Trashed (game show)
Two teams competed in a studio literally filled with junk to answer questions based on music videos and pop culture. Each team brought six "prized possessions" from home to risk having destroyed, or "Trashed", if they did not answer enough questions correctly.
To start the game, host Hardwick would ask the teams a toss-up question (no points at stake) to determine who would go first. This team then selected a "prized possession" from the other team that they wanted to see "trashed". After the selection was made, a category (similar to those on Remote Control) was given. Three questions, worth 50 points each, were asked; either team could buzz in and answer the question. The defending team had to answer at least two of the three questions correctly to save their object. If they did not, a plexiglass shield was raised in front of the players and the possession in play was destroyed in front of them violently. (Note that once the fate of the object had been decided, the category was over immediately.) If an object was saved, it could not be chosen again. Each team played with three out of their six possessions per round; the team that won the category (whether by successfully defending their object or by having an opponent's object trashed) selected the next possession.
Whether an object was saved or "trashed", the team who answered the most questions correctly in a set got to select the next item they wanted to see "trashed". Round two was the same as round one, with the point values being doubled and each team's other three items put into play.
Each category consisted of three questions dealing with pop culture, music videos, or random trivia. On occasion, a skit would be presented, after which the contestants would have to answer questions about the skit or from the performers themselves. Examples of categories included "The Naked Trucker" and "Where in the Hell is Mayim Bialik?" (a satire of the computer game/game show, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?)
The demolition of prized possessions was carried out by Mark Fite, AKA "Mark the Trasher", with occasional help from Andrea Wagner, the model/announcer. Depending on the item being destroyed, this could be carried out in many ways:
- Blowing the item up inside a blast chamber
- Shooting the item with a paintball gun
- Stuffed animals, shoes, and the like were run over with a lawn mower.
- The possession was placed against a brick wall, then a wrecking ball would be sent crashing into the object.
- Electronics, such as VCR's and boomboxes, were crushed in a device that looked like a vertical vise with spikes. An autographed basketball was also destroyed with this machine.
- Mark would appear to be working out on a leg press machine; he would extend a full rep and the item was placed underneath the suspended weight stack. He would then remove his legs, allowing the weights to freefall and crush the object.
- Shoes and boots were destroyed by placing them on a mannequin sitting in a shoe shine booth; the boots were then "shined" using a sander, destroying them.
- Clothes were destroyed by cutting them up with scissors or a knife, or swinging them around on a chainsaw; on one occasion, a shirt was placed on a giant doll of Beavis or Butt-Head (clearly to promote that show, which was just starting out and becoming popular.) Mark then proceeded to pour bleach on both Beavis and Butt-Head, ruining the shirt; it was then sliced apart with a knife.
- Baseball cards and CD's were destroyed by placing them in a box filled with sand, then running over them with a belt sander, ruining both sides.
- Televisions and cassette tape collections were often destroyed by throwing heavy objects onto them from a balcony constructed on stage.
- Surfboards were sawn into pieces with a chainsaw.
- Mark the Trasher played a bowler with the item used as a bowling pin. Mark would then throw the ball, causing the item to be destroyed by the ball.
- If at any time the "trashing" did not work as planned, Mark the Trasher would simply finish the job himself using a sledgehammer.
- On one occasion, the item at stake was an autographed baseball; they brought out a paint can full of hot tar in which to submerge it. However, Mark decided that the baseball was too expensive and instead threw it into the audience.
- On another occasion, a male contestant with long blonde hair put his hair on the line as one of his "prized possessions"; upon getting these questions wrong, staff members began cutting his hair and continued to do so for the remainder of the main game.
Round three was called the "Survival Round". One contestant from each team had to answer questions (at 150 points each) while the other contestant was "imprisoned". At the end of 39 seconds (not a typo), the team in the lead won the game. The "imprisoned" contestant on the losing team was then "trashed" him/herself by being either publicly humiliated or made to come face to face with their "worst fear" by Mark the Trasher and several supporting comedians.
- Getting doused with slime, gravy, milk, eggs, chocolate syrup, etc.
- Getting his/her head shaved.
- Male contestants wearing dresses.
- Mark and his fellow cast members would have a party in which they would each too much junk food and vomit on the contestant.
- Mark and several others spitting tobacco on the contestant.
- A very bad singer serenades the contestant while the contestant is being humiliated.
- A old lady (played by Mark the Trasher in drag) would force the contestant to eat spoiled food.
- At one point, Mark the Trasher appeared out of a box and took off one contestant's shoes and socks, messaged his feet, and doused them with cheese sauce.
The winners moved on to the final round, while the losers left with a tacky parting gift such as a Simpsons chess set and were also required to do 10 hours community service (to go with the "trash" theme.)
The bonus round was a cross between the one used on Remote Control and the Winner's Circle round on the $25,000 Pyramid. The players on the winning team were seated face to face, with three television monitors behind each player, each showing a music video. One at a time, one player would tell the other what was showing on one of the videos behind them, and the second player would have to identify the artist of said video. Correctly identifying all six videos/artists within the time limit won the grand prize.
The time given in the bonus round depended on how well the team did in the upfront game; 30 seconds were given with an additional five seconds tacked on for every possession that team saved; hence, saving all six possessions resulted in the team having 60 seconds (also known as "full time") to identify all the videos.
Trashed had several ongoing comedy bits that were emphasized, usually involving the trash theme and/or humiliating the contestants -
- The word "Loser" was used excessively in this show. At the end of the game, before the "consolation prizes" and winners' prizes were announced, host Hardwick would usually say something to the effect of "on Trashed, there are no winners, just losers!" A sound bite saying "Loser!" was sometimes used when a contestant got a question wrong; the word was also displayed on a screen during the bonus round if one contestant gave an invalid clue. The connotation was furthered with the Beck song Loser, which was popular at the time.
- The questions very often included bathroom or sexual humor; while commonplace for MTV, some of it was very clearly meant to test the boundaries of acceptable material on the network. This pushing of the envelope may go hand-in-hand with the experimenting with crudeness done on other relatively new MTV shows at the time, most notably Beavis and Butt-Head.
- Before the bonus round was played, the "rules" to the bonus round and a disclaimer were read at an incomprehensibly fast speed by the announcer as they scrolled rapidly across the screen.
- If a team won the bonus round, Mark the Trasher would shoot confetti onto the contestants through a modified leafblower from the balcony; later in the series he would begin shooting random objects such as regular pieces of paper through the leafblower, and finally this would occur whether the team won or lost.
- Songs played in the background while the end credits rolled included What Is Love by Haddaway, and Mr. Vain by Culture Beat. These songs were popular in 1994 and usually had a connotation of someone hurting someone else, further emphasizing the destructive nature of the show.
Trashed is one of the earliest of several game shows that has employed destruction of prizes and/or property as one of its gimmicks. Other such shows have included -
- Big Deal!, a knockoff of the classic show Let's Make a Deal in which certain deals involved contestants damaging and/or destroying their own possessions in an effort to win better prizes.
- I Bet You Will, another MTV program in which random people were selected off the streets or other public venues to perform outrageous stunts and/or have their possessions destroyed for money.
- Distraction, a British show later also produced for Comedy Central in which contestants were humiliated and distracted while answering questions, with the winner having to save his or her prizes from damage and/or destruction.
- Beat the Crusher, another British game show in which contestants had their prized possessions destroyed as a tradeoff for money and/or punishment for losing games, with the final competition involving two couples gambling their cars in an attempt to win another one (the loser's car was dropped into a junkyard crusher and smashed.)
This is the only game show to use different scoring displays for each team-- one team was at a yellow podium with an eggcrate display, the other, at a purple podium with a vane display. (The timer, lit up by hostess Wagner pressing a foot pedal above the stage, was also displayed in eggcrate.)