Let me make one thing clear before we begin, I don’t think this is the best show in the world ever or anything, but I do think it’s quite an interesting idea done fairly well. What we’ve got here is basically the videogame Lemmings as a gameshow and in the main it works quite well. It’s actually not the first time this idea has been done, Endemol have a reality format called Ton of Cash which uses this idea as a main part of the format on a larger although less inventive scale on a weekly basis.
This write-up is based on the show’s broadcast pilot, it has been comissioned for four episodes of two hours in the Spring of 2013 (which is interesting because this show as is is only 75 minutes long). The format is also being sold internationally as a two-team show called Don’t Lose The Money. We’ve seen clips of the US pilot, what they’ve added in competitiveness they’ve lost by taking a fair amount of the strategy in the games out, regrettably, although interestingly the most of the games have the cash loose and not bundled.
Here’s our host Daniel Hartwich, a bit hipster but quite funny. He hosts most of RTL’s biggest shows – their versions of Got Talent, Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celeb, amongst other things. Here in the pre-titles he’s showing us what €500,000 looks like when it crashes to the ground, something our team of contestants will be hoping to avoid happening.
Electro stomper theme tune. Good.
The Cash Crash arena. Futuristic rather than dark I would suggest, although from this angle it does look a little bit like the Millionaire set but elongated a bit.
The team enter the arena, two men and two women.
This is followed by four security guys bringing on the money in a big box. Daniel quickly points out that “it’s not RTL money, it’s real money!”
Each bundle is 100 notes of various denominations of Euros. For example, the ones with the red bands at the back are bundles of 100 €5 notes (i.e. €500) whereas there are a couple of purple bundles of €500 notes (i.e. €50,000. Win those!)
Each game has the same objective – get the notes in the empty box. Anything that drops to the ground, or doesn’t make it to box in time is eliminated. Whatever you’ve kept after seven games is yours as a team to keep.
Game one is Parkett-Pampe (Parquet-Mush, it says here). The money is set up on the large pedestal on the left. One or two contestants will stand by the pedestal passing cash to people currently treading the swamp. The people in the swamp must baqsketball-style shoot the money into the box set up on the right. If a contestant gets tired, the other contestants may swap roles.
But why might they get tired? Because the swamp is made up of non-Newtonian fluid. If you keep moving you can walk on it, but if you stand still you will sink into it and it’s really difficult to pull yourself out. One of the security men is demonstating here.
Before each game Daniel offers them a bit of help by way of an object that will make the game easier. Here he is offering them a silver tray. However, the catch is that there is a price for the tray, and it’s a €500 bundle. Whatsmore, the team can only take up to three of the offered “jokers” across the first six games. The team decline.
For many of the events the team are given a three or four thick elastic bands for free to use as they see fit.
An exciting graphic plays out before each game, allowing for a stop down to distribute the money onto the pedestal and set the contestants up if required.
Tobias Drews will be commentating on all the action. He’s RTL’s resident boxing commentator.
The game in action, the team are opting for a chain style. One contestant is currently standing on the sidelines ready to step in if one gives up, 2:30 is a long time!
Something quite fun is that many of the games have a sort of cold opening, the starting bell will go off towards the end of Daniel doing his final bit to camera.
A minute in and it’s not looking good for the team – a man down completely and another one who has just sunk to his knees. Happily, his shooting skills are excellent.
A fair few bundles on the floor there, but crucially lots in the box including the big money bundles (which are accompanied by a cash register going off).
The end of the game so now a bit of comedy as they try and pull the contestants out of the swamp.
The security guys take the box up stage to Frau Tschon, the notary, who will now count the collected money. This is the chance for some slow-mo shots and reaction from the players.
Counting done, Dr Tschon feeds the information into the computer and we can see that they lost €78,000 in that game leaving them with €422k.
Game two is “Kirsschwankung” which apparently translates to “Exchange Rate Fluctuations”.
Anyway it features four pairs of goggles which the contestants will wear whilst out on the course.
Unfortunately it gives them crazy vision.
And that’s doubly unfortunate, because you might note that the money is precariously balanced on top poles of varying heights and distances.
The joker on offer this round is a shopping bag, for the low, low price of €500. The team opt to take it.
Daniel takes €500 off a pile, being very careful not to knock anything else off. He chucks it to a security guard, “for you!” who hands it to the notary.
She’s miles away, here. Whilst the contestant out on the course has to wear the goggles, her teammates do not and can shout directions. Remember, if it hits the floor it’s out of the game so she must try and be very careful.
The team were told the big money is on the golden pole at the end. Remember, he’s got to get it back to the box or it won’t count!
He does. At ten seconds pips start sounding to warn the team, and the security guys put the lid on at zero.
Not a successful game for them, dropping almost €145k. On the plus side, fewer bundles should be easier to transport in the times allowed.
Game three, Roulette Quartet. Three spinning platforms stand between the money and the box. On the first and thrid platform, the contestant is tied to a stake and has to go round with the wheel (about one revolution every five seconds). The person on the middle platform is just attached to the centre by a cord so has complete freedom to travel on the platform – but must keep moving to stand still.
The team must get the money from the pedestal to the box in chain fashion, and the guy at the end has to throw the money in the box whilst the wheel is moving, making it doubly hard. The joker for this game is a tupperware-style box for the price of €1,000. They decline.
Perhaps surprisngly, a good game for them! They only drop €9,000.
The clear tactic for many games seems to be try it with small bundles until you’ve found the key to the game, then start shifting the larger ones across once you’ve sussed it as a team.
Game four is “Blitz-überweisung” – Lightning Bank Transfers.
The contestant will load trays with cash. She will then balance them on two poles like so.
Two other members will carry the trays under a bar and over a second bar like so, where the final team member awaits, who will unload the money into the box.
And all the time they’re doing that, they’ll be taking electric shocks in a bid to drop the trays. The ones here with handles are jokers, €1,000 for the pair. Expensive trays! But seemingly a decent purchase, they drop just €20,500, leaving them with €247k!
Game five is Hängepartie, and for this they’ve bought a plastic bucket for €2,000.Simply they’re hanging upside down and have to use each other for momentum and also to get the money from one side to the other.
There’s high drama about thirty seconds in when the tall guy cloest to the money can’t get the momentum to swing back to the box, cue lots of panicking from the team as they try and work out the best way to get everyone swinging.
But swing they do, and they even manage to get a full bucket in. The fourth player doesn’t have too hard a job to get the money in the box, it’s almost directly beneath him.
A great effort, only €20k lost from the game.
Last game before the final – Scheine-schleuder (Certificate catapult? There’s probably a banking joke in there somewhere). One contestant bundles them up (choice of when to use elastic bands VITAL in this game) and loads them onto a catapult.
Man jumps on catapult.
The money launches…
And the contestants miss it. Happily in this instance it was just a pile of €500 bundles. They have one catcher between them.
Good tactics from the team though, get into the game before risking all the big bundles banded together with the warning “big bundle!” which they successfully catch.
It looks worse than it is, one €20k bundle and loads of €500 bundles, and after game six they’ve kept €188,000 to take through to the final!
And in the final the contestants are dressed slightly ridiculously. One is wearing waterproofs and a large hand and all covered in glue the least useful in terms of catching money, but the most mobile), the second is wearing large pants (good for catching money, but difficult to walk in), the player in blue is wearing a funnel on his head and has a catching net, and the King is wearing a large funnel, but the crown obscures his vision somewhat.
And this is what it’s all about. Hanging from the ceiling are three tubes and periodically money (now NOT in bundles) will pour out of each one. Simply, the team must catch as much money as they can, because whatever they catch they will keep. It’s quite good fun, but you’ll note how much is strewn across the floor – and if it’s on the floor, it’s out of the game.
Not a game for the claustrophobic! When all the money has been dropped, they go upstage and empty out everything they’ve collected into the box for one last count.
And of the €188k they went into the game with, they caught €43,045 to split between them. Well done them!