A REALITY TV series with an undeniably fresh, albeit controversial, twist – that’s M-Net’s Take the Money and Run, in a nutshell.
The concept, created by Matthew Worthy and Kieran Doherty, boasts the thrill of a cat-and-mouse chase as contestants are tasked with hiding a briefcase filled with $100 000 within an hour while detectives are given all their GPS recordings, telephone records and receipts to try to locate the case within 48 hours.
Meanwhile, the contestants are taken into custody and interrogated.
Honestly, one can’t ignore that the blueprint is intriguing – well, it had to be to get Jerry Bruckheimer on board as executive producer.
However, one of the questions weighing on the minds of TV critics is: is this game-meets-reality show sustainable, like The Amazing Race?
Then the issue of morality comes into question, in terms of how such a show, which seemingly encourages criminal ingenuity, will shift perceptions.
One critic, Ryan McGee, was concerned about the impact, saying: “Take the Money and Run seems to be saying to viewers at home: ‘Look, all those police procedurals you watch? Totally fabricated. You, too, can be a freakin’ criminal mastermind! It’s easy! Just follow these easy steps’.”
He continues: “Now, I’m not saying this show is going to directly contribute to a massive crime wave.
“But I’m sure more than a few people will catch themselves looking at the national credit rating, looking at checking their accounts, looking at this show, and then being tempted to join the dark side.”
But other critics have found it impressive. Their opinions varied between “too goofy” to “relatively promising and entertaining” and “brilliant”.
Paul Bishop, a police detective with 35 years’ experience, sheds light on the interrogation techniques used in the show.
“One of the rules of the show is the hiders have to eat three times a day. That’s great! We’re going to feed them five times a day, and it’s always going to be beans and weenies and a glass of milk,” he explains.
This strategy serves them well as it leaves the hiders disorientated and emotionally vulnerable.
Separating the truth from the bountiful lies is an arduous task for the “interrogators”… but they soldier on in this rat race.
With everyone wearing their game face, Take the Money and Run could get very interesting – let’s see if viewers fall hook, line and sinker for it!
• Take the Money and Run airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Friday at 7.30pm.