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Series / Distraction

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"To buzz-in in this round, you have to do a little wee."

A Game Show that originated in Great Britain whose premise was to ask "How much humiliation will you endure to win some amazing prizes?" Hosted by brash comedian Jimmy Carr, contestants were required to answer rather simple questions while being distracted in various ways, such as being thrown around by wrestlers, having live geese eat feed off your body while lying face up in your underwear, and buzzing-in by sticking your fingers in mousetraps, stopping a fan with your face, or even urinating in a toilet onstage. Make it through three rounds of this (and non-stop harassment by Carr) and you win some lovely prizes! However, the game doesn't stop there... Carr asks you one more set of questions, and for each one you get wrong, one of your prizes gets destroyed (or, in case you've won a car, some part of said car gets vandalized).

Lasted two seasons in the United Kingdom, then two more in the United States on Comedy Central (also hosted by Carr, but toned down a bit), and has spawned several foreign versions.

This show contains examples of:

  • All or Nothing: Losers leave with nothing, as is made quite clear by Jimmy. Sometimes the winner does, too, if he wipes out in the "Bonus Round".
  • Anvil on Head: Subverted in the "Rope Burn" game; the anvils fall on your prizes instead. In the US version, a 1,000-pound barrel of cement was occasionally used as well.
    Jimmy Carr: "You don't leave empty-handed... well, actually you do..."
  • Bonus Round: Inverted big time; you get the prizes up front, but must answer questions to keep them from being damaged or destroyed.
  • Bonus Space: Some challenges awarded points to the contestant who did the most of something during a round (putting clothespins or rubber bands on his or her face, for example).
  • Carried by the Host: Jimmy Carr's heckling and blatant sadism toward the suffering contestants is pretty much the point of the show.
  • Carry a Big Stick: The losers do, if you win a car.
  • Catchphrase: "I'm guessing you were a little bit distracted!"
  • Consolation Prize: One version of the "Bonus Round" featured a stereotypical one, such as Rice-A-Roni, as one of the available prizes. Other than that, none.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: A wrecking ball awaits at the end if your prize gets there before you answer the question.
  • Covered in Gunge: The "Catapult" round in the American version, in which pies filled with various substances were launched into the contestants' faces as soon as they buzzed in. Another variation required them to smash eggs (some raw, some hard-boiled, some fertilized) on their foreheads to buzz in. The Italian version had its gungey contests as well.
  • Deadly Game: Comes damn near close, and treated in-show as a running joke, especially in such rounds as "Bed Of Nails".
    Jimmy: "The questions in this round are about dead people, because that's what you might be if anything goes wrong."
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Played with, naturally - most directly in a game where the male contestants answered questions while in bed, with each correct answer earning a scantily clad woman to join that contestant.
  • Don't Try This at Home: "...come to our studio and try it here for everyone's enjoyment."
  • Eat That: Shots of (supposedly) Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce. Done much more extensively in England, with maggots, snails, lambs' testicles, and the contestant's own urine.
  • Eject the Loser: Employed on occasion in the rounds involving wrestlers, roller girls or flabby nudists; the wrestlers carried the loser off, while the nudists conga'd the loser away.
  • Electric Torture: "Blinking Electrocution", where you had to answer questions while strapped into an electric chair and were shocked every time you blinked. To make life interesting, Jimmy's assistants would light up cigars and blow smoke in the players' eyes. Another round had players getting electrocuted every time they buzzed in to answer a question.
  • Epic Fail: The guy that answered all three questions wrong in the "Bonus Round" and subsequently left with nothing. One of his questions was about SpongeBob SquarePants, and Jimmy all but gave him the answer.
  • Fanservice: Jimmy's female assistants and several games featuring scantily-clad women. Inverted with the grotesque nudists.
  • Flawless Victory: A grand total of three contestants left with either an unblemished car or all their prizes intact in the US. One of these was due to the spray-painter casually walking to the car instead of running after time expiring; the contestant gave the right answer just before he could start painting. It never happened in the UK.
  • Forced to Watch: The entire point. Naturally, the first missed question will almost always result in an Oh, Crap!.
  • Game Show Host: Jimmy Carr, albeit with a very different style of hosting.
  • Generic Graffiti: Applied to your car, and usually pointing out one of the things you revealed to everyone at the beginning of the show.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Played two different ways. One game required contestants to buzz in by hitting themselves over the head with a bottle at first, then by hitting their neighbor halfway through. The other featured contestants buzzing in normally, but every time they got an answer right, a stunt person would hit them over the head with a bottle, then progress to larger objects such as vases and finally break a chair across the player's back.
  • Home Game: A "Distraction Quiz Book" released in the United Kingdom, with questions and ideas on how to make some of the distractions at home.
  • Made of Iron: One round had the "buzz-in" being to beat an old woman arm-wrestling... at which point her bodybuilder "son" zapped you with a cattle prod. One guy did not react to the prod. (He won, obviously.)
    Jimmy: What are you made of?!?
    Contestant: The Midwest...
  • Money to Burn: If the prize is £5,000 cash, the contestant has to throw £1,000 onto a fire for every wrong answer. At the end of the round, they can use a bottle of water to extinguish the fire and try to save some of the money. An alternate version has the money placed in toasters (see below).
  • Mouse Trap: Rat traps were used as buzzers both in the US and the UK. At least one contestant received a broken finger.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Especially when stuffed down your see-through pants.
  • Scary Black Man: "Tiny" in the US, who was supposedly the "son" of one of the arm-wrestling old ladies mentioned above, and threatened destruction of the winner's car in the first taped episode (although he didn't get to do any work thanks to a Flawless Victory).
  • Slap Stick: Tons. Lampshaded directly on at least one occasion, right before a "bar fight" game in the US.
  • Shout-Out: To Pimp My Ride, normally when a contestant's brand-new car got covered in paint. Also, routine question categories about Kevin Bacon.
  • Studio Audience: ...And you have to wonder how many went to a taping voluntarily.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Your prizes, at random, via Plunger Detonator.
  • Think Music: Especially during the "Bonus Round". In the UK it was a reprise of the Theme Tune.
  • Tickle Torture:
    • The Italian version utilizes this on two separate occasions on female contestants. The contestants were suspended by their ankles using inversion boots and had their bare feet tickled by either two women with long nails or one woman with long nails and a feather, all while trying to answer the host's questions.
    • The British version did this to a male contestant using two women with sharp nails on his feet to distract him.
      • The Indian version also attempted this. This time around, it was a male competitor who administered the tickling to the two female contestants. The first was fully capable of withstanding the tickling while the second had some trouble resisting it.
  • Unwinnable by Design:
    • This endgame, in which the winner's last opponent started shoveling her £5,000 (presented as 50-pence coins) into a full cement mixer immediately upon the start of the round, thus making it impossible to save all the cash. (Without chiseling the shoveled-in coins out of the resulting block of cement afterward, that is.)
    • A similar round started with Carr putting £1,000 into each of five toasters and turning them on before asking five questions. Each correct answer allowed the player to pull the money from one toaster, starting with the last one Carr turned on. Since the first toaster corresponded to the last question, the money in it was most likely to burn up even if the winner breezed through the first four questions. (After all five questions had been asked, the contestant was allowed to salvage whatever money they could from any remaining toasters.)
  • Zonk: What your legitimate prizes were turned into if you sucked at the "Bonus Round".