Wait a second... that's all? There has to be a twist somewhere...
Yes, there is. It's what else that happens on the show
In a normal round, the contestant is asked four questions with two answers each from a category. If the contestant can get three out of the four, they get to pick a scroll from a carousel, which contain various denominations of cash (and some other stuff, we'll explain those when we get to them) that gets added to their bank. After each round, the contestant can choose to risk their money and play on (failing to answer the required number of questions results in elimination), or stop and move to the Champion's Chair, where their current total becomes the score to beat by other contestants (who can steal away control by getting a higher total and stopping).
Of course, what's a game show involving mystery envelopes without something dangerous hidden amongst them? There's The Jinx (Lo Iettatore, which takes away all of the player's money, and forces them to answer a question from Lo Iettatore to stay in the game), Duel (La Pariglia, where the contestant faces off against the current Champion on one question: if the challenger wins, the Champion is eliminated and the challenger steals all their money. If the champion wins, the challenger is eliminated), and "Next One!", which results in instant elimination.
In the name of fun, the main game also features frequent random encounters with various characters. Things might be normal one round, but then the next might involve identifying a movie scene performed in Chinese, or having to play "Will it Float?" with the Mad German Scientist! Or, you may receive a visit from someone who will offer you a free massage and double the euros. Any other Random Encounter lets you switch out your chosen scroll for another (hopefully of higher value) if you get their bonus question right. (Get it wrong, though, and you're gone.) Bothers Bar sums up the experience thoroughly.
Whoever is the champion at the end of the game goes on to play what is most likely the most diabolical Bonus Round since the Wonderwall for a chance to win up to 100,000, plus their in-game bank. All in all, the combination of comedy, musical antics, and a rather solid game adds up to create what could probably be considered the most intentionally crazy game show ever created.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- All or Nothing: The chance of getting less than three questions correct/missing a Random Encounter character's bonus question or picking a Whammy scroll add risk to the ordeal on every single round. Not only that, but even the night's winner can go home empty-handed if they lose the Bonus Round (and nine times out of ten, they do).
- Bonus Round: It's so ridiculous that it makes the average Jay Wolpert production look sane you get 2 minutes and 30 seconds to answer 21 more A/B questions in a row incorrectly. If you answer correctly or take too long to answer, you have to go right back to the beginning and start over (thankfully, you don't have to wait for the question to be completed before answering). Succeed and you win 100,000 plus the money you banked in the main game; if time expires, the contestant gets 100 seconds to try again for just 100,000 (the prize goes down by 1,000 every second). Once the cash countdown hits 50,000 (50 seconds, later reduced to 30,000/30 seconds), the contestant can stop the clock by breaking a beam of light. When they do that, they get one last chance to finish the chain from the beginning, and if they fail, they go home with nothing. It is indeed possible to win, but it's Nintendo Hard at that.
- Bonus Space: The aforementioned Random Encounter mechanic above. In fact, the aforementioned massage girl is actually named Ms. Bonus. There's a Mr. Bonus, too.
- The 2015 season added a male character known as the "Good Fairy" ("Il Fato Benevolo" in Italian; later changed to a female character and renamed to "La Bona Sorte," or "Good Luck."). Similar to Lo Iettatore, he/she only appears when the associated scroll is chosen from the table, and correctly answering the (extremely difficult) attached question boosts the contestant's score to 300,000. Unlike his/her curse-bearing counterpart, however, there is no penalty associated with selecting him/her or missing the question.
- The 2018 season changed the way most of the bonus characters work: while Mr./Ms. Bonus keep appearing randomly and Lo Iettatore and La Bona Sorte are still summoned via their scrolls, a set of 6 characters (one of them, Miss Claudia, is always there, while the other 5 are random in each episode) stay in a Living Room spot on the side of the main stage, allowing the contestants to choose which character they want when it's time for one of them.
- Carried by the Host: More like carried by the cast: the contributions of the host, co-host, and every character/guest are what makes this show so unique.
- Double the Euros: If Mr. or Ms. Bonus shows up (and they each will usually show up Once an Episode), you play a normal round. Win that round and get money on that scroll pick, and it's doubled.
- Golden Snitch: Success with a question from Il Fato Benevolo/La Bona Sorte rockets your score straight to 300,000, which is almost unassailable - pretty much the only things that can help your opponents, especially late in the game, are La Pariglia and 150,000 with Mr. or Ms. Bonus. The catch is that Il Fato Benevolo/La Bona Sorte's questions are by far the hardest in the show, right on par with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'s late-game questions.
- Mystery Box: The scrolls, or as Bonolis likes to call them, "pidigozzi".
- The Announcer (in a way): Luca Laurenti, Bonolis's trusty sidekick and piano player.
- Game Show Host: Paolo Bonolis on the original, well known as the host of the pioneering Italian version of Deal or No Deal.
- Lovely Assistant: One is selected from the audience each episode. Also, a few of the Random Encounter characters would count.
- Sudden Death: La Pariglia, if someone's in the champion's chair. (If it's empty, it plays as a zero.) One question; the winner gets or keeps the champion's chair, the loser's out of the game. Oh, by the way, a wrong answer is an auto-loss, and the current champ gets the advantage of winning if nobody rings in.
- Whammy: Both the Lo Iettatore and Avanti un Altro scrolls; only the former offers a chance to stay in the game, however. In addition, having a second selection as a result of a successful Random Encounter won't help you here. As a small consolation, successfully answering a Lo Iettatore question is treated as success with one of these aforementioned Random Encounters, with a selection of a scroll, and the option to reject the first scroll and choose another one.
- The 2019 edition adds the Cambio! scroll: when it comes out the host chooses a person from the audience to answer in lieu of the contestant for the next bunch of questions.
This series provides examples of:
- Amusing Alien: The Alien, who exhibits mannerisms that are very reminiscent of GIR and ALF in equal measure.
- Apocalypse Not: The December 22, 2012 episode celebrated their apparent "survival" of the Mayan Apocalypse.
- The Artifact: Manga Girl haves the Italian theme song for Sailor Moon as her introduction theme. This made sense in her first appearances as she always dressed as Sailor Venus, but later she started to wear costumes of other characters (including non-Japanese ones such as Catwoman, Red Sonja and Spider-Girl), so the music choice is not as fitting as it was early on.
- Big Red Button: The way the contestants buzz in if there's a duel in play. Also, rather than giving it to the contestant in the Bonus Round, it's controlled by the host to start and stop the clock.
- Casanova Wannabe: El Tigre is always presented by Bonolis as a bonafide lady killer, yet he's very much an Adorkable example of this trope.
- Catchphrase: Of sorts. "Non può più sbagliare!", often said by the host after a contestant's first incorrect answer during a regular round, means "You cannot make [another] mistake."
- Fan Remake: The podcast Fifty 50 (who, among others, has involvement with the author of Bother's Bar) does a segment with an English version of the bonus round as "21 Questions Wrong".
- Fat Comic Relief: XXXL, who is equal parts morbidly obese and effeminate.
- Funny Foreigner: A good number of the characters certainly play up their ethnicity for comical effect.
- Gratuitous English: One of the categories on the Italian version is "English Lesson", which is a normal round played in English. (On an Italian-language show, obviously.)
- Hair-Trigger Temper: L'Indignato (The Outraged One), who rants about the subject of the question he's about to give. He normally has a Simpleton Voice which immediately turns into a harsh baritone when he gets angry, usually played for a more jarring effect.
- Hospital Hottie: The Doctor; until the 2017 edition she was often presented alongside a patient who suffered an illness related to the question she was giving.
- Informed Ability: Played for Laughs and exaggerated with the Athlete. He is often quoted by Bonolis as the greatest athlete in the history of sports, yet he is physically extremely weak, speaks just with mumbles and has a hunched back.
- Mad Scientist: As explained above, one of the Random Encounter characters is one, complete with thick German accent, long greyed-out hair and bulging eyes.
- Mr. and Ms. Fanservice: Mr. and Ms. Bonus. They come out once an episode (usually) and act as masseuses/eye candy to the contestant for one round.
- Pungeon Master: Stefano Jurgens, one of the judges. His puns are often dropped to the theme of The Sheltering Sky.
- Rule of Cool: Most shows would use a Big Red Button to allow the contestant to bail out in their bonus round. Not here. This show uses a big ol' laser beam shooting into the sky that you just stick your hand in.
- Swapped Roles: The last episode of the 2012-13 edition has this for the Random Encounter characters. Including The Mad Scientist as the Hot Teacher.
- Title Drop: The way the host calls the next contestant forward. Incidentally, "Avanti un Altro!" means, roughly, "another one forward!"