Maybe there is officially too much TV, or maybe we are so used to the confusion that comes with picking something to watch in the plethora of content out there that we want everything to be better than the previous thing. We immediately know in the first episode of “Cheat” that it is going to be some very average fare. It is a game where the participants must cheat in the quizzes, and the final winner is decided by how smartly they have cheated throughout. There is a time to be honest, and a time to lie, and there is always a need to identify who is lying. The person who can master all these emerges as the winner, but sometimes even luck can get in the way. As Danny Dyer, one of the hosts of the show with Ellie Taylor, says, “May the biggest brain or the slipperiest liar win.” Well, in three of the four episodes, neither the biggest brain nor the latter won the final cash prize, and the one winner who had both was part of the most boring episode of the lot. Hence, one might question why they should watch this game show, and all we will say is that it moves fast. Additionally, the way some of the seemingly deserving participants have lost the final round leaves you gasping for air due to the shock; case in point, Dani in “Cheat” Episode 4.
The game starts with four contestants who have to play three rounds each. In the first round, they will all be asked some questions, and they are allowed to cheat to give the right answer. Any of the other contestants who believe that this person has cheated can call them out. The person who has the best accuracy rate at identifying people’s bluffs can eliminate one contestant of their choice and go to the next round, where the same pattern repeats except that it is immediately revealed whether the bluff was true or not. The final two contestants in the third round have just one rule. Give the right answers, and if your bluff gets caught, the entire prize money goes to your opponent. It was interesting for an episode or two, but we suppose it started getting a little bland because, in the four episodes, we essentially saw 12 rounds of the exact same thing—a quiz.
Maybe if the contestants were allowed to bring more of their personalities, it would have been interesting, but we can’t expect much of that in the limited time. However, the writers lost a chance to make some good cheating jokes, and somewhere, we felt that they needed a host with a bit more ‘thinking on your feet’ kind of wit. We just know that if this show was made in India, we wouldn’t accept anyone other than Shah Rukh Khan as the host. You need that personable charm when calling people out for their cheating and trying to get a laugh out of it. However, this show is set in the country of India’s once colonizers, and they are giving out very little money for the tag of ‘best liar’ that the winner will have to carry for the rest of their lives.
But despite the ‘liar’ tag, we must admit that we felt awful about some of the losses. In “Cheat” Episode 1, Jess was our favorite. Somehow, she felt more likable despite the fact that Mark was the sassiest one. It amazed us how many times Jess did not cheat, and it looked like her schoolteacher instincts were the ones that helped her catch other people’s lies. But it was those very instincts that caused her to lose. Teachers are supposed to see the best in their students, not in their opponents, who are being encouraged to lie. We had actually not thought much of Yasmina, but we understood soon enough that she was very good at managing her gut instincts. In Episode 2, we remembered how Mark from “Cheat” Episode 1 had said never to trust a dentist. Well, it was the dentist dressed like a strawberry, Anna, who made it to the final round. She had remarkable instincts. She knew when to lie and when to let other people believe that she was lying. It looked like her victory was a no-brainer, but it is the nature of the game that you need some luck with your manipulation, and she lost to Obi. We couldn’t help but smile at the petty dig she took at him, but hey, a game is a game.
In the third episode of “Cheat,” we never thought that Nicolette would win, simply because what we wanted had not happened so far. She won regardless, and we think it is because she did not allow herself to be overconfident. We wish Dani had done the same thing. Usually, when somebody says that they read auras or manifest things, despite the prevalence of such talk in the online wellness industry, we find our eyebrows raising. We don’t doubt that Dani must face some ridicule on a daily basis. Such people are either defensively confident or have a quiet demeanor that indicates they are striving to prove themselves to the world. Dani was neither. She did not care what anybody said and was confident in her assessment of things, which actually got her to the final round. We were so sure that she was going to win. But we guess that while she could tell when the others were lying, she hadn’t taken into account that they might not know when she was lying. In her attempt to be safe, she literally gave the money to her opponent. It was the worst loss of the four episodes, and we were as shocked as anybody else upon witnessing it.
Well, we know the format of the show isn’t going to change for future episodes, but we will be watching them for some more shocking moments. We hope that there are plenty.