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 money -- literal piles of it -- is an important player in this high-stakes game show that asks contestants to bet bundles of cash on the right answers to multiple-choice questions. The two-player format reinforces teamwork and critical thinking, but with only 60 seconds to answer each question, it can feel more frantic than thoughtful. A few everyday brand names are mentioned, and there's some rare, low-level swearing (think "hell") in moments of excitement.
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What's the story?
In MILLION DOLLAR MONEY DROP, punchy couples bet piles of money on the right answers to general-knowledge trivia questions, ranging from the most popular brand of breakfast cereal to the average number of shoes in a woman's closet. Each team starts out with $1 million in cash, and over the course of seven rounds, they must place the money in front of the correct multiple-choice answer to a given question. If they choose wisely, they get to keep the cash. But if they choose poorly, the money they bet on the wrong answer literally drops into a chute -- and out of their lives forever.
Is it any good?
As is the case with a lot of "original" programming these days, Million Dollar Money Drop was adapted from a hit British game show, The Million Pound Drop Live. Thanks to exchange rates, the Brits actually stand to win more cash. But America's upped the ante for players in true Yank style with a supersized set and sleekly engineered drop chutes hooked up to hydraulics that literally seem to suck the money out of sight.
At first, it's odd to imagine Kevin Pollak, who's best known for playing subtle sidekick roles in dramatic fare like A Few Good Men and The Usual Suspects, playing the role of a game show host. And, given Million Dollar Money Drop's extreme production values, it still kind of is ... although when you consider Pollak's stand-up comedy background and his stint as the host of Celebrity Poker Showdown -- and the fact that celebrity chef Guy Fieri can successfully host Minute to Win It -- it doesn't feel so wrong after all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's format and the role that greed plays in a game like this. If you left with a mere $20,000 out of the $1 million you initially started with, would you still be satisfied? Why does starting out with so much cash make $20,000 seem like chump change?
What strategies do the most successful teams employ? Does it pay off to be a risk-taker, or is it better to play it safe? Do partners always get an equal say, or does one player tend to take charge?
How does this show compare to other TV game shows? (Hint: Think about lighting, music, format, etc.) Is it more or less extreme than a show like Deal or No Deal? Has the million-dollar prize become a game-show standard?
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