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Angry Amy Hates Angry Amy

You know what makes me angry?!?!?!

How much I love Deal or No Deal! Why on earth does this show make me so happy and keep my attention for so long?! There's not much to it -- basically, I am just watching people gamble for no reason. There is no skill to the game, no knowledge or talent one must exhibit to win. It is just pure, dumb luck. Yet, for some reason, when it is on I can't pull my face away from the television screen. And I must not be the only one, since the show seems to have grown in the past year or so, now appearing in the 5:00 and 6:00 hours, which are normally reserved for reruns of popular half-hour comedies. So what is it about this game show that makes is so successful? In hopes of answering that question I will examine the show in depth.

First of all, Deal or No Deal has the very appealing aspect of "ordinary people" given the chance to make lots of cash. One would think that this costly feature of the show would leave it hemorrhaging money left and right. However, by taking your average Joe and putting him on TV the production costs are significantly lower than your average program. This is what reality TV figured out a long long time ago. Also, even though Americans don't like seeing ugly "normies" on their serial programs, with game shows it actually makes the contestants more relate-able. If that uggo can win a lot of money, so can I! And viewers are always attracted to high stakes games. That is why The Price is Right and Who Wants to be a Millionaire go over so well.

Second, Deal or No Deal is fast-paced. Okay, yes Howie does that annoying thing where he thinks that he is constantly psyching you out by saying, "Open the case...right after the break," and sometimes it gets boring when they try to introduce the player's family and friends, but for the most part the game goes fairly quickly. Unlike Celebrity Poker, aka the most grueling television experience of your life, this game of chance does not require a whole lot of thinking time since there really is no strategy. And you have to appreciate a host that keeps things moving.

Speaking of hosts, Howie Mandel is an unlikely but amazingly good D-list celebrity to guide we viewers through our ups and downs of excitement as we route for the contestant. Howie has mysophobia (an irrational fear of germs) so he refuses to shake hands with anyone. Knowing this about him makes the show even more interesting, as I try to catch him breaking his irrational germ rules about touching other people. So far, I have seen him give hugs and fist bumps, but no full-on handshakes to my knowledge.

Finally, Deal or No Deal is unusual for a game show because it actually has a bad guy. That blasted banker is always trying to screw the players out of money! Why can't he just leave them alone and let them play the game? I think it is a brilliant strategy to have a villain who seemingly withholds money and has to be outsmarted by the luck of the contestants. At first, I really hated those one-sided phone calls that we had to listen to between Howie and the banker, but now I kind of appreciate it, because I want to know what that awful, money-hungry number-cruncher is going to say to try to discourage the player!

Well, there it is, folks. I have laid it all out on the table. I am a self-hating dork, who loves guilty pleasure TV shows. Please don't judge me harshly, as I am already judging myself. And that's what makes me angry!

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  1. Blogger Papa Thor | 7:40 AM |  

    There is no strategy the way the contestants play it, but the show does demonstrate some very simple game theory: marginal value vs expected value.
    And those of us who remember Howie as Dr. Ficus or his manic stand-up routine are entranced by his game show appearances. I expect him to put a surgical glove over his head at any moment.
    Mmm, pretty boring comment, but what do you want at 7:30 in the morning?

  2. Blogger Jess | 2:26 PM |  

    I feel addicted to this show as well! Once I start watching it, its like I have to see it till it ends. I start off on the sides of the contestants until they get offered (by banker)crap loads of money then turn it down time after time. Its like I feel the greedy side of people come out when they dont take the large amt that is offerred by the banker with no risk of losing it cause they want more, but yet that banker amt is more then they had before they started playing the game. So towards the end of the show I find myself wanting the contestant to lose...

  3. Blogger qualler | 2:30 PM |  

    Haha, I like how you're just now angry about DoND, Amy. I enjoy.

    Jess, I agree with you that I find that I want contestants to lose it all when they get greedy! If I were a contestant, the moment I got my pot to something over $10,000, I'd take the deal ASAP. Of course, that would make me a bad contestant for TV purposes.

  4. Blogger Papa Thor | 3:08 PM |  

    The rule is this: Calculate the average of what is left unopened, the banker always offers less than that, so go to the next rule: if after the next set of guesses all are worst case then if the highest is less than the bankers offer, then take the offer, or if offer is better than average of potential outcomes after next set of guesses, also determine your own minimum: risking $1 to get $5 is not the same as risking $100,000 to get $500,000.
    ex: $1,000,000; $200,000; $1,000; $5,00 left, one guess next turn, banker offers $198,000: take it you moron! (note I am now fully awake)

  5. Blogger qualler | 3:14 PM |  

    Sounds to me like you could do some excellent card-counting, Papa Thor! They should make a movie based on your card counting skill and have the part of you played by Kevin Spacey.

  6. Blogger Lady Amy | 3:20 PM |  

    I think they should make a Deal or No Deal MOVIE!!! With Papa Thor counting cases. Hahahhaha.

  7. Blogger Papa Thor | 4:17 PM |  

    Haha, Kevin Spacey would play Howie, ala Lex Luther, with Morgan Freeman as the banker, Russel Crowe playing me now, Taylor Lautner playing me as a kid, plus Johnny Depp playing my nephew Bobby, Clint Eastwood playing my Dad who speaks to me in a dream sequence. If you can get that cast then I'm in. Oh, and we can let Brigitte be one of the briefcase girls.

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