Host Jimmy Carr offers players a chance to win prizes if they can answer some fairly simple questions. The catch is that while he's doing the asking, they have to put up with varied ... See full summary »
Michael Q. Schmidt,
John E. Conner
Easily the most puerile thing on terrestrial television at the moment - the only thing more depressing is that this accolade will soon be stolen by the next piece of `entertainment' that is wheeled out for o
Jimmy Carr hosts the game show where four contestants battle to win £5000 by answering the most general knowledge questions correct. However during each round the contestants must also go through a range of physical and mental distractions that will make it more difficult to concentrate. This show is yet another step on the `cruel tv' treadmill as television continues to try and get viewers by just trying to be as outrageous as it can be.
It was almost out of a morbid curiosity that I returned to this programme despite having bailed out of the first series after only a few episodes. I was rather unsurprised to see that series two continued to plough the rather depressingly dumb furrow that series one had begun in that it is, as it says, a very basic game show that's only value is in the infliction of pain. Let me be honest and say that this is about as dumb and stupid as it sounds; it is based around smut (and not subtle either) and cruelty - to me these are not the sole values I need a show to have to justify watching it. For a game show the questions are absurdly easy almost to the point to be insulting the intelligence of the contestants - however to me they have forfeited the right to be treated with respect by opting to appear on this show.
Mostly the contestants are yobbish, laddish clubber types who are happy to do anything to get on tv for a bit of a `laff'. Most of them seem more focused on screaming the loudest or talking the most and thus being seen than they are about actually winning - 15 to 1 this is not! Befitting the questions and contestants is a host who lacks charisma and is only ever funny when he has a really good line given to him that can survive his poor delivery. Most of Carr's jokes are awful and seem to define the word puerile. I have not seen his act so don't know what he is like but on the basis of this he is an unpleasant man and the only good will I would extend to him would be the granting of a fast death.
Sadly, the show is hypnotic once you start watching it. Each week I told myself I would turn it off for all the reasons above and more, but I couldn't stop. I think we all have that gladiatorial coliseum mentality and it is fixating to see others suffer in a variety of quite inventive ways. Of course after seeing two episodes of people hurting themselves I got tired of it and this minor novelty value gives way to the fact that it isn't clever, entertaining or funny and I switch off. The second series has just started and I doubt very much that it will get beyond a third series. No matter how inventive it tries to be in the dispensing of pain, the audience watching this will watch it to wince, be shocked and so on - once they get jaded they will be off after the next show that can demean people for their entertainment.
I'm honest and will admit that I can see why people stay with the show - once you watch 5 minutes it is hard to look away, partly out of amazement at the pain but also as it is always hard to pass a car wreck without looking. However it is easily the lowest form of entertainment on TV. What is amazing to me is that only a few years ago I saw `cruel' game show begin with Anne Robinson being verbally harsh to contestants, then Shafted did it again and other shows started picking up the `be cruel to get viewers' formula - how sad that it only took a few years for verbal digs at contestants to become full physical beatings. Years ago we used to watch clips of Japanese game shows where they punish contestants and we used to laugh at them - who'd have thought that so few years later we would have done exactly the same load of rubbish.
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