A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a game show, which means contestants compete against each other for big money -- and sometimes the competition gets a little catty. Players are identified by their occupations, which can lead to some stereotyping about their relative intelligence. The show includes two minidress-wearing "chip girls" whose only role is to distribute and confiscate contestants' playing chips. Players will occasionally use mild profanity like "I'm screwed."
What's the story?
DUEL is a game show that matches contestants against one another in a test of knowledge and strategy. A pool of 24 contestants answer trivia questions until a sole winner is left. While the questions are slightly more difficult than the average query on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, contestants on Duel don't need to know the answers to win. Players each begin a round with 10 chips, and they can use these chips to answer questions or to hedge their bets. For instance, if they're not sure if the answer is \"Cuba\" or \"Iran,\" they can place a chip on both answers, but they'll lose each chip placed on a wrong answer. Ultimately, whoever wins the most contests will have a shot to win the big bucks.
Is it any good?
Duel doesn't boast a unique style, instead blending a handful of familiar formats into a generally innocuous, if slow-going, show. Still, questions are tough enough that trivia buffs will be challenged, and they cover a wide range of topics -- from politics to celebrity facts -- offering a little something for everyone. And the fact that one person will win the huge final jackpot (more than $1.5 million) gives the show a real sense that there's something at stake.
The contestants come from a wide array of backgrounds, but the characterization of each tends toward the stereotypical. There's the used car salesman with an awkward haircut who identifies himself as a hillbilly, the Internet censor in nerdy glasses with a nervous laugh, the ATM technician from "the 'hood" who says things like "I was born ready," and so on. Host Mike Greenberg is surprisingly bland for a game show emcee, and the inclusion of the "chip girls" -- whose sole job is to remove contestants' chips from the playing table while wearing slinky minidresses -- is predictably sexist.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about book smarts versus street smarts. Which is more useful in a game like this? Is it better to be book smart than street smart? Does the game make a judgment about which kind of intelligence is better? What kind of stereotyping happens when a person is identified by their occupation? Does someone's occupation always reveal something about their intelligence or personality?