TruTV Game Show ‘Paid Off’ Tells the Sick, Sad Truth About Student Loans

America’s dystopian future is now, and it’s manifesting itself in the form of a game show about the crushing weight of our collective student loan debt.

“Paid Off With Michael Torpey” debuted on TruTV this week, billing itself as a fast-paced game show giving three overeducated, underemployed saps the chance to win money toward their student loans.

Actor Michael Torpey hosts the show, which he co-created with production company Cowboy Bear Ninja. In a series of trivia rounds, low-scoring contestants are eliminated. The one left standing is challenged to a lightning round to win cash toward a percentage of their student loan debt.

“Paid Off” is not as fast-paced as it promises, and the canned laughs can be cringeworthy. But we’re only one episode into the show. Have you ever seen the first episode of “Wheel of Fortune”? I didn’t think so.

But while the game show is basic in premise, it underscores the haunting reality of student loan debt.

Better Call Congress

TruTV, the TBS spinoff station known for marathons of “Impractical Jokers” and the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament, is not where you typically turn for a hard-hitting look at the student loan debt crisis.

But here we are in 2018, 10 years removed from the crippling financial crisis of 2008, still Twitter-shrugging about the sorry health of Americans’ finances. Our collective student loan debt is up to $1.4 trillion, in case you lost count. And defaults on those loans are rising at a dramatic rate.

Host Torpey sets up the first episode by confessing that booking an underwear commercial helped him pay off his student loans. Then he makes each contestant admit how far in the hole they are. They are all freshly scrubbed twentysomethings with student loan debt as high as $41,000. They each call out the names of their alma maters in a series of sick burns to tuition rates.

It’s awkward on purpose. Executive producer Michael Melamedoff said that it’s easy to ignore financial hardship like student debt as someone else’s problem. But, “these are real people with real names who went to real schools and are carrying real debt,” he said.

As soon as someone gets booted after the first round of trivia, the game leans fully into the gallows humor. Torpey tells the contestant he’ll get $1,000 as a consolation prize, then instructs him to walk over to a red phone in the middle of the audience and call Congress to tell representatives to do something about student loans. It’s not even a particular Congress member. It’s just a call to the body as a whole. “Hello, Congress?” the sweating contestant mews into the phone.

Expecting a second “call” to Congress after the next round? Nah. This time, the exiled contestant is instructed to pass a giant greeting card around the audience. It says “Keep it up!” on the front, and Torpey explains it’s for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who helped found the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and does not like student loan debt.

Those vignettes are symbolic, Melamedoff explained, reminders of the show’s overarching call to action.

“The game show is an absurd response and maybe the worst response to this crisis,” he said. “I don’t take it lightly that we’re making a game show about a real crisis.”

Whether you laugh at the jokes or are outraged at the fact that the show even exists, Melamedoff hopes that “Paid Off” encourages viewers to start talking about the ways that student debt has impacted our lives.

“We want to allow people to laugh against the grain of a very sobering message,” Melamedoff said.

‘Paid Off’: Where the Consolation Prizes Are Still Prizes

Even after the first episode’s top winner walks off with $24,000 toward her loans, host Torpey provides a depressing fact of the week (hint: it’s about student loan debt) and challenges an audience member to a bonus set of trivia questions for the chance to win some cash. The audience member takes home $1,000.

A grand may not seem like much of a dent in some student loan tabs, but Melamedoff is proud that every one of the show’s 64 first-season contestants has gone home with a cash award. He said that the show gave out close to $500,000 over the season’s 16 episodes.

Before the episode ends, Torpey sends one last plea to the audience at home: “Call your representatives right now, and tell them we need a better solution to student loan debt than this game show.”

It’s Melamedoff’s takeaway behind the scenes, too.

“Whether people love our show or are angry it exists, I hope it motivates people to pick up the phone and call their representatives,” he said.

You used to try out for a game show hoping to win a nice vacation, or at least a rice cooker. Now, like a jaded teenager making a Christmas list, we’re just asking for cash. This is how far down we are, how desperate we are. Please just give us the cash. Compounding interest has made us weary.

Half a million down, $1,399,999,500,000 to go.

Lisa Rowan (@lisatella) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Please follow and like us:



18 thoughts on “TruTV Game Show ‘Paid Off’ Tells the Sick, Sad Truth About Student Loans

  1. TULIP HIFU療程屬非侵入性及非手術的緊膚修身治療,獲歐盟CE、韓國KFDA、GMP、ISO9001、ISO13485等認證,安全可靠。 Tulip的DUAL HIFU精細技術,對面部和眼部治療特別有效;另外,TULIP FB有的13mm及7mm STAMP蓋印式治HIFU治療頭設計,眼、面以外部位,同時具「造身」效果。TULIP【DUAL HIFU高能量聚焦超聲波平台】【特點】- 非手術、非侵入性緊膚治療- 適用於任何膚色肌膚- 治療更精確、更安全- 備有7mm及13mm治療頭,可收緊腹部、臀部、手臂等鬆弛肌膚 【治療目的】- 緊緻肌膚- 提升輪廓- 減淡皺紋- 重塑輪廓線條- 嫩膚亮肌- 提升下垂眼部- 重塑身體線條 (用於7mm/13mm修身治療頭)- 重點減少脂肪細胞 (用於7mm/13mm修身治療頭)

  2. 「 生蛇 」( 醫學名稱是 『帶狀疱疹』Shingles ) 是由水痘病毒引起的疾病。水痘癒合後,病毒在神經細胞潛伏多年,日後隨時重新激活後導致的帶狀皮疹,就是「 生蛇 」。因此,凡感染過水痘的人,都有機會「 生蛇 」。病發時,身體某一部位會感到內疼或劇痛,通常是臉或背部及腰部的一側;這時由於病毒從脊髓處沿其中華一條神經擴散到身體以及去到連接的皮膚表面,形成紅疹及小水疱。帶狀疱疹疫苗Zostavax康栢苗 (蛇針)能助減低「 生蛇 」的機會,有效預防: 「 生蛇 」( 帶狀疱疹 ) 成效高達 70% 「 生蛇 」的後遺神經痛:即使紅疹痊癒,神經痛還可以持續數月或數年。年紀越大,持續有後遺 神經痛風險越高 「 生蛇 」引起的急性及長期痛症 不適用人士: 曾對疫苗成分包括明膠( Gelatin ) 及紐奧黴 ( Neomycin ) 有過敏性休克反應的人士 有原發及繼發性免疫系統問題的病患者,或正服用抑鬱免疫系統藥物(如高劑量膽固醇)的病人 患有肺結核,正發病及未經治療人士 孕婦

  3. 「 生蛇 」( 醫學名稱是 『帶狀疱疹』Shingles ) 是由水痘病毒引起的疾病。水痘癒合後,病毒在神經細胞潛伏多年,日後隨時重新激活後導致的帶狀皮疹,就是「 生蛇 」。因此,凡感染過水痘的人,都有機會「 生蛇 」。病發時,身體某一部位會感到內疼或劇痛,通常是臉或背部及腰部的一側;這時由於病毒從脊髓處沿其中華一條神經擴散到身體以及去到連接的皮膚表面,形成紅疹及小水疱。帶狀疱疹疫苗Zostavax康栢苗 (蛇針)能助減低「 生蛇 」的機會,有效預防: 「 生蛇 」( 帶狀疱疹 ) 成效高達 70% 「 生蛇 」的後遺神經痛:即使紅疹痊癒,神經痛還可以持續數月或數年。年紀越大,持續有後遺 神經痛風險越高 「 生蛇 」引起的急性及長期痛症 不適用人士: 曾對疫苗成分包括明膠( Gelatin ) 及紐奧黴 ( Neomycin ) 有過敏性休克反應的人士 有原發及繼發性免疫系統問題的病患者,或正服用抑鬱免疫系統藥物(如高劑量膽固醇)的病人 患有肺結核,正發病及未經治療人士 孕婦

  4. 大部份曾經生育或經歷更年期的女性都會面臨私密深處及外觀鬆弛問題,不單會影響自信心和伴侶的親密體驗,更有機會造成容易積菌及尿滲等健康問題。全港首部 Venus Fiore閨密儀 RF射頻 私密緊緻療程 專門針對私密各處包括陰道、陰唇及陰阜的專用治療頭,全面改善鬆弛問題;每個治療頭均採用一次性即棄治療蓋,確保衛生。還有ATC自動控溫綜合系統,讓療程的治療溫度被有效監控,療程自然更安全、更有效達至預期效果。全港首部 Venus Fiore閨密儀 RF射頻 私密緊緻療程Venus Fiore集中為女性私密之處提供最到位的呵護,專注重整陰道健康、收緊鬆弛陰唇和改善陰阜肥大問題。關鍵在於Venus Concept的王牌─糅合多極射頻與磁力脈衝的(MP)2磁頻專利技術,發揮提升細胞活躍度、重塑同時增加膠原蛋白、刺激毛細血管新生等作用,達至調整陰道濕潤度、pH值的效果,更重要的是顯著改善陰道彈性,使其回復年輕狀態。

  5. 加強優化面部輪廓,可被身體完全吸引,能自然地修飾面部輪廓 功效可長達24個月以上 JUVEDERM的特點: 效果立即可見 非永久性 非手術性 安全有效 效果自然 JUVEDERM獲歐盟(CE)及美國及藥物管理局(FDA)認證 首先及唯一獲得FDA認證在首次療程後能維持長達一年2-4功效 新世代專員Hylacross科技為產品帶來獨特的物理特質,包括凝聚力、支撐力及柔順度 8點提升 這是一套由全球著名醫學美容醫生Dr. Maurício de Maio,以JUVÉDERM®系列透明質酸產品為基礎而研發的面部優化療程,藉著簡單程序便達致面部優化效果,不需進行手術,減低風險。 此療程會根據病人的個別情況,重點針對面部8個最常因流失膠原蛋白及彈性纖維而凹陷的位置,再依據特定的順序,從顴骨至下巴位置配合JUVÉDERM®系列的透明質酸產品進行療程,從而改善這些位置的豐盈度及滑溜度,全面性優化面部輪廓。

  6. 關于Ion Magnum技術: 它的作用是加快脂肪代謝而轉化成肌肉。專業設計的微電流模擬大腦到肌肉的正常神經傳導。乙醯膽鹼及ATP(産生能量的物質)都是由神經末梢釋放的。神經元共振導致神經末梢持續不斷的釋放ATP,甚至能達到正常釋放量的500。 Ion Magnum應用的是世界定級的神經生理學技術,它加快脂肪燃燒的速度,增强肌肉收縮,提高基礎代謝率(指的是你靜息狀態下消耗卡路里的速率)。複雜的微電流包含2000次與正常生理過程的相互作用,由此達到人體自然狀態下所不能達到的效果。它可以加快能量的轉化,增强體力和運動能力。 Ion Magnum目前由位於英國的創新科學研究中心開發、製造,該中心是由歐盟提供資金支持的。該設備及其組件均是由英國頂級的科學家手工製作的。該産品有CE標志,CE標志是歐洲共同市場的安全標志。 Ion Magnum基於最新的起搏器技術。

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *