Howie Mandel is the host of a new game show called “Take It All,” based on a popular party game.
The basic premise is that you exchange gifts by either picking an unopened one or stealing from someone who has already chosen. It's all in good fun when you play with a lovely group of people, such as my in-laws on Christmas Eve. (Disclosure statement: My wife reads these columns.)
This new show takes the fun and replaces it with greed and outright lying, or as Howie calls it, “strategy.” When only two contestants remain, they are both given the option to leave with the prizes they have accumulated so far or steal from the other finalist and “take it all.”
They meet face to face and are given ample time to discuss what they are going to do. If both players are content to keep their own, each leaves a winner. If they both say “take it all,” they get nothing. The kicker is, if one does the sensible thing and is satisfied with what he has, but the other says “take it all,” the greedy one gets everything and the other goes home empty-handed.
The episode I saw had this sweet, middle-aged woman, tears welling up in her eyes, saying, “I just want to make a better life for my kids.” She tells the other finalist, “I think we should keep what we have.”
Needless to say, the other contestant falls for her sob story and gets screwed over when Mrs. Sincerity opts to “take it all!”
Yes, kids ... there's your lesson on how to become a successful, well-respected member of society. Act sweet and sincere, but lie through your teeth and stab your opponent in the back the first chance you get.
Nice going, Howie. I hope you're proud.
Mike Marin is a cranky curmudgeon who, when he’s not yelling at kids to get off his lawn, likes to complain about the sad state of popular culture, especially as seen through a TV screen. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.