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Thursday, January 08, 2009

MORE OBSERVING OF THE ENGLISH: DEAL OR NO DEAL

As I am here in the London Office, I wanted to continue my study of English and American cultures. Today, I am going to talk about television.

When I was a tiny mj, you could only see UK shows on public television, which seemed like the territory of shut-ins, math teachers, and people who had renounced fun for religious or dietary reasons. So I was both amazed and slightly horrified to find that I liked what I found there, this rich vein of British programming. At the time, this was seen as basically akin to going to a fine wine producing region of France and demanding a bottle of Boone’s Farm’s very best Sun Peak Peach. We were America! We MADE television! British shows were cheap and weird and grim . . .

. . . and also the best things I had ever seen. To this day, I tend to watch more British television than I do American. It’s just easier and more acceptable now. Also, we Americans relentlessly buy UK television shows. We rarely show the originals, not on the major networks, anyway. We remake them in versions where everyone is American doing American Things. The Office, American Idol, Life on Mars, Dancing with the Stars, Kitchen Nightmares, Wife Swap, What Not to Wear . . . all UK shows, remade.

This has always bothered me. The originals of these shows are often much better, much more nuanced. The real Life on Mars, for instance, was an amazing show—genuinely creepy and fun. I lasted for three minutes of the American remake, which apparently hired a crack team of enjoyment-removers to pick the show to pieces, and a second unit of obvious-hint-highlighters to blow a bugle and flash a light whenever a glimpse of the show’s underlying mystery appeared.

But am I saying that all UK television is good and all American television is bad? Most assuredly not! I am just saying that if any of you in Los Angeles are thinking about making an American Doctor Who, know that I have a car full of tasers and trombones waiting at my beck and call. California is only a five-day drive. And while the tasers will certainly give you a shock, believe me . . . you have never heard me play the trombone. I have never heard me play the trombone, either. It will not be good for either of us, but you will suffer the most, because you will be writhing on the floor.

Some shows, however, are meant to be different. If you want to learn about some of the differences between America and the UK, you can learn at a lot by simply watching the two versions of the popular game show, Deal or No Deal. (I should point out that I don’t particularly like game shows, but in the interest of research, I studied both versions of the program. For you, readers, I will do anything.)

Deal or No Deal doesn’t belong to either nation. It was originally invented (like many things) by the Dutch. Unlike many excellent Dutch products—Vermeers, gouda, fine porcelain, tulips, stoopwaffle, and delicious chocolate—this one probably could have stayed at home. Like a fast-moving virus, it took hold all around the world, played in different ways, with the essential underlying format remaining the same. The UK version began in 2003, and the American version in September, 2008. (Or so says Wikipedia. If this is true, I’m amazed, as it seems to have been on FOR ALL OF TIME.)

In case you’ve never seen Deal or No Deal (do you exist?), I will give a brief explanation. If you know the game, you can skip the next paragraph and sail down the page.

HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED: The contestant on the show, guided closely by the host, is faced with a selection of boxes or briefcases. Each box or briefcase contains a certain amount of money (in the United States, there are 22 boxes, with values ranging from one penny to $500,000). At the start of the game, the contestant gets one box, which is placed on their podium, unopened. The contestant starts picking boxes, which are opened one by one, revealing different amounts of money, the hope being that the high values of money will remain in play. As the game goes on, a figure known as “the banker” will call in and offer the contestant varying sums of money to get them to quit the game. The amounts offered are at least partially based on the remaining value in the boxes. The contestant can either take the money offered or keep going, right down to the two last boxes, at which point they can either keep the box they got at the beginning, or swap it for the last remaining box. The box is then opened, and the contestant’s prize revealed.

A game of straight-out BOX PICKING would not be that popular. The game works because of the drama structured around it, and this is where you get to see the cultural variations.

Let’s begin with the American version.

The American Deal or No Deal is hosted by Howie Mandel, a comedian popular in the early 1980s for an act in which he would stick a rubber glove over his head and inflate it by blowing out through his nose. Howie Mandel is the kind of person people probably suspected was either dead or playing the circuit in Las Vegas. This second one is not far off the mark, as the set of the show is very Vegas-like—great, gleaming platforms, neon panels and glowing hi-tech screens, cityscape in the background, and 22 models in identical outfits with 22 identical silver suitcases arranged on a set of glowing steps. The banker appears in shadow, walking around a balcony, as if he is studying the events. I was going to make the joke that you expect Celine Dion to pop up from behind them all, singing a song, until I saw that the #1 favorite moment from the show’s history was, in fact . . . Celine Dion popping up behind them all on a screen, singing a song.

The contestant’s family members also come to the show. I don’t know for a fact that they do it this way . . . but I like to imagine that the producers come to their houses in the middle of the night, put a bag over their sleeping heads, and drag them screaming to a waiting van. Once inside, they are gassed. They wake up on the set, where they have been placed on a little island off to the side of the stage, forced to watch their relative play the game. Presumably, they are kept in place by an invisible electronic fence, which is dropped at the end of the game, when they always run free of their prison.

The producers throw flair at this show with reckless abandon. In this clip, they surprise the “ultimate Wicked fan” (who, bizarrely, has never seen the show) with a special appearance from Glinda the Good Witch. Based on my limited viewing experience (doctor’s offices, at home in Philadelphia while passing through the living room), I have observed that every contestant on the show seems to be a screamer. I mean, a REAL, THROAT-BLISTERING SCREAMER. Watch how Glinda slowly reacts in genuine alarm throughout the clip, while the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Relatives join in the screaming effort.

When we Americans do a show, we don’t %&*# around.



The UK version of the show is much more low-key, and yet . . . vastly more suspenseful. No Glinda here. No models with silver suitcases. No limos behind velvet curtains. Just quiet, protracted agony . . . exactly the way the English seem to like it.

The host of the UK version is a man named Noel Edmonds, an even-voiced bearded man with a gift for inducing low-level, unending tension. He’s sort of a cross between everyone’s favorite uncle, the nice one who knows how to tell the best stories, and a serial killer, one who’s extremely good at luring victims with his friendly demeanor and then chops them to bits while humming along with classical music on the radio. The one who, when later apprehended, is remembered as being “a really nice guy, but there was always something about him that made you a little . . . nervous, I guess. Nice to talk to, but you wouldn’t invite him over to your house.”



Noel Edmonds


Unlike the flashy American set, the UK Deal or No Deal is filmed in a warehouse, and goes to no effort to hide that fact. There’s no big stage—just a plain platform where host, contestant, and money stay on the same level. The banker is never seen at all, and exists only as the unheard voice on the other end of a telephone. The money is contained, not in shiny silver briefcases, but in cardboard boxes that make a nice, hollow sound. The boxes are held, not by models, but by very ordinary people. And unlike the smiling, silent models, the other box-holders will talk the contestant through the game, often very emotionally—because the contestant is one of their own, a friend who needs to be guided. It's a community effort. (Which still doesn't explain to my satisfaction why Noel Edmonds refers to the audience members as "pilgrims," but who am I to question the ways of crazy Uncle Stabby?).

In fact, you get the feeling that you aren’t actually watching a game show, but rather the exploits of an unlikely, ragtag team of amateur robbers—retirees, students, the random nurse or doctor—who presumably met over Facebook, all bound by a collective disgust with the tedium of everyday life. They have joined together to do a bank heist. Someone probably proposed the idea as a joke, but it was a joke that took on a life of its own. A few weeks later, 80 year old Edwina, office manager Nigel, Angela the shy phlebotomist, Mark, the guy who collects cuckoo clocks . . . are all tearing away from a Barklays Bank in a white transit van, ripping off their rubber masks and throwing them out the window. In the back, Simon (the plot mastermind, a movie buff with thousands of precisely organized DVDs who devised the scheme by combining heists from 28 classic films) is laughing and throwing fistfuls of money at Victoria, a lovely movement teacher who grew up in Essex and wouldn't normally get mixed up in this sort of thing . . .

Amazed by their success, they have thought up an enjoyable way of splitting the proceeds by staging a makeshift game in their warehouse hideout, also used by a friendly local murderer who they recruited as the host.

To give you an idea of the magnificence of this game, here are four emotionally wrought minutes from one episode, in which everyone is inexplicably dressed in Dickenswear, and all of the pirates cry. It’s like Little Nell has died all over again:



I will continue my research. Please let me know if you have any questions or observations of your own.

Labels: , , ,

71 Comments:

Anonymous Sarah Saville said...

Sweden has it as well ^^,
A man named Martin Timell, is the host, which confused me a lot in the beginning.
^^^, Sarah

9:18 PM  
Blogger amy said...

Dickenswear is how Brits dress ALL THE TIME!

9:27 PM  
Anonymous Michael Northrop said...

These are my pasty peeps, and I love them. Also worthy of your analytical skills: The increasingly bizarre ways in which the English seek to make me cry with their feature films. A mining town brass band? A working-class, ballet dancing boy? A struggling shoe factory that begins making boots for drag queens? Check, check, and check.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Kristin B said...

You know, I always tell myself I won't read your blog at work, because I inevitably spend most of the reading period trying to contain the laughter bubbling up through my chest and into my throat, so that I will not bust up like a frickin' nutcase or hyena or whathaveyou and disrupt my preternaturally silent office.

But then I read it anyway. In the end, I really don't care what they think when they see me giggling at my monitor like an idiot.

And if what amy says is true, and Brits dress in Dickenswear all the time...well, I think it's time for me to consider international relocation. WANT.

9:39 PM  
Blogger BethPorter10 said...

Noel calls them Pilgrims, because they have gone on a pilgrimage to Bristol to see the show being filmed. He also calls the studio, 'The Dream Factory' :)
My mum is an avid follower of Deal or No deal.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Shauna said...

I had NO idea that What Not To Wear & Wife Swap were both UK Shows first. I love both of those shows immensely, altho I have a BIG fear that Stacey & Clinton will find me walking around NYC in my sweats and yell at me! Seriously. Big Fear.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Gabriella said...

Your study is very interesting.

I saw Deal or No Deal once while sitting in a pizza place. Then I magically ended up unable to leave until the episode was over and loudly rooted for the person to win 1 cent.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

I find both versions of Deal or No Deal a little disturbing, and I think that your idea concerning armed robbers and serial killers is probably close to the truth, actually.

That woman was terrifying when she screamed "WICKED, STARRING [contestant's name]!!!!" I feel bad that Glinda has to spend so much time with them ...
But at the same time I was yelling "take the deal! take the deal!" the whole time, as that is exactly the kind of prize I would like to win.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Rafi said...

I agree. British shows are better and have smarter humor than their American counterparts.

I think Wikipedia is wrong...the American Deal or No Deal was on my freshman year (2005). I remember it was the only thing to do since the floorcrew couldn't actually watch the Winterguard practice. So I was greatly bored and forced in a cafeteria with a mom I couldn't stand. So we turned on the tv (don't ask why the tv was in the cafeteria at school) and watched it.
Pilgrims? No crazy sets?? No dresses that match a theme made just for the contestant??? I think I want to watch that.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

I am a total Game Show Whore. No, seriously. I love 'em. Jeopardy? Hoo boy. I was addicted to Jeopardy for a lonnnnnng time. However, I loathe Deal or No Deal with every fiber of my being. It is not a game show. It spits on the history of game shows. It's like the younger sister that got to go to the prom when the older sister was sitting at home with a carton of ice cream. Thumbing her nose and prancing around in a tiara but you know the Senior she's going with is just going to pressure her into sex and other bad things but you tried to warn her and she didn't listen and...

I'm babbling.

Deal or No Deal. Sucks.

British Television, however, is FANTASTICULOUS! Doctor Who, a show I never expected to like, is an obsession of mine now. I love all those shows you see on PBS and if it were possible I'd have a subscription to the actual Beeb. But it's not, so I don't. Instead, I suffer with Deal or No Deal. :P

Have a great day Maureen!

12:54 AM  
Blogger marrije said...

Reporting from The Netherlands that the silver briefcases are original: when our big star Linda de Mol (who is kind of Vegas herself) began this whole delightful saga, they were already there.

Oh, and it's "stroopwafel", Maureen, not "stoopwaffel". Great stuff. If you're ever in The Netherlands I'll happily take you out and introduce you to our weird delicacies :-)

Third thing: I am reading Suite Scarlett to my 11-year old son at the moment, and I think he wants to be Spencer when he grows up.

1:02 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I love British television.
If we(meaning America) remade Doctor Who, the best show ever, I would cry, and not cause I was happy, cause I was trying so hard to hold in the rage of the stupid idea.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

You have to love how they refer to the studio as "the dream factory" and US deal or no deal was on when i was there in '06 so wiki might be wrong (shocker i know). We Brits know how to make some good TV though. Just steer clear of 'loose women' (on ITV at lunchtimes)

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

The American version of Deal or No Deal has been around since at least the end of 2005/ beginning of 2006 because my math teacher made us watch it to help us learn about probability when I was in grade 8.

But British television is really amazing, their Britcoms are HILARIOUS and I love watching them.

Oh, and Canada has "Canadian Idol" too! Nice that we lack such creativity for show ideas that we have to steal them all!

1:16 AM  
Blogger Molly Jo said...

I found that the addition of Dickenswear added greatly to the overall experience of the show.

I do believe a commentary of the life of Hyacith Bucket would be lovely. It's not that I don't enjoy the game show comparisons, they're wonderful. But I do love Keeping Up Appearances!

1:27 AM  
Blogger Shelly Quade said...

That American clip was interesting. I was really confused about that blonde contestant - she thought the girl who played Glinda did a great job, even though she's jealous of Mr. Mandel b/c she's never seen the show, and she's a fan of musicals in general (or is she just lying to us again?), and it's her dream to have some musical package? Admittedly the musical "Wicked" package is pretty cool. I've never seen the musical, myself, but have only read the book (I was a huge Maguire buff in high school), but I think the blonde-personage-obsessed-with-a-show-she's-never-seen just likes screaming. It's how she plans on executing her top secret evil plan to deafen Americans. Unfortunately, she had laryngitis that week, and didn't get enough practice time with her voice coach, and evil doings did not go according to plan...

1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW... oh my gosh
the UK version was...suspensful
but i myself, prefer the good ol' American version. I like how hyped everyone gets and the fancy stuff the winners get to do or get.

1:35 AM  
Blogger hannah said...

very insightful thank you. the UK really knows how to drag out a show. that ending took forever lol but it was funny =]

1:36 AM  
Blogger sweetmelissa818 said...

I can hands down say that Deal or No Deal makes me think that Americans are idiots. The entire basis of the show is greed. This is an element that is highly available in game shows, but for some reason this brand of greed is particularly agitating. Every time I get stuck watching it (I was in the hospital for 5 weeks this year, so I had limited options) I can't help but think that if someone offered me even a 10th of what these people give up, I would take it and run! Yet they continue, until they're left with nothing. It says a lot.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Chelsea said...

I definitely read this during creative writing. I laughed out loud. Well, I guess it was more like a muffled squeak. But it was very noticeable, and my teacher looked up. No more reading your blog in class.

On the plus side, I came up with the name for my fictional coffee shop. It shall be called "Espresso Yourself."

2:44 AM  
Blogger Khy said...

The American host was popular once? REALLY? I thought they just grabbed him off the street or something.

And there is no way Deal or No Deal started in September. In sixth grade my teacher talked to us about it. And she specifically mentioned all the models. She talked about the models a lot. Hmm.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Alexa said...

That was the best description of Noel Edmonds, just perfect!

I agree about Life of Mars the US version was dreadful. I'm waiting to see what they do to State of Play, Russel Crowe is no John Simm!

3:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a fan from England- and am very fascinated about why IN THE NAME OF BLIMEY O' RILEY would you take all the fun out of Deal or No Deal? When I visited cousins in the US I saw "Deal or No Deal" on the guide channel and I thought "ooh, quality Brit TV" and was mystified by all the bright, colourful lights and screaming, shrieking, contestants and their thrilled looking family members (I think the gas that knocked them out mustve addled their heads)... As far as I am concerned, America has created lots of bad TV shows like Hannah Montana (no offense to her fans)... Although, I must admit, I do love "House"...My cousins are in love with Dr. House.... Please, do not ask.

Please, Mj, do more British-American comparisons-- I am finding them hilarious.

Pip pip.

3:33 AM  
OpenID serafina-zane said...

Every time I think one of your posts won't make me cry with laughter, I turn out to be wrong.

My favorite international reality TV comparison: in Ireland, they have CELEBRITY JIGS AND REELS. Obviously, this beats lame US "Dancing With The Stars".

4:11 AM  
Blogger Nadia Murti said...

That sucks for Oppy.

I like UK versions of shows better.

Deal or No Deal is boring.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

MJ, did you know that Howie Mandel is a dermophobe?

And that is why he never hugs the contestants. He only rocks their fists.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Hollishillis said...

"I finally found something that can stop the fox. The fox cannot summit Stawberry Hill."

=]

I'm jelous you're in England...AGAIN!

-Holly

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

The sad pirate, he's killing me!

6:33 AM  
Blogger appletrain said...

In my first three months of being at uni in Manchester (and coming from California (where I appreciate the British shows more than the American ones so please don't attack me with your tasering trombones)), I've noticed the only time British people ever run is when they need to catch a bus.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Karen Mahoney said...

I'm just cracking up that you posted a pic of Noel Edmonds with Mr. Blobby. :D

6:53 PM  
Blogger Miss Hannah said...

I have a sinking suspicion that Mr. Orry "I'll be fine" Cries-a-Lot promptly went home and offed himself. Poor Orry.

9:05 PM  
Blogger itokro said...

Wait until Tobias gets here. He will not be pleased with your spelling of "stroopwafel".

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anna-la said...

I don't get why America MUST do their own stupid versions of everything. They steal the British sitcoms or reality TV and they also swipe the Japanese people's horror and thriller movies. What's with that?

I agree with Miss Hannah. Orry totally put a gun to his head when he got home, I swear.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Christina Hicks said...

I've only seen bits and pieces of the American version, but I much prefer the more low key Austalian version which my friends and I were mesmerized by while staying in Tasmania.

The box/briefcase holders were also members of the audience and cheered for the contestant, they also got to guess what amount they were holding and if they were right they won $50! And though there are many attractive Australian natives (Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman etc.) they choose to put the plainest people on their game shows. It is AWESOME.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Christina Hicks said...

p.s. it would be tragic if there was an American remake of Doctor Who!

What are your thoughts on the new Doctor? I'm refraining from judging him because I refused to accept David Tennant initially and now I love him dearly.

11:26 PM  
Blogger angela said...

I convince myself, "I won't eat clementines while I read mj's blog."
This is approximately the 3rd time I've squirted myself in the eyes, in either laughter,anger, or anticipation.

My former question was....
on facebook.
and me=lazy.
so you'll get it sometime in the far future.

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahah I love that! I didn't watch all of either of the clips, because I get really anxious whenever I watch those "highly dramatic" moments, especially when they involve real people.
...I'm lame, I know.
But I felt bad for Pirate Guy! :(
Have you seen The Weakest Link (in the UK)? It's the only game show I can ever stand to watch, because it's extremely amusing. The host (forget her name) is evil, but so funny (except when she takes it too far and is just cruel). And there have been times when people randomly dress up (best episodes) or, even better, there was one episode where ALL the contestants were puppets from well-known British TV shows! Hahahahhahaha. :)
PS, David Tennant = love. For ever and ever and ever. He is amazing. And adorable. And hilarious. And is/was in Doctor Who, which makes him even more amazing. (Doctor Who has made me cry many a time, but ahh how I love it.)
Anways, the short and short (or not) of it is that although the UK versions of shows are usually better (at least partially because they are usually the original version), there are also quite a few American shows I hope they never copy, either because the US versions are so good, or so bad (Basically, all of Disney Channel. What happened to That's So Raven? Or Lizzie McGuire? Some of the best TV shows of my 8-and-9 year old years). On the other hand, most TV (regardless of country) is crap anyways. So whatever. :)
Oh and whenever I'm in England (my grandmother lives there), we make a point to watch East Enders. It's so incredibly ridiculous (i.e., people dying left and right, 12 year olds randomly getting pregnant, etc etc) that it can't be missed. Hahahah.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Marvelous Maggie said...

OH MY GOD!

That was possibly the most depressing thing I've ever seen in my entire life. I would choose the American Deal or No Deal any day!

Even though the screamers are really annoying, I couldn't take the tension of the British version.

AND! And, I would go on there because I ABSOLUTELY ADORE WICKED! The book, the musical, the soundtrack - it's all AMAZING! How could she not take the deal?! I wouldn't even care if I had the million dollar case just as long as I got BE IN THE MUSICAL! Of course, it would still be better if it was the original cast... I love Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth.

GOD, I AM SO JEALOUS OF HER!

Anyway, nice research. I think that Noel Edmonds is all serial killer creepy... no uncle in there.

-Maggie

P.S. Have you ever seen Wicked?

1:54 AM  
Blogger Maria D'Isidoro said...

Ya know, I've never had any desire to watch this show at all. None whatsoever. I think Howie Mandel is partly to blame. I didn't remember what he'd done until you reminded me, but before I'd been assaulted by this feeling of early childhood nostalgia which equated his name with 'stupidity.'

Now, however, I'm probably going to stay up til 2 am again scouring Youtube for clips of the English version.

And I agree with everything you said about British programing. Every. Single. Thing.

I'm still trying to track down that person who has all of Dr. Who at home and is willing to either lend the tapes to me or let me crash at their place to watch them in marathon format. You'd think there'd be more of these people in college but I can't find them. Huh.

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Kere said...

OMG MJ!

I too, grew up watching Brit TV on PBS. British TV kicks US TV's bootay. I love it. The BBC's version of Narnia runs Hollywood's into the ground. The Pride and Prejudice miniseries should make EVERYONE in all the Hollywood versions weep with shame for even pretending to play dress up. And Doctor Who! I love Classic Who more than New Who, but New Who is one of the 2 shows I bother to try to catch. (To be fair, the second one is Made in America: it's NCIS.) I loved the West Wing, and the best compliment I ever saw for WW was "that looks like something from home", from a Liverpudlian.

Anyway, fair warning Holloworst! If you dare lay a hand on my beloved Dr. Who in ANY INCARNATION - this includes Torchwood- I WILL go stark raving mad with a rusty spoon and it'll only take me 6 hours to get there.

That's your only warning.

Kere

PS I'll try to save some work for MJ and Co, but only if she gets her chainsaw she was wanting the other day.

4:46 AM  
OpenID trudeau1031 said...

i must argue that American Office is much funnier.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Ayla said...

Rather amazing. I just broke my nose (seriously. I broke my nose) and then I read your blog. It made me happy. You are awesome.

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Joey-la said...

Maureen, you should have a look at the Australian Deal or No Deal. It's more like the American one in that there are brightly coloured lights, people screaming. But the shiny gold breifcases are held by normal people, although only one is a friend of the contestent.
Also, the host is a guy who is on pretty much every show on the network, and recently got filmed dancing around drunk.
They're playing the American Life on Mars here, the English one was so much better!

3:44 AM  
Anonymous natalie said...

Hi, Maureen. I know this has nothing to do with what you just posted on your blog, but I was just wondering if you knew about the huge internet war between Twilight and Harry Potter.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous katie-bella said...

I'm not exactly an expert in the whole Deal or No Deal area, but I agree that the UK's version is way more suspensful. And amusing. Like, my Mom can't watch the U.S. version because she practically hyperventilates over the suspense of it all. I used to laugh at her--until I saw the U.K. version. I swear, I was at the edge of my seat, with my nose practically smushed against the screen.
Between the two, it's like listening to boy band pop from the 90s or ABBA. The choice is pretty obvious, eh?
Loved the blog :o)

5:37 AM  
Anonymous SarahE said...

For some reason, the sushi place I go to is ALWAYS playing the U.S. version of Deal or No Deal, and I've spent about 5 meals there trying to figure out how the heck it works. I thank you for your explanation, but I still fail to comphrehend the point. Like at all. Am I merely an absolute idiot (which, frankly, I doubt) or is it really that pointless and random?

At any rate, Dickenswear really does make all the difference. For anything.

mj, what are your thoughts on the new Doctor? I didn't think I was going to like David Tennant, but now the thought of him leaving makes me cry. I'm actually having trouble with this new guy particularly because it means that David Tennant really is going and not coming back.

9:43 AM  
Blogger MadameScribble said...

Haha, you should see the Australian version. It's some weird hybrid version of the two. Though I have to say, in all my time watching the Australian version (which is almost none), I don't think I've ever seen someone go right to the very end. They always go really well for a time, then they go one too far and knock out a biggie and take the scraps of the money offered. Which I guess either makes us sensible or pathetic. Who knows?

(Also, the envy I feel about you being in England almost surpasses the fear I felt watching the Americans. Almost.)

3:49 PM  
Blogger ReaderGirl said...

That has got to be the saddest thing I have ever seen Maureen! XD The Dicken's wear lightened it up a bit but still! How horrible is that! But generally i do agree that England is much more fun.... I think I must have lived there in my past life...

9:40 PM  
Blogger Haley_is_British said...

Interesting topic. But I doubt it will matter much longer, as the British are slowly going to take over American television, and, by default, the United States.
For example, Russel Brand hosted the VMAs this year. He mocked the Jonas Brothers, so now 92% of American girls hate him.
Peter Ishkans has his own show in America trying to fix businesses started by us silly Americans, and we Americans quickly became obsessed with his tough love attitude, skinny pants, and big hair. Oh Peter, gotta love him.
It all started a while ago actually. Disney and Peter Pan? Coincidence?! I think not.
Just wait, Americans are going to pick up British accents! (which would be cool, considering how pretty they are.) WE ARE DEALING WITH A BUNCH OF MADONNAS! Do you see a problem with this? I do.
People are going to think their British soon... *looks at name* craaaap.

-Haley
*Check the blog, I deal with my love of gorgeous British people on it, and my cowriter talks about her journey to becoming a YA author. Preetttyy sick if I say so myself.*

4:20 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

Maureen! How could you forget the best American "game show" remake ever to come from across the pond? I'm talking about "Whose Line is it Anyway?"! It's frakkin' awesome! As is the British version of DoND! And ABBA! Why am I using so many exclamation marks?!

10:13 PM  
Anonymous blissfullydazed said...

Oh. My. Gosh. MJ. You rock more with every post. I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID.

Sorry if I sounded like a *fangrl* for a moment there...but seriously, I could not agree with you more.

First, I cannot STAND Deal or No Deal. My taste in game shows is minimal - I do like trivia-based ones, like Jeopardy and The Weakest Link (the latter another show we PLUNDERED from the UK - the red-haired lady ROCKED, though). But Deal or No Deal is completely random and mindless, and when I've watched it (sadly frequently as my Grandma's a huge fan), I'm always teetering between boredom and dismay. The absolute GREED of people! And it's more blatantly obvious that it ever has been, on any game show.

That said, I do welcome the fact that the British version is without the likes of scantily clad models and relentless screaming (why does my country seem to treasure these things so?), and now have another reason to love the UK! I hope to live there and am jealous of YOU as always. :P But I watched the Serial-Killer/Dickensesque clip on MUTE, and the suspense still seeped through. Too much for me. Poor pirate dude.

Finally, I also cannot stand US habits of stealing awesome UK shows in general (don't forget my fav show of all time, Whose Line Is It Anyway). I've ranted about it frequently. Life On Mars especially pains me.

Please continue your studies which will allow me to live vicariously through all of your wonderous adventures and whatnot!

-Jacleen

4:26 AM  
Anonymous blissfullydazed said...

Also - TRAVIS?! Whose Line AND ABBA?! Where have you been all my life?!

4:29 AM  
Blogger Michal Chinn said...

Oh no, Maureen! Yesterday you were preparing to do something incredibly stupid and you said that a blog would follow yet, I see now follow-up blog! Are you alright?

p.s. my word verification word was "gotted." hehe.

8:01 PM  
Blogger SalT said...

What's more, the American version of Kath & Kim is horrifying to all Australians. It has completely lost the point, unfortunately. I was looking forward to seeing the US version, starring Selma Blair and Molly Shannon, but turns out it was a big fat fail. If you have not seen the original Australian version, I encourage you to you tube it. SO ridiculously funny in all its low budget glory.

4:38 AM  
Anonymous Michael Bush said...

A warehouse? What's this nonsense? Obviously, the UK Deal or No Deal takes place in a DREAM FACTORY. Seriously, says so in the song and everything:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UH8vJUobdHw

It's a masterpeice, I assure you.

MB x

5:48 AM  
Anonymous JK said...

Wow, that last video was intense.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Dimitra said...

Did you ever do Lauren Myracle's scare dare? If so, what'd you do?

4:26 AM  
Anonymous dimitra said...

My first word was "undead". and I got really excited for a minute, thinking maybe it was a SIGN that i would spot a zombie tommorrow or there would be an apocolypse or something. SCORE ONE FOR ZOMBIES!

4:29 AM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

Noel's House Party!! I remember that show from when I was a kid. Still have no clue who the giant pink thing is. Incidentally, Red Dwarf is officially the best British show ever, also fortunately obscure enough that the Americans won't remake it. I hope.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Cecily said...

So I'm in a bleh mood, you know, where you have no motivation to do anything, including throwing away your soda can because it requires you to reach to the left, then to the right. So instead of the epic list of stuff to do I've been reading blogs.

I'd just like to say, I've seen the English Office and Skins is one of my favorite shows ever... even though I can only watch the DVD on my computer. I love English television.

I hate the American Deal or No Deal. I use to like it, then the contestants got cheesy and obnoxious. It's common knowledge that Howie hates Germs. He does not want you rubbing his head. I could be wrong but I'm fairly sure most bald men don't like screaming strangers rubbing their head.

So I'm going to go back to staring listlessly at a blank document, give up then go back to reading blogs and trying to think up new and creative ways to get people to take me to the book store because I'm almost out of books. Bleh moods are good for reading.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Violet Vixen said...

This analysis is awesome. But you should include a study of the 1970s American Let's Make a Deal, which is the same show but with insane costumes and doors as well as boxes. Much more fabulous and inexplicable.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Zoe : Umlauted said...

Maureen, I've been reading your blog for a while and I love it! I enjoyed reading this Deal or No Deal post and I was wondering: if you ever created a game show, what would it be like? Would you force your contestants to dress in costume? It might be fun to see a post about your own game show. (Perhaps, ABBA could be involved?) :)

1:04 AM  
Blogger Bri said...

Ahahahahahaha!! rolling on the floor laughing, seriously. :D :D hahahhaha.
I read my sister the part about how the family gets to the game show, but she didn't get it. she said it was dark. Whatever. It was the funniest thing I've heard all day.
So I've got a question. What do you think of the American "The Office?"

1:58 AM  
Blogger hannah said...

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3:38 AM  
Blogger cool_splash1 said...

The thing I hope doesn't happen is British TV becoming flashy like American TV. What makes the U. S. different is that we don't have state run tv or a tv liscence. It probably wouldn't work here anyway because Americans would complain that TV should be completely free while paying for cable and complaining about all of the advertising on tv shows (which need it because tv is free). I think it would have worked if Americans had started out doing it in the first place just like the subscribership of radio when it first came out.

There are Brits that want to do away with the tv liscence because the BBC still does have commercials, but I think that's because they really haven't seen the affect of advertising dependent tv. There is a limit on advertising while in the U. S. commericals run so long sometimes I forget what show I'm watching.

What would be sad is if shows like Survivors (original), Blakes 7 etc. wouldn't even make it today unless in a flashy style. The new Survivors was okay, but the original is way better with all of it's low budget. Same with B7 for all of it's $50 effects per episode and cheap sets etc. the show was fantastic. Paul Darrow decided to not go with the revival of the series because of artistic differences. Also I'm noticing a decreasing in episodes. I think the making bigger and better is shortening seasons.

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