Jordan Peele's 'Us' is a Creepy Tale That Sadly Mirrors Our Reality

On May 25, 1986, approximately 6.5 million Americans stood hand in hand forming a human chain that stretched from New York to California for an event called Hands Across America. It was a fundraiser project from USA for Africa (the same people who produced the “We Are the World” single the year before) in hopes of raising $100 million to fight hunger and homelessness. The hope was that everyone who participated would donate $10 for the cause. Families stood and sang together for 15 minutes. And then it was over.

I had trouble remembering if Hands Across America really happened or if it was a gimmick for the film when the original commercial for the event flashed on the big screen during the opening of Us. I only vaguely remember the event, which might have to do more with the fact that I have lived in Washington State my whole life and we weren’t involved in the project. I doubt that I’m the only one and I suspect that was also some of Jordan Peele’s reasoning as well whe…

NBC's 'The Wall': More of the Same

NBC's "The Wall"
The giant "plinko" board called The Wall (Ben Cohen/NBC)


While ABC has done a bang up job of reviving old tried and true favorite TV game shows like To Tell the Truth, Match Game and Pyramid, NBC continues to try it’s luck on new, bigger-than-life productions that will appeal to the masses in the short term and will more than likely fade from our memory just as quickly.

The latest is a game of chance simply called The Wall which is essentially an over-sized plinko board where deserving teams of two answer a series of questions which are followed by the bouncing balls.  Simply, if the couple gets the answer right, the white ball turns green and the couple will receive the money that is listed on the slots that the ball goes down to. If they get the answer wrong, the ball will turn red and their total will be deducted from where the balls land.

With stakes promising up to $12 million dollars, we get to see the couple’s winning total go and down numerous times throughout the show. Halfway through the show, the couple is split up and each have to work independently from each other. Then, regardless of their total near the end of the show, one of the contestants is given a check with a large amount which might be higher or lower that the couple have actually achieved. Then that contestant has to decide whether or not to accept the offer. Couples have the potential of leaving the show very rich, leaving with absolute nothing or somewhere in between.

"The Wall" review
Contestants Chris and  Katie. (NBC)
For some viewers, this will be an exciting show to watch. For me, it got old quickly. Though there is some skill to the game, a lot relies on chance which isn’t very exciting to me. But the worst part of the show is listening to the contestants reasoning why they pick one slot over another, “I asked my wife to marry me on the 4th of July, so I’m going to pick #4” one contestant said in last night’s broadcast. Who cares? Just pick a slot and go with it.

If you were a fan of Deal or No Deal, which also relied a lot on chance, then this could be your next favorite show. If however you found that show to be tedious to watch, you’ll experience that same sentiment here as well. One plus here though, there are no beauties parading around with suitcases pretending to be excited or disappointed by the player’s guesses. Hardwick more than makes up for that. It is nice that the show actively seeks people who could really use the prize money though.

Having had two previews already, The Wall actually debuts tonight and will continue on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.

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