Set Design- 9
Show Flow- 6
Potential Viewer Ratings- 5
Play-Along Factor- 9
Overall Rating- 7.3
Premise: A couple is faced with a maximum of seven multiple-choice questions. One question in each game is designated as the Couples Challenge, where the couple plays a 60-second physical stunt (e.g.: arrange baby food flavors with the correct names). Each correct answer wins the couple a prize and an incorrect answers earns the couple a strike. If a couple needs help with a question, they may use their “Umbilical Cord” help, which enables them to ask a nurse or a family member for help. At a random point during the game, the couple will be asked a Bonus Question, which has no outcome in the main game, for an extra $500 if they can successfully list 10 answers correctly (worth $50 each) based on the question in 30 seconds. If the couple can answer the seventh question correctly before earning two strikes, the couple wins a $10,000 college fund for their child that will mature over the next 18 years. Otherwise, the game ends and the couple keeps the prizes they’ve won.
And now, for the review…
I don’t have a lot to say about Labor Games that I haven’t said already in my past reviews concerning look-a-like ambush game shows such as Pumped. Aside from the show’s approach of surprising couples during waning hours of pregnancy, Labor Games is nothing more than another Cash Cab ripoff from the impromptu bonus challenges to the ask-a-friend, Umbilical Cord lifeline. To add insult to injury, it appears the show comes off more as intrusive and awkward than entertaining from a viewer’s perspective, especially during the times when the wife is experiencing moments of pain and discomfort due to her contractions throughout the show and is unable to play the game to the best of her ability. There are even a few times where the couples don’t seem really enthusiastic about participating on the show.
Keeping this in mind, Labor Games does have some redeeming qualities including the informative child-centered questions, the excellent lineup of prizes at stake, including vacation getaways and the $10,000 scholarship, and how host Lisa Arch strives to make the games as fun as possible to keep the couples in good spirit while being sincerely empathetic and pausing the game at appropriate times in between the wife’s contractions. As far as the questions are concerned, while there are a few baby-related pop culture questions thrown into the mix, there are plenty of interesting parental trivia facts included that will guaranteed viewers to learn something new every show including your child’s timeouts lasting one minute per year of life according to healthychildren.org.
Overall, although this is one of the most unique takes on an ambush game show I’ve ever seen, Labor Games is still nothing more than yet another Cash Cab ripoff. Even though this game show allows the viewers to virtually participate in the joys and pains of each couple’s final moments of childbirth and watch them with a fantastic array of prizes for their newborn, this is a series TLC could have gone without. With the series officially premiering later this year, I predict Labor Games will be a one-and-done game show at the end of the television year.