There were two shows that I sat in on that got incredibly uncomfortable for the audience. The first was an extreme spelling bee hosted by Alfonso Ribeiro, aka Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It sounds like a fever dream, but I am not making this up.
It was named Spell-Mageddon. Definitely by Carlton himself.
The show lasted one season, which is actually pretty amazing, given that the contestants had to spell words while being tortured with electric shocks. People were screaming in pain, but listen to the audience in that video -- they're clapping and cheering like good little drones. It was like a televised Milgram experiment. At least you can take consolation in the fact that live torture does not make a random sampling of people clap-happy -- the show had to pay for those reactions.
The other one, which, despite the better nature of God and man, is somehow still on the air, was the accurately titled Bet on Your Baby. On this show, parents place wagers on their infant's ability to complete certain tasks for a chance to win that amount toward a college fund for the child. I'm pretty sure I've been witness to the end of more than a few marriages thanks to this show.
"Eh, the baby was the only reason this marriage started. Figures that it would end it."
One woman pulled her husband aside off camera and lost her entire shit at him after he failed to help their child do his tricks as well as she would have liked. With so much money at stake and tensions so high, I'm almost certain there was some post-performance child abuse going on. But you don't think about that -- you awwww for the child, make sad noises when the parents lose, and cheer when they win. Any calls to child services must be made on your own time.
Manna is looking into paying people to laugh at her jokes on Twitter.
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