The Vast Wasteland

Sheila's rantings, most likely of no interest, on TV, movies, books, music, etc.

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

I live in Seattle, am married, have two cats (one is a genius, the other insane), and am a mild-mannered copy editor by day. I love horseback riding, coffee, reading, TV, movies, music, playing (too much) World of Warcraft, and lying on the couch. This isn't a personal blog, but rather a place for me to vent about movies, TV shows, books, music, etc. Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Without a Trace Betting Game!

This is stolen from teevee.org--linky here.

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The 'Without a Trace' Betting Game

by Lisa Schmeiser — January 10, 6:20 PM

We are big fans of Without A Trace in the Schmeiser-Michaels household. Insofar as procedural dramas goes, this one tends to be well-written, well-acted and beautifully shot and directed. It’s one of the better shows on network television, and it’s one of the few that’s remained at a consistently high quality year in and year out.

However, we are prone to letting episodes pile up on the TiVo because in addition to being very well-written and well-acted and well-shot, Without A Trace is also very depressing. Any given episode includes things like tragic murders, tragic deaths or tragic comeuppances which prompt a death wish on someone’s part. Invariably, the theme of the episode is “Once people discover your secrets, your life might as well be over.” After an episode last season in which the missing woman (Elizabeth Pena) was shot by her brother, thus leaving her foster children to the vagaries of the social services, I curled up in the fetal position on the floor and refused to watch our remaining Without A Trace stockpile until the urge to end it all passed.

Fortunately, the Schmeiser-Michaels household has come up with a solution for TV drama trauma. Because TV drinking games are so dreadfully ubiquitous, we have elected not to go that route. Instead, we’re turning to the vice of gambling. The rules are simple: before starting an episode of Without A Trace, turn to the other habitues of your gambling parlor — or living room, whatever — and ask the money question: “Alive or dead?” People state their options and lay down their money. At the end of the episode, at least one viewer will be happy.

If this simple wagering is too easy for you — after all, it is akin to betting on a coin flip — you can always make the rules more complicated. Some suggestions below:

WIN — This is simple: is the missing person dead or alive?

PLACE — Is the missing person dead or alive? Which one of the FBI agents is the primary one to take the case personally?

SHOW — Is the missing person dead or alive? Which one of the FBI agents is the primary one to take the case personally? In what specific manner will this case advance their characterization? Note: this is a tough one to take if it looks like Viv is going to crack the case, since she’s the sole person on the crew with a functioning home life, and that bum ticker looks to be cleared up. Fortunately, since Viv rarely gets the same type of attention on the show that Danny, Sam or Jack do, you may never have this problem.

QUINELLA — Is the missing person dead or alive? Identify the two FBI agents who are going to be at the dramatic reveal of the Dead or Alive. Note: this is a bet you have to make only if everyone in the pool’s completely unspoiled. This way, nobody can use their TiVo episode guide to cheat and predict a Danny/Viv episode in which Danny reaches out to a troubled youth after his missing mentor is found dead.

PERFECTA — Is the missing person dead or alive? Identify the two two-agent teams who will make the most significant case-cracking, in order of their significant contributions. Note: this is a good sweeps-episode bet to make, even if the payoff’s small, since those episodes lend themselves well to the six primary characters splitting off into all sorts of teams. It doesn’t pay well, though.

TRIFECTA — Is the missing person dead or alive? Identify the two two-agent teams who will make the most significant case-cracking, no order needed. But also identify the exact issue we’ll see in the episode: love life issues, Daddy Didn’t Love Me issues or God, I’m Incompetent, Aren’t I? issues.

SUPERFECTA — Dead or alive? Name the working duos in the episode and correctly rank the significance of their contributions on the case. Then identify the issue the dominant investigating teams will grapple with in the case: love life issues, Daddy Didn’t Love Me issues or God, I’m Incompetent, Aren’t I? issues.

DAILY DOUBLE — Use this whenever you’re watching two episodes: correctly predict the Dead or Alive answer for each. You do have a one-in-four shot of being right. Note: this bet is invalid in any to-be-continued episode set.

PICK THREE — Perfect for sweeps! Call the Dead or Alive question for the next three episodes. You do have a one-in-eight shot of getting it right. Note: this bet is invalid in any to-be-continued episode set.

Once you have money riding on the outcome of the episode, you’re far less likely to be rendered catatonic by an unbearably poignant and/or tragic ending. Instead, you may be annoyed at losing your $20 or you may be inappropriately elated at the episode’s outcome, but really, aren’t those better than moping? We certainly think so.

2 Comments:

Blogger John said...

What? No "thrown furniture" category?

Seriously, no amount of wagering is worth the crushing, overbearing depression that show leaves behind.

2/01/2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

My favorite bet: guess the issues the agent will have to deal with in the episode!

Will it be: love life issues, Daddy Didn’t Love Me issues, or God, I’m Incompetent, Aren’t I? issues.

2/01/2006 11:39 AM  

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