Host: Howie Mandel
Network: NBC
Original Telecast: December 10, 2012

The best game shows are ones where you’re rooting for the contestants to win, you’re learning something (sometimes) in the process and you can escape from the harsh realities of the world watching someone “succeed” in actually winning something cool and expensive (while dreaming it could be you too).

Unfortunately, TAKE IT ALL provides none of those things.

Howie Mandel is the host of this tacky (and mean-spirited) new series that brings back fuzzy memories of his stint on NBC’s DEAL OR NO DEAL, unfortunately none of the warmth or playfulness of that series is brought over here.

Instead, it’s a game about selfish people who want to “take, take, take” instead of give, give, give.

And in this six-night event, we get a taste of the show, with this premiere showing us what we should expect in the nights to come.

I won’t be coming back.

The premise is actually really complicated for a show with a simple conceit. You start off with five contestants. They pick from a prize board. If they like the prize, they keep it. If they don’t want to pick a prize off the prize board, they can steal another person’s prize, but the other person can freeze that prize, but only once during the entire game. The person with the prize worth the lowest prize amount is eliminated from that round.

This goes on for two more rounds, until you’re left with two people. When this happens, they each get to pick from a bunch of envelopes with money with it, but they don’t know how much money is in the envelopes.

Then it’s decision time. If both people click on a button that says “Keep Mine”, they each get to keep the money and the prizes. If one of them clicks on “take it all” and the other “keep mine,” then they steal all of the person’s prizes and get to keep theirs too. If both press “take it all” no one wins anything.

Got it? Is your head spinning yet? Are you confused (of course you are, admit it)?

Like many of these shows, the contestants are a pretty annoying lot. In This case, the two remaining contestants are Kim, a struggling mom and teacher and John, I believe a retired teacher and a yearly Santa Claus.

At the end, when both are pleading their cases to “Keep Mine,” it seemed like they wanted to right by each other, but Kim got greedy, and decided to take it all. She took home $400,000 plus in prizes when she could have been nice and taken home $300,000.

The show should be called greed, because it gets the better of you. Afterwards, you feel kind of icky. All Kim had to do was pick prizes from a board and that’s it. There’s really very little strategy, and instead just a luck of the draw. And at the end, after not needing to be very smart to play the game, you can screw the other person over for “more.”

Yes, sounds like a show was created by that dreaded 1%.

That said, Mandel, as always, is fantastic. He’s a great host, as his stint on DEAL OR NO DEAL proved and if the tone here was better, it would be much more tolerable. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying watching this again once it’s over. The earlier rounds are playful, even when someone can steal something, but the way it ends, especially this first episode it just feels wrong.

TAKE IT ALL might be able to survive past this one-week experiment if it finds a way to simplify the rules a bit,  but maybe people want mean and see the worst traits emerge from perfectly nice people.

Wil it have a lengthy DEAL OR NO DEAL run? I seriously doubt it, but there’s enough here to be a moderate hit if NBC’s week-long gamble pays off, but for me, I don’t want to take any of this, so those that like this kind of thing, can have it all.

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Article: TV Review: TAKE IT ALL – Season 1 premiere

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  1. Agree with your assessment 100%. Won’t every watch this again. What a shocking and terrible ending. Kim looked like a greedy B—-. This promotes horrible values. Don’t watch and NBC will cancel this loser show.

  2. I agree with everything you wrote, and I won’t be watching another episode of this show either. GREED is not fun, and I refuse to celebrate it.

  3. No, this sounds like a liberal show or a welfare show. Those are the greedy people, who do nothing but take. Anway, this concept has been tried on Friend or Foe.

  4. Horrible. I watched it, was bored stiff through the whole thing. I don’t think anybody is going to ever hit keep mine, they’re all going to go for take it all after what happened on the first show. So there’s no reason to even watch. It was painful to sit through the whole thing. Boring and not fun for me at home. No anticipation, etc. Just a bunch of greedy people acting stupid. The whole thing is luck of the draw and a bad ending to boot. I won’t be back either.

  5. We watched the first night, and that was it. This is the most awful game show I’ve ever seen. My childen were horrified at the greed and nastiness of tht woman the first night. How she can possibly live with herself is beyond me. Howie Mandel and the producers should be ashamed of themselves to put this terrible show on the air, and encourage the hateful greed shown. NBC needs to cancel this asap…AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL!!!!!!!!

  6. Painful to watch. Thought it would make a good SNL skit. Very slow and complicated ….

  7. The contestants all seemed like actors that were given a script.

  8. Just watched episode 1. This was horrible. I love Howie and I know it’s his concept, but it feels very wrong when someone flat out screws someone over. Kim made me sick. I agree with your review 100% and I won’t watch anymore episodes.

  9. I love Howie and was so excited to see him again. But, this show is aweful and shocking! When the first guy lied and got the whole 1/2 million and the woman was left with nothing other than her trusting the guy who swore that he wouldn’t screw her, but did… wow! Why do I want to watch this? This is the WORST , WORST of humanity. Come on Howie! You are a funny, talented guy, surely you can come up with a fun show that isn’t this depraved!! Won’t ever watch again.

  10. Based on what I saw so far in conjunction with my experience with society, I would probably take it all, with a caveat. I would say right up front, I am taking it all, you don’t have a change to get anything. However, if you choose keep mine, then I will give you X amount of the prices. I am on national TV and this is a binding verbal contract. Any lawyers out there-I will also pay you $5,000 to represent the other contestent if I don’t share after the game.

  11. Change should be chance, prices should be prizes.

    I must say that my most favored outcome would be for both of us to choose keep mine. However, the chance of getting back stabbed is extremely high. Therefore, that is why I would most likely be right up front – my choice is non-negotiable-I am choosing Take it All. Opponent, you don’t have a chance to win anything; however, you have a chance to gain a windfall by choosing keep mine – your choice. Again, the only way to can get anything is to choose keep mine

  12. Ok, first of all this game show does not teach bad moral values. In ALMOST every single game show 1 person (or team) wins and the rest lose that’s just how game shows work. people go on game shows to win as many prizes and as much cash as possible not to let your opponent win, or even tie. Now as for luck, it it takes a little less skill then the price is right. You have to determine which one is most Likely the least valuable and stay away from it, you have to make proper judgement when to lock your item, and at the end you have to get in your opponents head.
    Although i do not like how the last round is set up, because if my opponent picks take it all i am screwed and there is absolutely nothing i can do about it because no matter what i pick i leave with nothing, so i think they should have an option to reverse take it alls with a third button. I don’t know what you all are talking about

    I feel dirty just watching it. I will shut off my TV set, when it pops on.

  14. I am so glad I’m not the only one that was greatly disturbed by this gameshow. I actually lost sleep that night thinking how horrible that woman was. She truly made it seem like she was going to work with the Santa man. Even talked about a “moral compass”. Sick. Yup, haven’t watched it since. I hope it dies–humanity show us the majority still cares.

  15. I thought it was great my husband and I are both in our 60’s and didn’t miss a show. Ya people are greedy and love to lie so what!! That’s what people do today most shows get good ratings with SEX & VIOLENCE SO WHY NOT GREED….it’s how the world goes around today. I hope it comes back on Howie Mandell is a great game show host. Those of you that didn’t like the show must just want to live in a bubble. JMO.


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