"The Hook..." -
small-town girl from an all-American family, but she's
living a lie."
Welcome to "The $25
Million Dollar Hoax", the biggest lie perpetrated by
reality TV since "Joe Millionaire." The setup: Chrissy
Sanford has just "won" $5 million, but she must spend
all of the money on herself, and nothing on her family.
She has five days to fool them all, and if she's
successful, her family will win $400,000 in cash and
And refereeing it all,
Ed McMahon ("Star Search") and George Gray ("Weakest
Link", "I'll Do Anything"). Lo, how the mighty have
The story begins
literally in the middle of nowhere. With a big wheel,
and George earning some overtime (hey, a presenter's
gotta eat, too). The bad news: you're going to have to
lie to your family. The good news: you're going to win
$5 million. The WORSE news: it's totally fake.
The mission: to convince
the family that she has won $5 million on the internet
lottery: theBigWin.net. The site itself is real, but it
was only set up by NBC to further the ruse. On the final
day, Chrissy will spin the big wheel for big money, none
of which actually exists. The wheel will be rigged to
stop at $25 million. Everyone's going to go nuts, but at
that time, Chrissy will have to come clean and tell
everyone that it's all a big lie.
The rules: You have to
spend the money on yourself and yourself ONLY; if anyone
finds out about the hoax, she loses; and every member of
her family must cheer her on at the end.
Cruel, yes... but she
goes through with it. After all, you don't have much of
a series unless you do.
And here comes Ed
McMahon with a giant novelty check, but where's Chrissy?
There's Lois (mom), Guy (dad), ... oh, THERE's Chrissy,
still unexpectedly nervous of the whole operation. Also
present is Phillip (brother), Eric (other brother),
Holly (Eric's girlfriend), Matthew (other brother), Paul
(other brother), Andrew (other brother), and David
(other brother). All have lofty ambitions for the money
and all are expecting to be set for life. If they only
knew... Especially given that Chrissy had some instant
doubts about the hoax.
Okay, so David isn't
here. He's in Sacramento on a business trip, but he took
the next plane out to be with his sister. So now the
plan is set into motion: the family will be whisked away
to a five-star resort in Palm Springs for five days. At
the end, Chrissy will spin the big wheel for $25 million
out of a possible $50 million. And with that, they agree
to be filmed for the next week "for promos for
theBigWin.net". "Point, click, and win big!"
Jet ride... everyone's
not really ready, but will they be ready... for the $25
million hoax? The next stop, their posh resort. And
posh, really, is an understatement. We're talking baby
grand, mahogany walls, individual rooms for everyone.
And, of course, Chrissy's suite is the biggest, with
chocolate, flowers, and a mini-bar... Nice. "This is
gonna be sick." Got that right. The happier they got,
the harder it got for Chrissy to take the secret.
"Well, you know
everything's gonna be all right, when we go shopping."
-Steven Page, Barenaked Ladies.
TheBigWin.net has given
Chrissy a $5,000,000 credit card. The card itself is
fake, but don't tell that to the family. The stylist is
on hand to make sure that Chrissy makes the change from
sweet girl to materialistic snob. It's her job, anyway.
She's actually a paid actress. Her job is also to
belittle Holly and Lois while she's out with Chrissy.
"Holly, bless her heart, said that I'd like to tell her
to take those clothes and shove'em up her (^_^)."
Success. Among Chrissy's purchases... a dress that is
somewhere in J-Lo's closet, some pirate joint, nice
tight booty skirt, and leggings? What the hell? Lois,
being the proper mother, was supportive all the way. She
ends up taking everything... Total: $16,289.65, or what
I make in about half a year. That's on herself. On her
And Lois and Holly let
their true feelings show on the car ride home. "She had
forgotten where she came from. Take your clothes and
shove him, I'm going to Wal-Mart."
Next, the boys at the
toy store... a car dealership. Imagine a Hummer, a
Cadillac convertible, and other high-roller cars.
Helping out is Dan, another paid actor. Chrissy tells
him about the money she won, and about the Hummer in the
corner. She ends up taking the Hummer to a test track...
and takes the big boy home... for herself. In the end,
Chrissy promises to take Guy out to look at used
Cadillacs. The rest of the guys call a Drew Carey.
That's right. B. S. Eric: "She looks at me and goes 'You
hate me right now.' And I look at her and go... 'Yeah.'"
Chrissy is in the
negotiating room adding extras that she doesn't intend
on using. "The thing's got 400 horsepower already. You
need to add more? For what? Are we towing a building?"
In the end, the war machine set Chrissy back over
$81,000, giving her a day 2 total of almost $100,000.
And it will only get worse. "As fun as it might have
sounded... it was sickening."
Back at the resort, the
family shares stories of the day. Them comes the
millionaire heiress dinner... without Chrissy. She wants
to see the producers as she is reaching her breaking
point. "It is so unbelievably hard to look your mom and
dad in the eye. My dad would not do this to me, and I'm
doing this to him! And I shouldn't be doing this to him!
I don't know if I can do this! Is my family's trust and
love worth it? I honestly don't think I could do this
"I'm already so deep
into this web of lies that if I told them now, they'd be
more disappointed in me for not following through. Those
reactions are real, but the position is fake! I just
need to finish it out and end it the right way. See what
tomorrow brings and try to have fun with it."
And the spending has
only begun. The good news: only two more episodes to go.
The bad news: still two more episodes to go. Why, NBC...