or two to force the player's heart rate up. Written by Alan Back (

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non fiction | See All (1) »


Family | Game-Show



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Release Date:

15 January 2002 (USA)  »

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Referenced in Robin Williams: Live on Broadway (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

"THE CHAIR" is an unimpressive game show that couldn't move faster even if a fire was lit under it.
24 January 2002 | by (Providence, Rhode Island) – See all my reviews

John McEnroe hosts this shameless game show where contestants are compelled to sit in a chair and answer questions correctly while hooked up to a heart-rate machine that determines the outcome of their cash prize.

Each contestant is medically tested before entering 'the Chair'. They are given a limit in which to keep their heart rate under. If their heart rate goes higher than the limit, they cannot answer the question while at the same time, their money pot drops by the hundreds. Keeping your heart rate below the limit gives you the opportunity to answer the question correctly. And after all this, if you give an incorrect answer, the game is over!

The problem with this show is that it is too boring and extremely slow-moving. John McEnroe has about as much enthusiasm playing the host as a 2-year old would watching a Woody Allen movie. The contestants spend on average, nearly 15 minutes in the 'Chair' trying to keep their heart rate down so they can answer the question (usually very easy ones too), and when they finally do answer, they get it wrong and the game is over and you're thinking, "Geez.. all that for nothing?!?!" Actually, the contestant usually walks away with about $10,000.00 on average which isn't bad - but for a game show in the 2000's, that really isn't a high denomination to get excited over.

To pump 'thrills' into the show, each contestant experiences a 'heart stopper' during their questioning. The 'heart stopper' usually consists of flames shooting out from the sides, a pendulum swinging through the air in a shower of sparks while loud sirens go off. The 'heart stopper' is intended to give the contestant a 'scare' so that their heart rate will go off the charts to make it harder for them to maintain a satisfying rate in order to answer the question properly. Unfortunately, the 'heart stopper' comes off more as a 'heart fizzler' as most of the contestants seem to be unphased by all of this.

One big problem I have with "THE CHAIR" is that the cash pot drops too extensively while the contestant tries to control their heart rate. A contestant can lose nearly $20,000.00 in a matter of minutes, ensuring that they will either leave the studio with a very small amount of money or nothing at all.

The only 'thrills' I witnessed while watching "THE CHAIR" was seeing footage of the contestants before the show, filling out forms while being scared with a 'tarantula on a string' or jumping in shock as squibs explode around their table. They would make great footage for a few minutes of 'CANDID CAMERA" out-takes as they are incredibly hilarious. But other than that, "THE CHAIR" is nothing more than one big yawn.

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