Text by: Robert Seidelman
GSN's been on a roll lately with originals. Shows like American Bible Challenge and The Chase have been well received. Minute To Win It was a fine revival of a show, but sadly looks like it won't stick around to see another go-round. With a good bumper crop like that, people were expecting to have some fun with the new Mindless Entertainment show, Mind of a Man. Unfortunately, the show itself leaves a lot to be desired.
The shows host is DeRay Davis, and he tries. He tries so hard to make this show worth watching, but ultimately falls short. He tries to interject the humor that he's known for, but sometimes it just falls flat and he is also handcuffed by the panel and the guest that comes out from time to time, whether it's Ted Lange, another celebrity or a random person on the staff or a character played by a person on the staff. Sometimes the schtick works, but more often than not, it's groan inducing, and hurts DeRay's abilities to host a show. He is a quick reader for the final round, so that helps out immensely. Not only that, he comes off as goofy, but likeable. He is someone you'd want to hang out and bro with. As a game show host, he would need a little more seasoning.
The gameplay on the other hand is where the show ultimately fails and hard. The first two rounds has DeRay posing a question to the two female contestants and the shows three panelists of the day. Each of them usually saying "We surveyed 100 men and asked them, "You just bought a ring that instead of being a real diamond ring was fake. How would you play it off to your girlfriend?" Three answers are given and the contestants, with the help (sometimes not really) of the panel or guest to come up with the right answer. First three questions are worth $200 and the second batch is worth $300. While an ok format choice, We already have Family Feud and Let's Ask America, which this show is ripping off both of them. It rips off Family Feud with the bawdiness and Let's Ask America with the questioning, except I find the all around questioning of Let's Ask America better than here. Not to mention, the panelists hog up a lot of TV time, leaving little room for DeRay to work and even less room for the contestants. I'd love to know what they think about the answers. Heck, sacrifice one question in round 1 and allow us to get to know them and how they think.
The final stanza of the main game involves a generic round of put these three in order of popularity. Getting one right is worth $100, while all 3 is worth $500. So it's basically Easy As 1-2-3 from Price Is Right, but it's kind of a lame mechanic. However, it all gets thrown away in favor for the Guy's High Five. Here's what happens. The player in the lead gets a choice of whether to pick from a list of five answers to another poll question or second, but this time the answers come from 200 men. Whomever picks the #1 answer wins the game and plays for $10,000. Yeah, it's one of my biggest buggaboos in game shows where a contestant can stink it up from the start and have their opponent pick the #5 answer on the list and therefore lucking into the bonus round. Just poor decision after poor decision on how the game is played.
The end game is a generic either-or type of bonus game where the winner picks a celebrity to help her out in a tag team style fashion. Each one right is worth $300, but 7 in 30 seconds is worth $10,000. DeRay reads them off as quickly as he can and could get 10 off in a clip in 30 if he could. It's an ok game, but going from a light-hearted game to something that goes more like a super-fast quizzer, then there's that major disconnect. I felt the same way with Late Night Liar's end game where the game was super light hearted and comedic, but the end game was really serious.
At the end of the day, the show comes off as mostly mediocre and the most disappointing show to come out for GSN since How Much Is Enough. What comes off as a funny and light-hearted show in the commercials just drags in the front game and goes by quickly with very few funny moments. The front game is broken by the final question which renders the first 20 minutes of the show pointless and a disconnective end game makes this for a half hour that makes you wonder what could have been. It's just making me wonder when will American Bible Challenge come with Season 3, so that this could be counteracted? I don't see this one lasting. It's not bad, but there are shows currently on the air that does this format better.