"Are You Normal America?" Review

Set Design- 9
Gameplay- 6
Show Flow- 5
Potential Viewer Ratings- 5
Play-Along Factor- 10
Hosts- 6
Overall Rating- 6.8

Premise- A team of two contestants have to determine whether a certain behavior or action is either “normal” or “not normal”, according to a survey of over 1,000 Americans. Occasionally, the team will be asked a Follow-Up question concerning the “Poll Posse”, a panel comprised of ten people.  In the Follow-Up question, the team will have to determine which panelist performed the action described in the question.  The first eight questions are worth $1,000 to $8,000, in that order. Every correct answer adds the question value to the team’s total winnings and every incorrect answer adds nothing to the team’s bank.  The final three questions are multiple-choice questions and are worth $10,000; $20,000; and $40,000 respectively. The $10,000 question has two choices, the $20,000 question has three choices, and the $40,000 question has four choices. If the team misses any of the final three questions, they lose the bonus money they have accumulated from the bonus questions. If they answer all three final questions correctly, the team will add $70,000 to their winnings. The team can walk away from the game with their winnings after answering any of the first two final questions correctly. The maximum amount a team can win is $106,000.

And now, for the review…

For OWN’s first attempt at creating an original game show, the network has done a decent job. Are You Normal America? is an entertaining show for the most part and fun to play-along. This game show is very interactive and engaging to those who are generally interested in what is normal and what isn’t in today’s society. For example, on the first episode, I was slightly surprised that it is more normal for people to cut their own hair rather than drink a whole bottle of wine by themselves, according to a survey. The intriguing survey questions remind me of the thought-provoking questions on Card Sharks. I like the premise of the show, the $100,000+ grand prize, and the gameplay is solid. However, I do have a few complaints about the new game show.

Follow-Up Questions: I don’t like how the follow-up questions are formatted. The low chance (1/10) of a team answering a follow-up question correctly doesn’t match up with the money at stake, which range in value between $2,000-$7,000. The follow-up questions are better designed for a bonus question for an end game. A better follow-up question format would be to guess the percentage of people who thought the action was normal or not normal within five percent, high or low, or guess how many people in the Poll Posse have or haven’t done the action to give the contestants a better chance of answering the question correctly. I noticed that the follow-up questions on this show are more so designed for entertainment and comical purposes.

Host: I am not impressed with Barry Poznick as the host of the show. As a host, he lacks enthusiasm and doesn’t spend much time to get know the contestants well during the interviews. Kim Coles would serve as a better host for this show because of her personality, high energy, household name recognition, and overall excitement for the show and the contestants winning. Furthermore, this show does not need a co-host for the Poll Posse portion of the show. This show will function perfectly well without one. A co-host wasn’t needed when Bob Eubanks hosted Card Sharks with their special survey panel of ten back then, and a co-host isn’t needed now for Are You Normal, America?

“Solo” Gameplay: Even though teams are playing on this show, the solo player format is played out. This show would work better as a two-player or two-team format to bring more dynamic, excitement, and competition to the show.

Question Variety: Although the questions and categories on the show are interesting to say the least, there should be more variety in the type of people who are being surveyed. The questions should be divided into national polls, local man-on-the-street polls among 21 people, studio audience polls, state polls, and even “Poll Posse” polls to bring more variety to the game, and the contestants should be able to select their own categories.

Overall, Are You Normal America? is a decent game show. However, you can tell that this is a ZOO Productions show through the commercial break teasers/spoilers, game format, and the audience’s laughter and applause cues placed in unnecessary spots during the show. The Poll Posse portion of the show is always fun to watch and play at home like watching To Tell The Truth or Identity, in terms of guessing which person performed a certain action.  This is an entertaining game show to watch and equally fun to test yourself to determine how “normal” you really are.

Watch new episodes of Are You Normal America? every Monday night at 9:00pm on OWN!!!
**All screenshots have been taken from the actual episodes of Are You Normal America?  No ownership is implied.**
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