Review: Deal or No Deal

Caught my first few episodes of Deal or No Deal over the weekend. WTF? It’s such a bizarre show. I can understand the appeal for certain people – apparently market traders enjoy it because it’s more or less their job (ie guesswork combined with judicious decisions about when to back down) – but for the rest of us?

In case you’ve never watched the UK version, the rules are simple: you have a box, inside of which there is some money (or a sticky label with a number written on it, anyway). Then there are a whole load of other people with boxes, each with money/sticky labels inside. The contestant knows what all the numbers are on the labels, but doesn’t know which boxes they’re in. He or she then gets all bar one of these people to open their boxes in turn. Every so often, the ‘banker’ (for which read ‘a producer reading out numbers coupled with Noel Edmonds improvising dialogue’) rings up and offers an amount of money to the contestant if they’ll stop opening boxes. If you don’t take the money and run, at the end, you get whatever’s in your box .

In case you think you’ve missed something, you haven’t. It’s a game based entirely on random guesswork. I guess it’s like playing the lottery in that it’s just pure chance whether you get any money. In this case, the odds are considerably better. All the same, someone sat down and thought “How about a game show that’s all about opening boxes at random?” Someone Australian at that, since it’s an Australian format – you’d have thought an extrovert nation like that could have come up with something more dynamic, couldn’t you?

Oh well. I guess the thing is it’s gambling and if you’re a gambler (been there, done that, lost the T-shirt off my back), you’ll gamble on almost anything…