In It to Win It

Avatar Author: Ben Paddon British-born writer and geek humorist living and working in Los Angeles, California. I'm the writer and host of PortsCenter (, the co-creator and co-writer of Dalek Gary ( Read Bio

There is a game show. Anyone can be chosen as a contestant. You simply wake up in the studio to applause, the host sitting across from you, smiling, warm, friendly.

The rules are simple – answer questions, increase your cash winnings. Get all the questions right, walk away with substantial cash winnings. Get a question wrong and lose it all. It’s a familiar format, a safe format. Like a hundred-thousand game shows before it.

Then the host starts asking questions.

This is not a general knowledge quiz. There are no questions about pop music of the 1980s, or capital cities, or celebrity marriages. Instead, the host asks, calmly and without emotional inflection, questions about you. Questions you don’t ask yourself. Questions you dare not ask yourself. Questions about about your mistakes, your regrets, about the people you have hurt. As you progress the questions go deeper, get more personal, become more uncomfortable.

Few contestants leave the studio with a cash prize. But everybody goes home empty-handed.

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Comments (3 so far!)

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  1. Ahfl_icon THX 0477

    I like the idea and nicely told. Not the kind of show I’d want to be part of. I think I’d be out after 2 or 3 questions.

  2. Avatar AnthonyTNT

    I really like this concept. I think this could spin off in all kinds of interesting directions with outcomes ranging from hilarious, to heart rendering, to tragic, to evil. Who knows? It made me think of a book I read a few years ago by Chuck Palahniuk, “Haunted” . . . and that’s all i have to say about that book, other then, reading it, might spawn some good ideas for your piece. I like the lead in a lot!

  3. Avatar Kespan

    Brutal – I know I certainly wouldn’t want to play this game. Introspection is it in a public setting and I don’t think most people would last too long.

    Great piece!

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