There was a moment during last night’s launch of the game show event Duel when the host was doing one of these explain-the-set-up, discuss-the-obvious-situation, drag-out-the-time-with-pauses maneuvers that defines the modern prime time game show, and one of the contestants shouted out “just ask the question already!”

And the studio audience cheered.

Perhaps we’re finally reaching a tipping point, a time where the audience actually is tired of the careful lack of content on these shows. Maybe they’ll start putting fewer slow-burn-to-commercial feints and more quetions. It would be nice. Particularly for something like Duel, a quiz game with an interesting dynamic (some form of this as a home game should sell well, and not just as a novelty box), and, better yet, a good range of questions. Almost all of the questions fall into the range where you know you’ve been exposed to the answer, but it still may not come readily to mind.

(Also worth noting is some bigotry running through the show. Now, the show can’t be directly blamed for the contestant who seemed to have some bigoted reasons for thinking specific other contestants would be easy to beat, such as figuring someone from the “‘hood” would be an easier mark — although the fact that the show obviously coaches the contestants to trash-talk encourages it. But who thought it was appropriate to ask a question that linked the Italian flag to two major works of organized crime fiction?)

Published in: on December 18, 2007 at 10:46 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. Some economist, maybe the Freakonomics dude, showed contestants had hidden racism on the Weakest Link. Contestants would dump good black contestants early on when it was to your advantage to keep good contestants. Then in later rounds when you’re down to a few people and it was to your advantage to get rid of the tougher competition they would keep black contestants that had been performing better than the other contestants.

  2. That makes sense (to clarify: that reflects human nature as I understand it, not “that’s the proper way for folks to act”) I wonder what other cues people are reading as intelligence. Are, say, people with glasses assumed to be smarter contestants? (I’ve often found the perceived glasses/intelligence link interesting, and suspect it made sense in the days where the folks most worried about eyesight were the literate, or perhaps it was simply the difference between the ability of those with diagnosed/corrected sight imperfections to deal with data versus those whose eyesight could use correction but did not receive it. But in these days of contacts and lasik, the assumptions would be different.) I bet there’s a lot of accent-based assumptions of intellect as well.

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