Rush to Judgment

When game shows want you to play along, you either solve a puzzle or answer a trivia question. But the Game Show Network’s new series Without Prejudice? wants your armchair-psychology skills — the ones you typically save for those nuanced “He gives me the creeps” or “I’d do her” diagnoses about people on Survivor or Big Brother — for a show that asks a panel of strangers to choose which of five contestants should receive $25,000. It’s a semi-clever mélange of reality TV, debate, game show and even Candid Camera, since hidden video of the contestants reacting to a rigged ethical situation is provided as a tool in one stage of the deliberation process.

We’re told by host Dr. Robi Ludwig in the intro that we all make our assessments of people after only 15 seconds; accordingly, one of the five is nixed by the group immediately, based solely on a brief video blip of “Hi, my name is [blank] and I’m from [blank].” In the first episode, which aired this week, this was where the refrigerator-size Polynesian sourpuss baldly stated to his fellow judges that he doesn’t like black people. (One of the prizewinner possibles — all of whom sit in a separate room while their fate is hashed out — was African-American.) At that point, you knew that whatever else would be said among the judges — and factors such as skeeviness, presumed gayness, honesty, decorum, gun-law beliefs, a porn career revelation and self-pity were among the topics as more information about the contestants was revealed — the big question became, would the big stupid racist galoot hold on to his snap judgments? And as you can probably tell, writing the words “big stupid racist galoot” means I must be playing along.

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