I still can’t even figure out what the gameshow Duel is even about, but lucky for me (and us) the Washington Post got to check it out before we did. Even after reading this review I don’t know how the game is played or why it’s a “6-Day Event”, but I know that WaPo writer Tom Shales hated the show and the host Mike Greenberg even more.
Shales on the Gameshow:
“The game is played with $5,000 poker chips placed on circles representing four answers each to a series of questions. These range from “How long does it take light to get from the sun to the Earth?” to, for the deep thinkers in the crowd, “Which celebrity has not been married to a musical artist who has sold a million records?”
Although “Deal or No Deal” requires no knowledge of anything, the game does generate a certain amount of suspense, mainly along the lines of “how dumb will the contestant be?” On a recent edition, a contestant who vowed loudly that she wanted to go “all the way” turned down a guaranteed $101,000 prize on the hope of winning $200,000. The poor fool walked away with only a grand.”
Shales on Mike Greenberg:
On the surface, “Duel” demands a general awareness of the world on the part of the players, but luck has a large role as well. At least Howie Mandel, “Deal’s” host, is able to keep up a sense of tension, however illusory, and inject occasional hilarity. By depressing contrast, Mike Greenberg, who hosts “Duel,” appears to have been born without a sense of humor (even though he is half of “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” a sports-chat show on ESPN), but with an obvious contempt for all game show contestants.
Among his witticisms: “Discretion is the better part of valor.” He so mercilessly drags out the proceedings, repeating contestants’ options ad nauseam, that a player named Denise at one point snaps, “Oh, just get on with it!” Thus the most honest and enjoyable moment of the show.
Repeatedly on tonight’s premiere, Greenberg sucks the energy out of the air and punctures whatever little balloons of interest might be floating around. The “Star Wars”-y set suggests an earthbound space ship; it includes a sliding cattle ramp by which contestants reach the round podium where the questions are meted out.
Ouch. That burns. I said it before and I’ll say it again….this thing could be canceled before it reaches day three.
What just happened?