Howdy folks, I know it’s Wednesday, and you were probably expecting a Webcomic Wednesday post, but seeing as the last 5 days of my life (and the last two blog posts) have been rather webcomic-centric, I feel as though I needed to mix things up a little. So I’m going to talk about Cash Cab instead. Why? Because it’s the best show ever created, that’s why. Need more proof? Keep reading, gentle viewers.
For those not in the know, Cash Cab is a game show on the Discovery Channel (new episodes air at 6pm Mon-Fri, and are flanked by re-runs at 5, 5:30, and 6:30). The basic premise is that the host (Ben Bailey) drives around in an NYC cab and picks people up off the street. When they enter the cab and announce their destination, disco lights in the cab’s roof go off and he announces that they’re on a game show. They are asked basic trivia questions on the way to their destination, with different dollar amounts that increase as the questions get harder. They get three “strikes”, or wrong answers. After three, Ben kicks them out of the cab no matter where they are. If they make it all the way to their destination with two strikes or fewer, they get the choice of keeping their money or opting to go double or nothing (except a free cab ride) on a video bonus question. Got it? Ok, so here we go:
10 Reasons Why Cash Cab is the Best Show Ever:
10. Snarking on the Contestants From Your Couch
We all do it while watching game shows. We look at the contestants answering questions we feel as if we could answer in our sleep, and we laugh and mock from our cozy living rooms. My roommate and I, however, have taken this to a whole new level. We recently started the trend of imagining what the life of each contestant is like: “She thinks she’s better in bed than she really is”; “He is so posting about this to his Twitter later”; “Man, they must have really horrible, awkward sex”. For those of us who enjoy a little people-watching (and yes, baseless judgment), Cash Cab is a must.
9. Contestants Who Seem Offended By The Concept
Once the disco lights get started, some passengers just don’t seem to get it. One woman asked the host if he could “turn that down, please”. A few others seem miffed that their peaceful cab ride has been interrupted with this silly opportunity to win lots of cash. It leads me to wonder how many people whom the cab picks up flat-out refuse the ride. I’m willing to bet there’s a few funny blooper reels out there.
8. Contestants Who Think They’re Smarter Than They Are
This is another common category for game show contestants: those who think they know more than they do. You know the ones, the ones who confidently declare that Paris is the capital of Spain with nary a consultation of their fellow passengers or using a lifeline, which leads us to…
7 & 6. Mobile and Street Shout-Outs
In the vein of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Cash Cab allows their contestants two “shoutouts” if they get stuck on a question. The mobile shoutouts are fairly innocuous, but every once and a while you get one where the shoutee is on the other line, or asking inane questions to the contestant. The real gem are the street shoutouts, wherein the cab pulls over and the contestants ask people on the streets of NYC if they know the answer. The really hilarious part is watching the contestants try and suss out who to ask. Will the young, yuppie couple know the answer to the William Henry Harrison question? Will the old woman with the shopping cart know anything about particle accelerators? Will the naked cowboy be able to name the Nobel Peace Prize winner from 1986? You could cut the tension with a knife!
5. The Contestant in the Back Seat Who Contributes Nothing
When the Universe smiles down upon me, and there are three contestants in the cab, it is almost guaranteed that the one who sits in the back will be completely useless. On one memorable episode, an “aspiring model”, her mom, and (presumably) her agent were picked up. The “model” sat in the back seat and offered one suggestion to a question which was so far out of left field that her mother actually said, “Quiet down, dear.” Model stayed mum for the rest of the game. Most of the back seat riders are either like model, and stay quiet, or they keep shouting answers at their cohorts, who act like they don’t exist. It’s like watching kids at a high school cafeteria.
4. The Prospect of the Contestants Getting Mugged
When the game ends, contestants that have won money get it in cash from our driver/host, Ben. They are then filmed leaving the cab, waving their newly-won cash in the air. I’m eagerly awaiting the day when one of them gets tackled and robbed. Yes, I do enjoy schadenfreude, why do you ask?
3. The Great Debate: To Double Up, or Not to Double Up?
My roommate and I have this discussion every time we watch the show. We sit and debate what amount of money, dependent on how many ways it would be split, would you be willing to wager on the double or nothing video bonus question? For me, the cut off is around the $750 range for two people. $375 per person is a lot of money for starving hipsters. But what if you could make $1500? What if? WHAT IF? It becomes a very heated discussion, especially around the time when our rent is due.
2. Ben Bailey
Ben Bailey is truly a renaissance man. I mean, take a second and think about all he does on this show. He drives a legitimate, licensed cab in New York City. He does it while asking questions. And driving a direct route to the contestants’ destination. He does it while carrying around large sums of cash. I’m frankly amazed he hasn’t had an accident as far as I know of. Let’s face it, the man is a true American Vehicular Hero. I can barely chew and drive at the same time. Also, he’s pretty easy on the old eyeballs.
1. The Possibility of Winning an Insane Amount of Money in a Taxicab
Let’s face it, if you’ve watched the show before, the next time you were in NYC, you looked for the Cash Cab. I know I did. And still do. Not only because I’m a trivia nerd, but because it’s an accessible format. We all take cabs, even if only once and a while. You watch the show and you feel like “Yeah, man, this could totally happen to me.” Some contestants have walked away with as much as $2250 (click the link to see the actual game). And that can buy a LOT of beer, my friends. A LOT of beer.