TBS’s ‘The Misery Index’ is better comedy than a game show

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TBS’s latest series, “The Misery Index,” premiered Tuesday night and proved that an unlikely collaboration can make for a fun-filled and witty game show. The Tenderloins comedy troupe of truTV’s “Impractical Jokers” teamed up with Jameela Jamil, darling of NBC’s “The Good Place,” to make this hilarious new program. The group had immediate chemistry and filled the episode with quick and clever banter, despite the weak concept of the actual game. 

Andy Breckman, the show’s creator, built the show around the popular card game “Shit Happens.” Two contestants go head-to-head against each other and win money by correctly identifying how miserable an incident is. Each event, ranging from being attacked by a swarm of bees to accidentally sexting your entire family, is rated by psychologists on a scale of 1 to 100, with higher numbers indicating a more painful, traumatic and scarring experience. It is the contestants’ job to guess the number of each experience, with the prize money going to the closest guess. Much in the style of NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night,” the stars of “Impractical Jokers” (Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano) divide into two teams to help the episode’s two contestants in their decision-making. If the contestant can successfully beat their opponent in the first two rounds, they move forward to the final round and earn a shot at the $30,000 grand prize. 

While watching the pain of others is always popular on TV, the game itself lacked any wow factor, making for a bland and ultimately boring half hour. It was fun to play along, as with any game show, but the questions were near identical to one another, causing most viewers, myself included, to lose interest after the first commercial break. 

The best part of the show, however, is the comedic genius of the Tenderloins matched perfectly with Jamil. The questions asked might not have been the biggest laughs of the show, but the Tenderloins making fun of the people who had these traumatic experiences certainly was, and the little clips from “Impractical Jokers” were definitely a highlight. Jamil surprised audiences by holding her own against the sheer madness of the four comedians, making her, in my opinion, the standout of the show. 

Long story short, if you are a fan of game shows, this is probably not for you, considering television has many better alternatives to test your mind. If you are a fan of “Impractical Jokers,” however, this should be right up your alley, with the same awkward and outrageous comedy we know and love from truTV. While it is safe to say I will not be tuning in to TBS next Tuesday night, I have found a show that can take my mind off the problems in my life by making me laugh at the problems other people have. 

Rating: 2.5/5 stars 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @tbsnetwork Instagram.


Gino Giansanti is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at gino.giansanti_jr@uconn.edu.

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