Take It All Is The Cruelest Game Show Ever and Why Howie Mandel Should Stick To Judging Cute Dogs or Go Back To Canada

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This post isn’t directly related to marketing, but it does involve human emotion and many of the worst character traits that drive businesses into the ground. Business should be about creating value, giving to others in exchange for compensation. When a business or TV Show fails to create value, but rather insists on taking peoples money, they will eventually crash and burn like a con or a scam. Value creation is at the root of all successful businesses, and my goal with this blog is to create value for marketers and businesses. I apologize if this post is off on a tangent, but someone needs to call the new Game Show TAKE IT ALL and HOWIE MANDEL for what they are… cruel and unusual punishment.

Take It All, a new gameshow that aired tonight for the first time, hosted by Howie Mandel left me wanting to throw my Television in the garbage. Most game shows are happy, fun loving entertainment that sell us the Dream. The fantasy of winning all that money. Most revolve around luck and are tons of fun to watch. However, some game shows try their best to exploit peoples greed and truly showcase the worst mankind has to offer. Howie Mandel, who once hosted one such game Called Deal or No Deal, which had contestants competing against their own greed was borderline entertaining.

Did you ever wonder why Curb Your Enthusiasm, one of the most brilliant comedies ever written is so painful to watch? Because nothing good ever happens. Seeing Larry David constantly make a fool of himself is quite entertaining, but who has the stomach to watch it for a half hour. Show me a clip or two and I’ll laugh, show me an entire show and I feel like a cruel person, laughing at others misfortune and wishing I never feel that embarrassed.

Take It all is a game where contestants have to guess which of 5 prizes is worth the most money. Each contestant gets to either take a mystery prize, or take one from their competitors, and the person with the least valuable prize loses… This is actually somewhat enjoyable as you guess with the contestants about which prize is worth the most… Hint: It’s usually the prize you think is worth the least.

Where the show gets ugly is the final round, where the final two remaining contestants have their prizes for the last 3 rounds, which total around $75k, and than choose a mystery cash amount between $25k and $250k, and are left with a fight to the end choice. One I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy and which makes you feel like the contestants are rats in a lab being cruelly experimented on to see who is more greedy.

Here is how it goes… You have two choices, you can either keep your prize or choose take it all. If both players choose to keep their prize, they go home with their $100k+ of prizes. However, if one player chooses to take it all, and the other chooses to keep his prizes, the contestant who chose to take it all, takes both of their prizes… The cruel part is the final choice, which is if both players choose to take it all, they both lose all their prizes…

This leaves the contestants trying to convince each other to not be greedy and just take their prize. It really boils down to who trusts who. In fact, the very purpose of this round is to show that the person who is a better liar, a better confidence man or woman, wins it all. What’s truly messed up about this is how much it exploits human weakness.

1. If people are inherently good and decent, they can both walk away with life changing prizes.

2, If people are inherently greedy, than they both walk away empty handed, caught red handed with their hand in the cookie jar.

3.However, if one person is good and trusting and the other person is greedy and untrusting, the evil person takes all the goodies from the good person.

In other words, this game rewards the greedy person who has no faith in others to the point they would risk everything to exploit someone else, or who feels confident they can out-con the other person.

I literally have never walked away from a Television show more disgusted. I don’t want to see a sweet nice school teacher talking about how her ill gotten gains will be used for books for her classroom take advantage of a non-greedy, trusting human being… but not just take advantage, rejoice in the others demise. It’s not good enough to get $100k, you need $400k to be happy, and you need to trample on someone else to feel victorious.

I hope the creators of this show get banned from ever interacting with human beings, and I hope all marketers take a lesson from this show that exploiting and showcasing the worst mankind has to offer is not entertainment, it is cruelty. Cruel to the contestants, Cruel to the Audience, and just pure evil.

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $15,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

Comments

  1. “Show me a clip or two and I’ll laugh, show me an entire show and I feel like a cruel person, laughing at others misfortune and wishing I never feel that embarrassed.”

    This is how the tryouts for American Idol make me feel.  I inevitably end up thinking, “Does no one in this person’s life love them enough to stop them from losing every shred of dignity they’ve ever had by embarrassing themselves in front of millions of people?!?” It’s painful to watch.

    • DavidMelamed says:

      Hi Alysson, Thanks for the comment…I know exactly what you mean. Although with Idol tryouts, or any contest that revolves around talent, I can understand the desire for your 15 minutes of fame, crazy? Definitely. But if you think about it, most people just want to feel important, and would do crazy things to get noticed, just look at all Bravo shows. On idol there are feel good moments as well, when people win, so I can suffer through others humiliation… On Curb your enthusiasm, it is one misunderstanding after another until it is just painful to watch. 

  2. “I literally have never walked away from a Television show more disgusted. I don’t want to see a sweet nice school teacher talking about how her ill gotten gains will be used for books for her classroom take advantage of a non-greedy, trusting human being… but not just take advantage, rejoice in the others demise. It’s not good enough to get $100k, you need $400k to be happy, and you need to trample on someone else to feel victorious.”

    P.S. this is the American culture of greed… it’s an existential crisis born of a decades-long propaganda campaign that has cast those willing to profit by any means necessary as a “model of American success and ingenuity”.  

    The people who enjoy this show are the same people who worship vulture capitalists and CEOs for driving a company off a cliff, smiling as they yank the rip cord on their golden parachutes and floating away… watching the middle class plummet to their proverbial deaths.  

    And I’m sure the show will be a success.  Avarice is as American as apple pie.

    • DavidMelamed says:

      I agree its mostly greed. But this goes deeper. In real life, sometimes greed pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. This show specifically rewards greed and selfishness and punishes generosity. 

      I think the show will fail. It just doesnt have any feel good moments… you arent happy for the winner, you are sad for the loser… a show that leaves you feeling bad, has little chance of success, even if our culture reflects this very behavior… ( I choose to still have faith in people… after all, one proven way to succeed is to underpromise and over deliver because everyone else will want to work with you to get the best deal… in other words, this very culture has a built in function that rewards selflessness.

  3. DavidMelamed says:

    I agree its mostly greed. But this goes deeper. In real life, sometimes greed pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. This show specifically rewards greed and selfishness and punishes generosity. 

    I think the show will fail. It just doesnt have any feel good moments… you arent happy for the winner, you are sad for the loser… a show that leaves you feeling bad, has little chance of success, even if our culture reflects this very behavior… ( I choose to still have faith in people… after all, one proven way to succeed is to underpromise and over deliver because everyone else will want to work with you to get the best deal… in other words, this very culture has a built in function that rewards selflessness. 

  4. I saw the episode on Tuesday night, and I felt the same way. It turned my stomach to see one contestant talk about volunteering in Haiti and the other talk about his sister with cancer and both of them agree that $100K in prizes was good enough–the woman even telling the young man she had grown to like and respect him, only for both of these greedy jerks to choose “Take it All.” I was glad they both got nothing after that. Choosing “Take It All” means the other contestant walks away with nothing, no matter what they chose to do. It’s disgusting. I’ll never watch it again.

    • DavidMelamed says:

      thanks for commenting on my blog Jaclyn. I never thought about it that way, but you are absolutely right choosing Take It All, means the other contestant gets nothing no matter what. Great insight, and I really hope they cancel the show… 

  5. Its brilliant feel bad TV. They do a great job of capturing that “my girl ran off with my brother,, took all my cash and stole my dog” feeling. It does not seem staged .. so it’s gonna do well until somebody ends up dead in the alley behind the studio.

  6. My husband and I watched this show and were appalled at the blatant cruelty it represents. We also will never watch it or anything else that Howie Mandel hosts. We really enjoyed America’s Got Talent, but will no longer watch that either. It amazed me that he laughs at the loser. He actually enjoyed the nation wide humiliation that the trusting and good contestants endure. The look on the face of the young gay man that was going to use his winnings to help stop bullying was so sad to watch. Every time we think if it, it sickens us. Words hurt. This experience could cause life time depression and damage. Shame on Howie and NBC. This is not entertainment! What a sad message to our children and society.

  7. Take It All? Ha, this is a decent, though paltry example of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, but I really think they should name the show “Sucker or Evil”, once the psyche of typical contestants realize what’s going on (as in other trust-based game shows like Survivor).

    They should add a “You are going to screw me aren’t you?” option where if you don’t trust somebody, you have *some* recourse. If you *know* the fscker is going to screw you, the best you can do is get nothing. Ala, a third option to thwart the evil person. e.g. Contestant #1 chooses take it all (or whatever), Contestant #2 chooses “Screw you”: contestant #2 gets everything. Contestant #1 chooses keep what I have (or whatever it’s called), Contestant #2 chooses “Screw you”: Contestant #1 gets everything. Both screw you? Both lose it all. This would at least allow some defense against scum and still at least have the possibility of reward. Why am I posting this? (In multiple places, no less)

  8. Take A Hike says:

    I saw Take It All for the first time tonight and found dead the outcome upsetting when one woman took it all. Decided to Google Take it all and cruel and this site came up. Glad to see others see the show the same way. Won’t watch again as it made me feel uncomfortable the way the older woman tricked the the young girl who was trusting her.

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