Sunday, 31 January 2010

Deal Or No Deal?

I watched this show religiously when it first hit our TV screens for about one year... it formed my daily afternoon to evening TV routine: Countdown, Deal or No Deal, Weakest Link, Dinner, Friends and then the E4 9pm Drama... yes, completely sad.

What made me watch this show was its pure simplicity. You have 22 boxes, each with a different sum of money, and each time, one person with their box is selected to play, and they knock out the other boxes one by one... after each round (of 3 boxes), they get an offer from a "banker". Accepting the offer, the player plays on trying to beat the banker by getting a better deal than what was in their box. Declining the offer, the player continues and tries to get the highest sum of money possible.

The box sums range from 1p all the way to £250,000. There have been a few £250,000 winners, and a much larger group of 1p winners. As the viewer, what makes it so intriguing is how they play the game; how they steer their way to the max sum possible. Of course, not everyone selected to play will have the £250,000 in their box, and thus will never get that sum. However, they can get pretty close by making wise choices. What wise choices? The only choices they CAN make throughout the game is:

1) Who to pick and which box to open.
2) Whether to deal or no deal

Let's face it. No 1 is pure random, and it doesn't matter who has which box, and for all we care, they could just be boxes, or even just a screen, and we poke the boxes one by one within a few seconds and have ourselves a winning sum. (This is pretty much how the DS version of the game plays out). The only thing the players have control over is whether to deal or no deal. FACT. So, for me, the most intriguing thing is how they can choose NOT to deal, when they're offered immense sums such as £30,000+ and they would risk all that for a greater amount. Yes, I'm sure many WOULD, but it IS a gamble. Through the way the show is set out, the money doesn't feel REAL, its just numbers on a board, but it IS real money and the psychological implications of such a game is really quite interesting.

However, what sets this show back is the large amount of bull that is said on it. Like I said, the show could end within 10 minutes. All it is is basically one person selecting boxes and so on... but Mr Noel Edmonds, dragging the show on and on and on... I don't dislike the guy and he's not the one behind the show format, but seriously, too much crap. It doesn't matter whether the BOX opener thinks it is a high or low box, nor does it help to cheer the contestant on. It's all chance.

Now, I've not been a contestant, so I cannot talk about the backstage-ness of the show, and how contestants are treated, nor what goes on in the "supposed" hotel they stay in and whether or not they have to pay for themselves. Speculation is that they DO have to pay for it themselves?! Regardless, you have to audition... and be selected. Yes, I see they need to have a range of demographics, and also to make the show more interesting... so charismatic people and so on... but perhaps also if you are more susceptible to their "scheme of things"? Read on.

The show is staged. IT is NOT completely random. Firstly, the contestant selected to play is NOT chosen at random. Seriously, do they think we're DUMB!? It seems miraculous that the chosen contestants' family and or friends and or spouse is there at the right time when they're chosen... call it coincidence? I think not. Secondly, the boxes. Apparently the sums are sealed by an independent adjudicator and only he/she knows what are in the boxes... hmm... I can believe that. I can also believe that the banker does not know what are in the boxes... Can I really? Let's just say he IS in the dark about it. The show needs to maintain some sort of threshold so they don't LOSE money, so let's just say the way the banker offers is down to pure economic evil. I do believe though, that the way the boxes end on the table come in "waves", and depends on the recent sum of money that has left. For example, if the show lost £250,000 on Monday, the subsequent days' box sum on the table will be significantly less. They cannot KEEP having the same box on the table. Therefore, the selection process of WHO ends up being the contestant is highly related to the amount in their box. Well, that's my theory.

So to sum up, Yes it's an ok show to watch in the background, but the amount of flaws and patronisation that exists in the show is a strong deterrent. However they try to "spruce" things up, whether it is they are wearing weird clothes, or special Easter eggs, or extra calls from the banker, the show stripped of all this, is simply flawed.

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