New game show ‘Divided’… Is it compulsive or repulsive viewing?
To answer my own question in the title, I still can’t decide if it’s compulsive or repulsive viewing, but I know the final few minutes made me squirm…
Here’s what ITV’s press release said of the show: “GMTV’s Andrew Castle presents Divided – a thrilling new game show that sees thousands of pounds up for grabs every weekday afternoon. But contestants will only walk away with the cash if they can work together and agree on absolutely everything.
In each game, three strangers have one simple task. Answer up to fifteen general knowledge questions unanimously to win a major cash prize. The clock is ticking and for each second that goes by without an agreed answer, money is lost…
“But they’ll only end up with the money at the end of the game if they can agree on the final split of the prize. If not, they lose the lot.
There’s a tense twist waiting for the contestants. Whatever prize money the team have built up will be shared between them – but it won’t be divided equally.
The prize fund will be split into three uneven shares – one large, one medium and one small – and the contestants themselves must decide unanimously who gets which share.
Who will control the dialogue? Who has the most general knowledge? Who is the most persuasive? And who will go home with the most cash? United they conquer… divided they part.”
So, to sum up, three people answer questions, they accumulate money then they have a couple of minutes at the end to split the spoils into three amounts of 60%, 25%, 15%. And this is the bit that made me squirm as they bickered over who deserved what. It brought out the worst of the greed elements in the contestants and was pretty hideous/fascinating to watch…
As time ticked away, they lost the lot because they couldn’t agree who should get the lower prize funds. Moral of the story? I suppose it’s greed=zero and that old idiom my mother used to say to me which was, “I want doesn’t get.”
It was interesting from a psychological point of view in that in the first place, it was all about cooperating and teamwork and patting each other on the back but within minutes, the tide turned and it ended up where I thought there was a good chance that the contestants wouldn’t pee on each other if they were on fire.
For the majority of the show, it was all very standard game show format; Charlie, Louise and Sian were asked questions, they collaborated on the answers, won money… but then lost every penny, and I’d have given my right arm to see what happened backstage after the show. That would’ve been far more interesting than the show itself and I imagine it resembled a Jerry Springer type confrontation.
So to recap the horror ending, with the prize total at £30,068, Andrew asked Charlie who he believed had been the ‘weaker’ player. Charlie said Sian had, which she took with relative equanimity – apart from a feeble “Personally, I disagree” – and Louise agreed with Charlie.
Andrew then announced that the prize fund would be split into three lots of £21,000, £6,000 and £3,068 and the three contestants had 100 seconds – during which time the cash prize diminished to zero if they hadn’t agreed on who was to get what – but before the 100 seconds kicked in, each person had 15 seconds to say which amount they reckoned they deserved, so the arguing and defending of each person’s contribution to winning that amount commenced… and it was pretty ugly viewing.
Louise stated that she’d come to win and wasn’t backing down, she wanted prize fund A, the £21,000. Next up was Charlie, who said that he’d been the “strongest player and we wouldn’t have got through round 3 without my help” and he too wanted prize fund A, and he wasn’t for backing down either. Throughout his ‘speech’, Louise looked at him with an expression on her face similar to that of a bulldog chewing a wasp or someone who’d just trodden in dog poo. Sian then claimed prize fund B, the £6,000 and stated that she knew she’d been the ‘weaker’ player and wasn’t being greedy, so it was down to Louise and Charlie to fight it out…
And as the money ticked away, the previously meek and rather quiet Sian, with hands on hips, got testy and began yelling about the fact that neither Charlie nor Louise would back down. Charlie and Louise accused each other of the whole “well you’ve ruined it now” thing and all the time, Sian was all but jumping on the spot as she watched the prize fund drop by the second.
At 50 seconds, Andrew announced a “time out” at which point, prize fund A was £10,680, B was £3,050 and C was £1,525…
Then the clock began again and words like, “pig headed”, “stubborn” and “unreasonable” were bandied about. Charlie accused Louise of selfishness in denying money to Sian who by now had said she’d accept C “because I need it” but Louise, still with the wasp firmly in her mouth declared again that she was not backing down. She’d rather go home with nothing than accept less than A. Sian by now was frantic and said, “Right then, we’re all going home with nothing! You two have ruined this for everyone!”
She said it in the manner of the multitude of parents who’ve ever uttered the words, “If you don’t stop it I’m turning this car around and we’re going back home!”
With neither Charlie nor Louise willing to budge on their claim to A – and Charlie performing a random little dance for no apparent reason – time ran out and nobody won anything. Sian cried, Charlie raised his arms skyward and shouted “Wahay victory!” while Louise still chewed her wasp.
Andrew then moved to Sian’s side and told Louise that “Most people watching this would say that it’s kinda your fault you lost all the money” to which she angrily said that Charlie also refused to swap his claim to anything less than A so it was just as much his fault as hers. By now, Sian was sobbing and Charlie said, “I’m really sorry I…” at which point Louise and Charlie talked over each other, both claiming to have been the stronger player. Sian then cried, “I think you’re both SO childish!”
At the end, after Andrew had thanked them for being on the show, each contestant did a ‘Weakest Link’ styly speech in which Charlie blamed Louise, Louise blamed Charlie and Sian blamed them both.
Andrew ended the show inviting us to watch the next episode, “When” he added, “We hope three strangers will be united, not divided”
I can’t deny the show appealed to the bit in me that loves a bust-up on Big Brother for example; but just what is it that makes watching strangers argue so fascinating?? I have no idea, but while I found it hideously uncomfortable viewing during the last few minutes, I was glued.
The rest of the show, as I’ve said, was rather mundane and standard gameshow stuff but will I be tuning in again just for the last ten minutes to watch three total strangers lose control as their greed, pride and stubbornness ensures they lose everything?? Damn right I will!
What did you think of it?
In case you missed this first show, you can see it again on ITV Player here.