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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No freakin' way!

Remember a couple of weeks ago I asked to what extent you'd expose your flaws for money?

Well, it has come to fruition sort of, in the form of a new game show, Moment of Truth, on Fox. This show takes "what would you do for a Klondike Bar?" to a new level.

Moment of Truth premiered tonight after American Idol. And if you didn't see it, contestants didn't really need to flex any mental muscle. They just had to tell the truth.

First, contestants are hooked up to a lie detector and asked 30-something questions, many of them realllllllllllllllllllly personal and deep. They're not told how the machine interpreted their answers, as true or false. Then they're brought on stage and the host explains that they can win up to $500,000 as long as they answer 20-something of the questions truthfully, to the extent the answers they give on stage match the truth as interpreted back stage by the lie detector. The first six honest answers = $10,000. The next five, $25,000. The next four, $100,000, and so on. The catch is if at any point you give a false answer - at least to the extent it contradicts the polygraph machine - you lose everything, even the money you've "earned" up to that point.

Sounds simple enough, right? Not at all. As you answer questions, three people - loved one and two friends - sit directly across the stage from you, just watching and listening and reacting to your answers.

The first contestant was Ty Keck, a personal trainer and former pro football player. Across the stage sat his very attractive wife of two-and-a-half years, and two good friends of his. And I'm guessing right about now that Keck wishes he'd stayed home.

The first couple of questions were easy, things like whether Keck thought he was the best looking person in his circle of friends, and whether he'd ever feigned sickness to cancel a training session with a client. He truthfully answered yes to both things.

But then Keck was asked if he'd ever looked at another ball player's twig-n-berries in the locker room, whether he'd ever had sex on the first day he met a woman, whether he's ever done anything that would cause his wife to lose trust in him, and whether he had put off having kids because he wasn't sure he'd be with his wife for the long haul. Again, Keck truthfully answered yes to each of these.

To say wifey was shocked is an understatement.

A twist to the game is that if she'd heard a question that she didn't want the answer to she could hit a buzzer and the host would ask a replacement question...with no guarantees that it would be easier than the first question. Or if Keck reached a question he didn't want to answer in front of an audience, he could quit, take his earnings and leave the stage.

I was shocked that Keck's wife, though obviously shaken, kept telling him to continue, because she was curious. He made it past the $25K round, and was two questions away from $100K, when he met his match with a question about his job: had he ever touched a (presumably female) client more than was necessary during a training session?

Keck answered no. The polygraph said that was a lie. He lost.

So let me get this straight. This guy exposed his lack of truthiness and admitted to shortcomings his wife didn't know in front of a television audience for a chance at money?

And he went home empty-handed? I'm gonna guess that it's probably better he didn't make it all the way to the $500K, 'cause by the time he got home he'd have been splitting that check down the middle with Mrs. Keck and her divorce attorney.

Oh, and there was irony. After each uncomfortably honest answer, the host asked husband and wife if they'd like to continue, and "at what cost?"

Good question.

Labels: , ,


  • Have you ever had to sleep on the couch? would be the next question.

    His wife would have been a lot less pissed had she come home w/ a half-mil.

    By Blogger M@, at 11:44 PM  

  • J.B. I would rather rob an armored car with a dozen guards protecting it, than go on that show.

    It's far too risky for me.

    By Anonymous before the mayflower, at 12:36 AM  

  • Didn't we already have a "throw em to the lions" state in history?

    By Blogger Pamela, at 2:54 AM  

  • I'm all set with this one. Ugh. I'm w/Mayflower... I'd rather be bait for sharks! Let's suggest our presidential candidates appear on the show? (Then I'd watch it).

    By Blogger Alison, at 4:08 AM  

  • alison said:

    Let's suggest our presidential candidates appear on the show? (Then I'd watch it).

    Damn good idea! (So would I.)

    By Anonymous before the mayflower, at 4:49 AM  

  • Well, hell, if he'd gotten that far he might as well have gone the whole 9 and split the winnings with your soon-to-be ex-wife or spent it on couples counseling.

    By Blogger GrizzBabe, at 7:26 PM  

  • We already have scared the best people in the country from running for office, they are unelectable. Now, you want to really eliminate people from ever considering public service. Can we try to come up with a system that elects Lincoln and FDR, please.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 9:17 PM  

  • That show is only for the strong, apparently. I bet a couple who've been married thirty years could handle it.

    By Blogger katrice, at 12:50 AM  

  • I saw the commercials for this but didn't watch the actual show. I'm not sure if I could sit through it, seeing the wife's reaction and all. That couple is going to need to do a LOT of talking when they get home!

    By Blogger Balou, at 2:49 PM  

  • some things are really better left unsaid, aren't they?

    By Blogger Claudia, at 3:55 PM  

  • This is a great example of the escalation and growing sensationalism of reality TV.

    It's working! I can't tear my eyes away, and either can millions of other Americans.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:02 PM  

  • I think there are parts of us that we'd all rather keep to ourselves. It doesn't make us bad people, it just makes us human. No amount of money would make me expose myself like that... and I'm pretty confident that I'm a good person who operates on a policy of being kind and making good decisions. I can't imagine what it would be like to go up on that stage and divulge all sorts of personal info for cash.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 6:28 PM  

  • I watched it, too! And I kept watching the wife and got really worried when they asked him if he was putting off the kiddos b/c of the long-term thing. Sheesh.

    NO WAY you could get me on that show. It's like selling your soul for cash!

    By Blogger Tiggerlane, at 1:38 AM  

  • I saw this one, too... bits and pieces anyway, as it was on when I got home from the gym. I was disgusted, really, and won't be watching again.

    Saddens me to watch/hear delicate human relationships crumble on national television. As though we don't get enough of that in our own lives.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 12:15 PM  

  • I can't believe what people will do for money! The part that gets me are the questions that have a gray areas but they still have to answer "yes" or "no."

    I wasn't even on the hotseat and it made me uncomfortable.

    By Blogger SQT, at 12:48 PM  

  • I'm not interested in watching the show, but I'd love to go on and make easy easy money. My thing is, anything potentially "embarrassing" can't be worse than the ways I've embarrassed myself in the past trying to get laid, so it's no big deal. Plus, with me being fat and unattractive, I figure everyone has a bad opinion of me anyway, so who cares how much they know about my personal life. And if my girlfriend can't handle knowing that I fantasize about other women or that I've screwed someone within 20 minutes of meeting her, then she's with the wrong guy.

    By Blogger Dre, at 9:45 AM  

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