Quarantine Catch-Up: “The Misery Index″ Rapid Review

Since the genre has existed for more than 80 years, producers have developed a rich variety of ideas for game shows. One of the more unique concepts that is frequently utilized is transforming board games into television adaptations. There have been a lot of hits, like Scrabble and Picktureka!, as well as a lot of misses like Monopoly and The Game Of Life. The Misery Index definitely belongs in the former category after watching its first season. Released by Goliath Games in 2017, TBS newest game show is based on the card game Shit Happens and was created by Andy Ackerman, executive producer and writer of the mid-2000s USA Network crime dramedy series Monk.

The Misery Index: The Ultimate Schadenfreude Game Show

May 14 marks the show’s second season premiere on TBS. Hosted by actress Jameela Jamil, two teams comprised of a civilian contestant and two members of the comedy team The Tenderloins compete against each other in a series of three rounds where teams earn cash by correctly predicting where terrible and true events rank on the “Misery Index” on a scale between 0-100. Each real-life situation is scientifically measured according to the “Three Pillars of Misery”: physical pain, emotional trauma and long-term psychological impact. The team with the highest total after three rounds keeps their winnings and plays in the “Range Game”-esque bonus round appropriately called “Margin of Misery” for a chance to win up to an additional $30,000.

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The Misery Index is quite fascinating to watch because of how engaging and thought-provoking the game is. It’s the ideal show to add to your game night festivities, especially if you’re enjoy “would-you-rather” hypothetical scenario-based games accompanied with cringey yet comical clips and news stories that will inevitably spark lively conversations and boisterous, light-hearted debates about the horrendous and eye-bulging worse-case situations seen on the show. Although Jameela Jamil has done a solid job hosting the show and running it at an excellent pace through each episode so far, the comedic commentaries and antics from the show’s resident celebrity guests and Impractical Jokers stars The Tenderloins make the show more energetic and electric, especially when we watch them cleverly (and sometimes clumsily) used logic and reasoning to rank each ridiculous moment. 

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The more interesting aspect of the series is the surprisingly academic approach and the exceptionally great lengths the creators and producers used to measure each miserable moment by enlisting the aide and assistance by licensed psychological professionals. It would have been equally intriguing to see how each terrible event would be ranked if the rankings were based on the producers crowdsourcing from the studio audience and/or surveying online participants.

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Overall, The Misery Index is a welcome addition to TBS’s lineup and is a hilarious combination of Shit Happens and MTV’s Ridiculousness. Bringing The Tenderloins aboard was a brilliant move to invite an established audience who can’t get enough of the comedy troupe from simply watching Impractical Jokers in order to solidify a strong viewership worthy enough of a season renewal. Who knew that being so miserable could be so rewarding?

Rapid Review Score: 8.5/10

Prediction: TBS would make its viewers miserable if the network chooses not to renew it for a third season (with a better time slot).

Watch The Misery Index Thursday nights beginning May 14 on TBS! Catch up on all 10 episodes from the first season on TBS.com!

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