Monday, 24 August 2009

Oh, the drama...

Bereft of company during the day, I often cave in at lunchtime and switch on the TV. It is a big mistake, of course, because the quality of British Daytime TV has a rather depressing effect. I start 'lunch hour' feeling a little lonely and end it feeling lonely, depressed and at a loss with the state of the UK.

Every day I make a decision not to get dragged down by the lunchtime news. Every day I watch a game show instead and end up feeling worse. If I watch TV just to have another human being 'in my living room' for a short while, then I'm not very good at choosing my company.

Anyhoo, I have added one more bad habit to break to my loooong list of bad habits. And that habit is watching "For the rest of your life" (FTROYL) with Nicky Campbell. It. Is. Dire. And I cannot help but watch it.

It's yet another game show (along with the new 'Golden Balls' hosted by Jasper Carrott, and the old and ever present 'Deal or no Deal' hosted by Noel Edmonds) where the contestant's triumph or failure at winning a large sum of money is based on a teensy bit of strategy, but mainly on total chance. And maybe even then the 'strategy' part is a complete illusion. Pick the right number and the audience of complete strangers goes wild. Pick the wrong number and the audience emit an audible and protracted groan.

In FTROYL, there is the added bonus of blame, because you play the game with your other half. Oo, nasty. The game is simple - the contestants pick one of three envelopes to determine the cash value they are playing with. There is a central play area with lit circles on the floor, next to steel tubes containing either a red light or a white light. In short, white lights: good, red lights: groooaaaaannnnn baaaaaadddddd.

In the first round, one partner picks the number and the other extracts the light from the tube. Every white light they hit gives them a multiplier of their initial cash value, and every red light sends them back down the ladder. Hit all red lights and you are out of the game. Hit the fourth step on the ladder and you go on to play for time. The value you reach at the end of this round is the amount you will receive each month depending on how you fare in round two.

In the second round, one of the partners is sent to an ISOLATION CHAMBER (oooo, recoil in fear) whilst the other makes all of the decisions. The person in the ISOLATION CHAMBER can see all of the statistics, how much they could win and the percentages of hitting a red or a white (but seriously, it's not rocket science). After every white light is pulled, both the person out on the floor and the person in the ISOLATION CHAMBER can choose whether to stick or continue. The amount that they win depends on who sticks first, or whether either of them stick at all (which means that if you stick early and your partner goes on to win 10 more years of payouts, you go home with the lower payout and end up in the doghouse For The Rest Of Your Life).

The maximum length of time that you can receive the monthly payout is 40 years, hence the name of the show. Personally I would like to live longer than 79 and would have them up for a breach of trade description...

I love to see people win a large amount of money, but the process of watching them win it is protracted and torturous (which I guess is the whole point). In addition to the somewhat deluded audience trying to change the colour of the light by chanting "White! White! White! White!" before the light is pulled, Nicky Campbell is an absolute master at making something out of nothing. "Okay, move to number six. Place your hand on the tube....... Are you sure that you are happy with number six? ("yes I am") Okay, now just remember here... you only have two red lights left. If you pull a red light, you lose over a thousand pounds and move back down to 6 months. And then you have to play on. Remember that you cannot stick on a red light. Pick a white light and you move up to 2 years......... You still have 7 white lights left on the board and that will still get you to 15 years. If. You. Pick... the white lights... Still happy with number six? ("Yes I am") Would you like me to cross my fingers again for you? ("Yes please") Okay, then Sandra, please pull out the light for number six"

I guess without Nicky Campbell protracting every single bloody light, the show would last no longer than 10 minutes. But honestly.

And then of course when the game on the floor is finished, the player watches each decision that their partner made whilst in the ISOLATION CHAMBER. In one game last week, a guy won a total of £168,000... but his girlfriend who was stuck in the ISOLATION CHAMBER took fright and stuck at £32,000. I bet the atmosphere on the way home was a tad frosty.

The whole game is completely out of proportion. The contestants are relying on winning a large sum so that their lives may be changed. But what is £420 going to be worth in 40 years time?

So I sit and I watch and I roll my eyes. Not this again. Oh just pull the bloody light. Oh Nicky stop being such a ruddy drama queen - anyone would think that lives were at stake. Who watches this crap?

Well, me, obviously.


  1. If it is confession time I am sometimes reduced to watching re-runs of The Jeremy Kyle Show just for a bit of company during the day. My habit is worse than yours.

  2. I love Deal or No Deal.
    And that is all I'm admitting to.

  3. Wow - thank you for sharing your guilty secrets with me. And both such intelligent people too. I feel so much better about myself - blogging really is the best therapy... x