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The Misery Index

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Misery Index TV Poster Image
Painful game show ranks embarrassing moments for laughs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Life events can be painful, traumatizing, have a long-term impact on people, but can also be used to have some laughs and win money. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The comedians find humor in every situation, but also feel bad for many people they see. They are supportive of contestants. 

Violence

Video excerpts feature people falling, being attacked by animals, etc., but no blood or gore is shown. Descriptions of injuries and other events, some of which include post-event photos of healed amputations and other injuries. 

Sex

Strong sexual innuendo in the form of jokes; some crude references, including "boobs" and "t-ts." 

Language

Words like "hell" and "bitch" audible. "Boobs," "t-ts." Bathroom humor. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional jokes about drinking, etc. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Misery Index is a comedy game show where people rank miserable, specific, real-life scenarios in hopes of winning a cash prize. There's lots of sexual innuendo, including some crude references to body parts, as well as bathroom humor and occasional strong language. Social media posts describe painful events, and images and videos sometimes show people involved in freak accidents, being chased by wild animals, and other potentially miserable situations. Post-event injuries are sometimes shown, but no blood or gore is shown. 

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What's the story?

THE MISERY INDEX is a game show that allows people to make money off of other people's anguish. Hosted by Jameela Jamil, it stars The Tenderloins, a comedy group that includes James "Murr" Murray, Joe Gatto, Brian Q. Quinn, and Sal Vulcano. Divided into teams of two, the comedians are joined by two contestants, and they watch strange, weird, and awful real-life events highlighted in news media, social media posts, and internet videos. They are then tasked with how to appropriately rank how funny, embarrassing, or miserable each one is according to an index system developed by a team of therapists. The contestant on the winning team gets a shot at winning $30,000. 

Is it any good?

Based on the card game Sh*t Happens, this irreverent show mixes humor and competition by requiring comedians to guess how painful, traumatizing, or impactful someone's bad situation is, for cash. However, while The Misery Index isn't meant to be mean spirited, audiences will probably find themselves laughing more at the videos and social media posts featured than at the one-liners, which often fall flat. But despite the attempts at humor, the cast often appears sensitive to, and even horrified by, what's shown and described to them. Some may not appreciate what The Misery Index has to offer, but folks who like off-the-wall comedy may find it fun. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about poking fun or laughing at people's embarrassing or frightening experiences. Is this ever appropriate? How do you cope with it if it happens to you?

  • Would The Misery Index be entertaining if it didn't feature comedians? What kind of show would it be?

TV details

For kids who love game shows

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