Sunday, March 19, 2006

TV: Cash Cab

How long has this Discovery Channel game show been on? And why isn’t it an enormous hit?

The rules couldn’t be simpler. Unsuspecting New Yorkers hail a taxi and are quizzed on trivia by their driver. The questions are worth more money – and become more difficult – the closer they get to their destination. Get three wrong and they’re booted out of the cab. I haven’t seen anyone abandoned on a bridge or in a tunnel yet, although a pair of college kids came close to being left to the mercies of the FDR Drive the other day.

The contestants get two shoutouts – one on the phone, one out the window. The latter proves surprisingly helpful. Passersby in New York are an erudite bunch, happy to tell you that the Frank Gehry-designed outpost of the Guggenheim Museum is in Bilbao, Spain.

This show fulfills two of my long-held fantasies: that a complete stranger will ask me general knowledge questions out of the blue for money, and that I will get out of a cab with more cash than I started with. Neither has ever happened to me. Now, there is hope.

Miscellaneous: Links

Via Mark Evanier, a fascinating interview with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. And from James Reasoner, the 100 science fiction novels you have to read.