Move over Jane Lynch, there’s a NEW mini-game lesbian in town and that person is the awesome Ellen Degeneres who has bought her talk show mini-games to the big stage and made a format out of them for NBC’s Ellen’s Game of Games.
On each episode (apparent) members of the audience take part in one of four selected games (out of a pool of don’t know). The winner of each game goes through to Know or Go (get the question right or fall thirty feet through a trapdoor), with the ultimate survivor getting a chance to win $100k playing Hot Hands.
It’s probably the closest America has got to something with an Asian variety show vibe, the games are entertaining and if not quite visually spectacular (or indeed especially original – if there’s something Ellen’s games have a habit of being it’s taking something that already exists and only putting a slight spin on it) they certainly throw up their own share of comedy pratfalls and moments, probably the best one in the “sneak-peek” episode just broadcast was the opening one where two people are spun round and race down a platform to pick up a ball so they can answer a question. I thought the least successful was Tuba Toothpaste, where contestants answer Truth or Consequences style difficult questions which when they get wrong mean they have to risk pushing valves on a giant tuba hoping not to get a face full of foam, I wasn’t sure what the questions added.
I’m not sure what to think about the endgame, Hot Hands, it feels like a very sudden way to give away a huge amount of money – thirty seconds to name celebrities in pictures, picture will change as soon as you push the big button to register an answer, picture automatically changes after three seconds, get ten and take home $100,000. I was alerted to the app for this last night and would agree that it’s fun (and for someone like me who is useless as picture quizzes, awesomely tough), but for the amounts of money on offer I think I want to see people being put through the ringer at least a little bit.
I like Ellen, she seems entirely in control (although surprisingly reserved a bit, considering).
You will need to use the Dark Arts to watch this and would suggest it’s an entertaining way to pass an hour.