Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Come Dine With Me

Maybe it's silly to analyze the game of a reality show.  Reality shows have a lot of bad games.  Survivor, the first big reality TV hit, was the ultimate in bad game.  Supposedly it is a test of survival but we all know that they aren't going to let anyone die on TV, so really the title of the show might as well have been "Petty Politics".  The game where the players of the game elect a winner is a really lousy game.

But this show, Come Dine With Me, takes this bad game to a new low.  In Come Dine With Me five competitors take turns hosting a dinner party for the other four.  At each party each person scores them on food, fun, or whatever other factors they find important.  At the end, the person with the most points wins.

"So why doesn't everyone just give everyone else one out of ten?" you may ask.  As far as I can tell, the only reason is that they want to be seen as playing fairly when they appear on TV - or alternately they don't actually understand how the game works.  Giving everyone else one out of ten is *the* strategy in this game.  What's more, if you go have your dinner party first, your scores are already locked in, so you can be as awful and destructive at everyone else's party as you like, bringing the mood down and making sure everyone has a bad time.  Presumably you can't go so far as to directly sabotage others as I assume that is prohibited - murdering the competition is a successful strategy in nearly all competitions but it is allowed in remarkably few.

What's so stomach-churning about this particular game is that it is so easily fixed.  Simply add the average score each person gives to their own score and the reward for giving a bad score to others is eliminated.  Sure, played properly the corrected game is a weird game of deceit where you want to give the best score to the person with the lowest overall score and the worst score to the person with the highest overall score to try to make all of your opponent's scores exactly equal to one another, but that game is hardly even worth playing.  If you give the highest score to the person with the worst food you have no idea if everyone else did that too.  The system becomes largely un-game-able.

The idea of a game where you lose becuase one of your own competitors claims that you did badly is very distasteful.  And it's televised in 43 countries!  Yuck.

1 comment:

  1. heh. thank you for watching this crap so i don't have to.