Baited by the prospect of $1 million, she turned down $172,000 and then wound up with $5.
“You know, Howie, money doesn’t make me happy,” the defeated contestant told the host of NBC’s Deal or No Deal. The audience cringed and clapped.
Whenever I catch a rerun of this retired reality show, I cannot flip the switch until the final briefcase is opened and the verdict revealed.
I am fascinated by the quick calculus of risk and reward. Does the chance of luxury override the certainty of comfort? Does the possibility of a mansion trump the elimination of a mortgage? For many contestants, yes.
They are prodded by the deafening chorus, “No deal!” Even the parents and spouses — the ones you expect to inject a little common sense, the ones who actually will be affected by the outcome — join the mob.
“I’m the most conservative person when it comes to this game,” a husband donned in khakis and an argyle sweater tells his pregnant wife, given the final offer of $561,000. “But I have to agree with your mom on this rare occasion and say ‘no deal.’”
When the queasy contestant cooperates, the audience voices its approval, cheering on the audacity and the lunacy.
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