Late evening in ITV headquarters. The meeting room is awash with cans of Red Bull and cold cartons of Chinese food.
Big Boss: Gentlemen, this is infuriating. How difficult can it possibly be to develop a new zeitgeist-capturing water-cooler game show?
Minion #1: Don’t blame us, boss.
Minion #2: Yeah. We’re up against Anne Robinson, and she burned her soul to get her show.
Minion #3: Plus, that third cocaine break was probably a mistake.
Big Boss: NO EXCUSES! The last bunch of minions whined and moaned just like you little bitches, but damn it if they didn’t eventually come up with What Katie Did Next.
Minion #1: If they were so awesome, how come they’re not around here anymore?
Big Boss: They asked too many questions about the minions that came before them.
Minion #2: Gulp.
Minion #3: Recursive threats are the scariest threats.
Big Boss: Focus, minions! What do people want in a game show?
Minion #1: Awesome prizes?
Minion #2: Sexy hosts?
Minion #3: Absurdly easy tasks made to look difficult?
Big Boss: Yes, and?
Minion #1: Um… an absurd gimmick?
Big Boss: Excellent, Minion #1! You shall be eaten last!
Minion #1: What?
Big Boss: Nothing. Continue the brainstorming, my minions. Think outside the box.
Minion #2: What if we think inside the box?
Big Boss: Don’t make me order new minions.
Minion #2: No! Wait! Let’s bring back The Crystal Maze! Put a bunch of presumably partially lobotomised people inside boxes disguised as historical locations, and force them to perform obscenely simple tasks in order to humiliate them on national television.
Big Boss: I do like humiliation.
Minion #3: We’ll never get Richard O’Brien back, though.
Big Boss: Fuck else is he doing?
Minion #3: It’s like a pride thing, or something.
Minion #1: What about Ed Tudor Pole?
Big Boss: Your status as “last to be eaten” is hereby rescinded.
Minion #1: What?
Big Boss: Nothing. Can’t we just find some other freak?
Minion #2: Philip Schofield?
Big Boss: Is he bald?
Minion #2: He’s grey-haired.
Big Boss: Is that freaky enough, though?
Minion #3: We could put it about that he was sleeping with Gordon the Gopher.
Big Boss: I like it, Minion #3!
Minion #3: But, we wanted a sexy host, didn't we?
Big Boss: Let's have a sexy lady demonstrate how the games work.
Minion #1: As well as allowing practice goes?
Big Boss: Gotta get the sexay in there somehow.
Minion #2: Isn't that pretty gratuitous, even for us?
Big Boss: We'll stick her in a mask.
Minion #2: ...Yeah, that's a lot better.
Minion #1: What if we can’t get the rights?
Big Boss: We plagiarise! We are thinking outside the box!
Minion #1: The box represents copyright law, now, does it?
Big Boss: It does for those who wish to remain uneaten.
Minion #1: What?
Minion #2: Let’s just throw out all the dead wood. Like the different zones. Don’t need them. Or all the running between rooms. Bollocks to that. All you need are the pathetically retarded tasks that idiots will somehow make a hash of.
Big Boss: Get rid of the links, you say?
Minion #3: Like The Krypton Factor?
Minion #2: Fuck off! The Krypton Factor actually was hard. No-one wants to watch that in the 21st Century! It’s got to be childish party games that the dregs of society find impossible to grasp. Counting squares, maybe, or successfully dropping a ball inside a bin! Plus, we don’t need less links, we need *more* links! Only let’s include a bare minimum of choice-making in there as well, so we can pass that shit off as tension. If we’re going to rip off the Crystal Maze, we may as well do a number on …Millionaire as well.
Big Boss: You’re talking lifelines?
Minion #2: Yes! You could have a lifeline that gives you a free go at a game that looks to hard. Or a lifeline that makes a task even more grotesquely simplistic, to the point where monkeys could complete it with two minutes of trial and error!
Minion #1: And if they somehow still fail to walk in a straight line with their eyes closed, they get kicked off the show.
Minion #2: I dunno. Best give them a couple of extra chances, so they don’t. Say, nine?
Minion #3: Nine? We’re going to have to *really* search out some idiots for this one.
Minion #2: I doubt it’s going to be much of a problem.
Big Boss: So, let’s review. A grey-haired freak in a studio taking far too long to offer basic choices to contestants in-between wretchedly simple games, demonstrated by a woman in a mask, that are played again and again until the hapless fools beg for them to be made easier still. Have I missed anything?
Minion #1: Er… bullet time?
Big Boss: Bullet time? The Matrix was ten fucking years ago.
Minion #1: The Matrix didn’t use it to humiliate people in slow-motion.
Big Boss: ...Fine. Right, I think we’re done.
Minion #3: Wait! We still don’t have an actual set for all the games to take place in!
Big Boss: Eh, fuck it. Let’s just stick ‘em in a big transparent box. Done.