May 20, 2022
Hosted by Howie Mandel.
You know how quiz shows usually require contestants to know something to win? Well, Netflix must have seen enough of that bullshit and now presents the perfect game show for anyone who has no idea what they’re talking about but acts like the smartest person in the room anyway.
The aptly named “Bullshit” gives one lucky player a chance to win $1 million by answering 10 relatively esoteric trivia questions. There are two ways to take it to the next level: select the correct answer or convince a panel of would-be geniuses that they know what the correct answer is despite being completely fucked up.
By emphasizing the explanation rather than the answer itself, “Bullshit” is like a backwards version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, which often encouraged its contestants to annoyingly explain why. they chose their response.
On “Bullshit”, players are presented with four multiple-choice answers on a touch screen in front of them, and once they select an answer, they only see whether it is correct or not. They are then asked by host Howie Mandel to explain the answer to three challengers who must assess whether the player is telling the truth. If they get the answer right, they move on. If they got it wrong, they have to hope that at least one of the panelists falls for their explanation bullshit, or they’ll be eliminated.
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Potential bullshit has two opportunities per game to lock in at a winning level, so when they are finally eliminated, they won’t lose more than that amount. It’s kind of funny how many players actually choose to lock out at the basement level of $1,000 out of fear of walking away with nothing, only to not have access to that lock later in the game when the potential losses are exponentially higher.
Challengers in the panel of so-called bullshit detectors have their own incentive to correctly guess whether the player is lying to them or not. When the game ends, the panelist who was most accurate in calling bullshit can then play for the million dollars.
While this game mechanic is meant to deter a panelist from always siding with a player just to see them continue to rise through the ranks, it raises questions about what panelists might do when the player approaches a million. Some of them just like to shout “bullshit” with every answer. But if a panelist has no chance of becoming the main player and a million dollars is at stake, will they vote just to see the person win? A game with a cynical title like “Bullshit” probably expects all of its participants to vote out of spite.
Mandel, who’s no stranger to game show settings, keeps the absurd procedural appropriately — no surprise given a premise that’s obviously geared toward comedic reactions. God forbids anyone to actually know an answer.
The first season is 10 half-hour episodes. While some contestants’ races are thankfully short, others are spread over several episodes, which are treated as cliffhangers by Mandel in the manner of a typical game show. Seems a bit odd considering it’s Netflix and the next episode automatically plays right away. But editing tropes and lore is what it is, I guess – as much bullshit as anything else.