If you like babies and Cash Cab, you’ll probably like Labor Games on TLC. The premise is simple, ridiculous, and kind of irresistible: Couples about to have a baby — I mean really in the hospital, with one person having contractions — are invaded by a game show, winning prizes if they answer questions correctly.
In the Wednesday-night premiere, Labor Games invaded the delivery room of Jessica and Aaron. Like Cash Cab, Labor Games is a kind of mobile game show: initially-startled contestants, fast-talking host (Lisa Arch), minimal camera set-ups, a mix of easy-to-difficult questions. Jessica — hooked up to monitors and periodically pausing to take a few deep cleansing breaths — and Aaron answered multiple-choice questions such as, which of the following is not recommended for teething relief: a) a cool spoon; b) a stale baguette; c) a chilled washcloth; or d) a cold piece of fruit.
If you guessed b), you and Jessica and Aaron were right! You’re well on your way to the grand prize, a $10,000 college fund!
To make sure you understand the gravity of the situation and the immense concern a quiz show has for about-to-pop moms, Labor Games provides a periodic update on the woman’s condition, with text appearing on the lower part of the screen: “Time Between Contractions: 3 min. 6 cm. Dilated.”
The host is Arch, who indeed lives up to her surname, her archness extending to such catchphrases as “Is that the answer you want to deliver?” Contestants are also allowed to answer one question with the help of a loved one, friend, or passing nurse — this is the equivalent of a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’s “life-line,” in this case called (get ready to groan) an “umbilical cord” that they can, ah, pull at any point in the game.
I know, it sounds ridiculous, and, yes, it certainly is. But since no infants are harmed in the course of shooting the show, it also seems like distracting fun, for the viewer and the parents-to-be. Instead of sitting around playing Candy Crush on their phones or fretting about whether the infant will get wait-listed for The Kim Kardashian Pre-Skool, why not start on that kid’s college fund before she or he even enters the world?
Labor Games will re-air its first two episodes on TLC on Saturday and Sunday.