What happened, TV quiz shows? You used to be so good to us.
Oh sure, when we first started seeing you it was only small, jokey gifts. The microwave ovens, the Wedgewood dinner set, or the collection of encyclopaedias. With the occasional speedboat thrown in, just to keep us interested.
Of course, we weren’t only with you for the prizes. We were there for the drama. The highs, the lows. The fact that you pushed us, and taught us. That you made us better than we were before you.
Then your prize fund crept up. Suddenly a mantle-piece clock was to be sneered at. Instead we were now looking at a prize fund of up to £1,000,000. Not an inconsequential sum, I’m sure you’ll agree. In fact, the first £1000 was so offensively easy that failure to get it was basically akin to failure at life. Heads would be forever hung in shame (and presumably sent rolling when you got home empty handed).
And while that top prize was but a lofty ambition, achievable by only a few of the highest flyers, the excitement of watching more than a few Icari try only added to the drama.
But… did we do something wrong? Now we can hope for a prize fund of a few thousand. Probably split amongst other contestants. And that’s assuming we get anything at all. We can get all the way through the rounds, battling off the competition only to fall at the final hurdle. Which is presumably a format they’re working to put into an actual show (in a world where The Edge exists, anything is viable).
Instead we need to outperform a professional quizzer, or come up with an answer no one else did, or roll a pissing ball a certain amount of distance.
We understand that the recession hit, and we expected some belt-tightening. But to bring us all that way, to get the people in the studio only to end with the damp squib of “well, at least I’ve had a lovely time” is just not what we expect any more. You’ve shown us a different life. A better life.
We’ve grown accustomed to the finer things, and we expect better of you. If you don’t provide we’re leaving you for reality TV. And we’ll take the speedboat with us.