I am addicted to this French game show! It is the perfect show to watch while cleaning up the living room each night. You know, the usual mess. One thousand and one puzzle pieces and plastic clothes pins that my mother-in-law gave the girls dumped all over the floor like booby traps for bare Mama and Papa feet. OUCH!
We all know our parents wait until we grow up and have our own children to get us back for all the bad things we did as children. What the hey, why not help the daughter-in-laws parents to! I am safely far enough away now that my parents are unable to do it themselves being that they are in Ohio and I am here in Strasbourg. So, that is where my mother-in-law steps in and sends these things home with the kids knowing that all they will do is spread them from one end of the living room to the other!
Anyway, this game show helps me relieve stress as I pick up the same puzzle pieces and plastic clothes pins for the hundredth time that day. Yeah, I know you are wondering, “Why doesn’t she just put them up or throw them in the trash!” I will tell you.
It is because that just makes to much sense!
O.K. Now, back to the regularly scheduled program!
The show has one contestant from each of the 22 regions from mainland France. Each contestant has a box which either contains a silly prize like a toothbrush or money from .01 to 500,000 euro. So, at the beginning of the game there are several different amounts of money or a few worthless but amusing gifts that the chosen contestant can win. The computer randomly chooses that nights featured regional contestant. In the picture it is Corsica that was chosen. My husband thinks Corsican woman are hot and was in for a treat on this particular night because this girl was not only Corsican but had once been Ms. Corse.
As you can see Ms. Corse had eliminated all the boxes down to only two boxes one of which belonged to her. One box contained 500 euro and another box 100,000 euro. During the show a call is made at various stressful and exciting moments by the “banker”. The banker will ask the featured contestant ” a prendre ou a lesser” which is roughly translated as “take it or leave it”. The banker induces stressful suspense by offering various sums of money to the featured contestant to basically throw in the towel. There is no way to guess as to what sum of money will be offered by the banker because I have watched the show on and off for a year now and the banker offers differing amounts of money in similar circumstances. I have seen people with boxes containing .01, 100 euro, 50,000 euro and 100,000 euro left and offered 20,000 euro and others with the same boxes left offered 60,000 euro. Another way the banker revs up the suspense is by instead of offering a “bribe” for the contestant to give up, the banker gives the contestant the opportunity to exchange their box for the box of one of the other regional contestants. When the phone rings my husband and I are fighting over whether it is going to be money offered or exchanging of the box. Sometimes we disagree and which ever one of us is right rubs it in for at least a day. Three if it happens to be my husband. Thankfully, that is not to often. :o)
The reason I love this game is because these people can be here for a bit of time. As I told you only one person is chosen randomly each night out of 22 regions. So, contestants can literally be there one night or until “who knows when.” The contestants form friendships between each other and as a viewer you get your favorites. I find myself cheering for some contestants like they were my own family.
There is a lot of crying on this show due to happiness, sadness and stress. It is not just women who are doing the crying. I have seen macho men cry like babies when the big money boxes are all gone. These people are real people like me and perhaps, you. They are not rich and dream of using the money they win to buy homes and a more comfortable life for their families. Most of the contestants have children and I find myself identifying with them.
My goal is to be good enough in French that I can apply to be the regional contestant from Alsace. Not only would I get a free vacation to Paris for an undetermined amount of time with no husband or children, I would get a shot at winning 500,000 euro for myself and family.
What would I do with all that cash? Buy a nice house in a small village with a big yard for my kids, buy a van with at least nine places for my current family of six and any guests, I would have a fifth child (I am not crazy, I am crazy about kids), and lastly I would start a business and invest. Don’t worry I would give as much as I could to others in the best possible way that I could.
I am addicted to this game because sometimes people win big or they walk away with pocket change. It is suspenseful!!!
Oh, viewers can also participate by calling in. A random call-in-viewer is choosen each night at the end of the game and recieves half of whatever was won. So, they can get half of 500,000 euro or half of one cent or even half of a toothbrush. It just adds to the fun.
I think Americans would love some version of this game. I just do not know how it would be done with twice as many contestants waiting until who knows when for their big night. But, I think it could be figured out and I know millions of Americans would be plastered to the television screen in anticipation watching box after box of dreams being “smashed” away. I forgot to mention that there is a sinister laugh when the contestants choose one of the big money boxes and the monetary figure is crushed on the television screen. My husband usually chuckles during this moment and then I hit him for laughing at someone else’s misfortune. The other thing that would need to be changed is that the host regularly picks up female contestants wearing short skirts and carries them to the chair in the center of the stage for that nights lucky box choosing contestant. The women try in vain to pull their skirt down so that it does not hike up to far while the camera guy zooms in on the action. If this happened in America that particular networks phone lines would be jammed with in coming complaints for at least a month. In France, it is just regular nightly entertainment.
Click here to see and you can register to play the game online!