OM NOM NOM
I will generally give a
series two episodes to grab my attention, or to do something so
offensive that I will swear it off. With the programming hole left by
I Love Money, VH1 goes back to the competitive reality genre, hoping
to score a hit with Money Hungry.
The short sell is that twelve teams of two people have each paid $10,000
into a prize fund to compete on the show. The team that survives to the
end will win $100,000 and the runners-up will get their entry fee back.
The other ten teams are out of luck. The theory is that the teams will
be more likely to work hard to lose weight if their own (or their
sponsor's money) is actually on the line.
So far, so OK. The catch is that all twenty-four entrants are all
overweight, so you essentially have a Biggest Loser tontine. For
the first episode, the one team that lost the least percentage of weight
would be the ones going home, and this would have been OK, as the game
would be purely of merit, but that was out the window with the second
Part two introduced a competition to win. The winners of the competition
are immune from leaving, and they get to put up one team to leave the
game, and they get to bequeath immunity to another team. The other team
on the block is the one that the majority of the other teams vote for.
The game goes from one about pure weight loss to one of campaigning and
being popular and winning competitions. Dan Cortese is your host in need
of a gig, and he's merely OK. There's a medical technician on hand as
well as a trainer to keep the teams focused.
What I find most reprehensible about the whole exercise is that VH1 had
a chance to do something off the beaten path. Sure, everyone and their
dog has done the weight loss show to death since the popularity of The
Biggest Loser, and the buy-in angle is interesting, but when the
game suddenly became about forging alliances and promising protection,
it became Big Brother: Fat Camp and I quit caring because I've
seen it all before.
In a perfect world, VH-1 would be showing videos and actual content that
pertains to music, and not permutations of The Bachelor, and
Survivor and I Love the (Decade) and everything else that is
annoying about VH-1 and MTV. If enough people send the message that
we're tired of seeing all of these carbon copies, eventually they'll
stop doing this, and go back to music. So, I say, game show fans, send
that message, do not watch Money Hungry. You can wait it out for
the next series of The Biggest Loser anyway.
Travis Eberle could stand to lose a few pounds, but isn't willing to
open his wallet to do so. Prod him to spend a couple bucks by sending an
e-mail to email@example.com