Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dilemma: Beg For Your Life

I have a dilemma: I'm not sure what to make of BBC Radio 4's new comedy panel game show Dilemma.

Sue Perkins plays host to four panelists. The central idea of the show is that these panelists are given...well, ethical dilemmas and asked what they would do. To give one example from the premiere "You are running a marathon for charity. You are extremely tired and feeling sick halfway through. Do you give up, knowing that the money is going to charity?" The panelists try to come up with logical - or at least entertaining - answers, but naturally no matter what they say, Sue finds some way to twist it around and make the situation even worse. At the end of the round, Sue awards a point to the panelist she thinks did the best job "taking the moral high ground." No attempt is made to tell us what criteria she uses to make this decision, but then who listens to a radio comedy panel game show for the scoring?

There are two rounds like that in the premiere. There's also a (frankly much more entertaining) "Beg For Your Life" round in which each panelist has to argue in favor of the existance of a hated celebrity, and the audience votes on which celebrity they would like to save. The show ends with an incomprehensible quickfire round in which Sue seems to have decided ramdomly on a correct answer to each question. After that, the panelist with the most points wins. The end.

Is it funny? Well, yeah, but not funny enough to make it stand out from the countless comedy panel game shows BBC Radio 4 has tried out over the years. There's nothing wrong with it, and as a big fan of British radio comedy panel game shows, I'm not complaining about having more of them. Still, let me put the problem this way. Since I started writing this blog, I've reviewed four new BBC Radio 4 game shows: So Wrong It's Right, It's Your Round, The Third Degree, and Dilemma. Let's imagine that Dilemma had a "Beg For Your Life" round in which each panelist had to defend the existance of one of these four shows.

I'd vote for It's Your Round.

I'll review You Deserve It next week, assuming my DVR gets the whole show - my local ABC station is pushing it to the middle of the night to make room for a football game.


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