Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Show Me The Channel Changer!

If nothing else, Show Me The Money (which debuted on ABC tonight at 10pm) is environmentally sound, since it's made of 100% recycled elements. We'll get to that in a moment.

The rules and gameplay are pretty convoluted, although it's not that hard to follow if you're paying attention: you are given the opening word or phrase of a possible question, and you have to choose one of three questions blind. You can pass on two questions, but if you do, you are required to give an answer to the third. Then, after "locking in" your answer, you have to choose a dollar amount from one of thirteen dancers. While the totals could add up to $1 million, thirteen is an appropriate number, because one dancer is holding a sort of "whammy" card that takes away everything you earned so far if you don't answer correctly, and then you have to answer a "sudden death" question to stay in the game. Otherwise, if you answer correctly, the dollar amount is added to your total; if not, it's taken away from your total. You have to keep playing until you either get five correct answers or five wrong answers.

As I mentioned, you'd be hard pressed to find a single original idea in this program. The title, of course, is a movie catchphrase connected with absolutely nobody you see on the screen at any time; Cuba Gooding Jr. obviously came down with a case of good taste when this was presented to him. The gorgeous women (and yes, the dancers do have poles available to them at all times) and the dramatic set dressing are a direct swipe from Deal or No Deal. There's a touch of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire because of a quiz element, and the host's "Are you locking in?" request is a blatant "Is that your final answer?" ripoff. The money deduction for wrong answers feels too much like Jeopardy. As for the dancer who takes all your money away (life imitates art for some of you, I'm sure), I'm trying to decide if that's more of a Press Your Luck swipe or the Bankrupt option on Wheel of Fortune. It's all so depressingly familiar, even if you have a better chance of walking away with big money than on DOND. Your host is William Shatner, and dammit, of all the times for him to stop with the overacting, this was the worst possible moment. This program cries out for a double serving of ham, Bill. It's down to you.

In summary: What an awful show. What an awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, awful, AWWWWWWWWWWWWWFUL show. It's the laziest type of bad television, a Frankenstein monster strung together from pieces of more successful shows, as if the producers couldn't choose a gameshow trend to jump on, so they decided to use them all. They'd have to try harder to be unambitious. The only reason I watched any of it is because I assume this show will be gone in a few weeks, to make room for Full Contact Roller Derby With the B-List Stars, or whatever desperation move ABC tries to whip on us next.

A note to west coasters: John Laroquette is on House tonight. If you want to gawk at the car wreck, there will still be an hour available after Doctor House gets through risking a patient's life. Make the right choice.

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