I'm Sorry, The Correct
Answer is GET OUT! - January 25
As a game show geek,
whenever a new show premieres I get excited. I can't
help it; it just happens. Sometimes the payoff is
greater than the wait (Idiot Savants, Millionaire) and
sometimes it isn't (Friend or Foe, Twenty-One).
Discovery Channel's "Cash Cab" is worth the wait, even
though it's been out for several weeks by now.
The game is simple and unpretentious: answer questions
until you reach the destination or you get three wrong.
The 'shout out' provision is very "Millionaire"
inspired, but that's OK, several shows have 'helping
hand' type things now. The "Red Light Challenge" and
"Video Bonus" more than make up for it. There aren't any
complicated rules, it's just
question-answer-question-answer-get out. No bizarre
equation to determine how much the next question is
worth; they start at $25 for four, then go to $50 for
four, and finally go up to $100. That's it. Three wrong
and your rump is on the curb. It's as easy as that. No
second chances, no public vote to put you back in the
game. Simple is better here.
And I can't in good
conscience write this without mentioning the great light
show that goes off when someone enters the cab.
Ben Bailey also gets a tip
of the hat as host; driving around New York City with
that earpiece in there, chatting with the contestants
and keeping the game flowing. I doubt that the
contestants just 'happened' upon the Cash Cab, and that
they leave with all those greenbacks, but that's not
important, it's a fun way to pass a half hour.
I hope that "Cash Cab" takes game shows back to a bygone
era - one where money wasn't used as a crutch to prop up
a weak game. When drama was in the game, and could be
present when there were only a few thousand dollars on
offer, and the excitement was real, not forced. I would
welcome more game shows that have an interesting premise
at the core, and don't rely on wacky stunts, voting out
people, or debasing of the players.
If you want to take a trip
back in time to the good old days of game shows, hop in
the "Cash Cab." You'll enjoy it. If not, that's your
Travis Eberle drives a beat-up Chevy Caprice. E-mail
him at firstname.lastname@example.org to poke fun at his ride.