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Thread: Unravelling the Real Mysteries of ''Treasure Hunters"

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    Endlessly ShrinkingViolet's Avatar
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    Unravelling the Real Mysteries of ''Treasure Hunters"

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    Look, I'm not even going to try to feign an interest in or an understanding of the Genworth Financial at-home challenge NBC keeps promoting every week during Treasure Hunters. Maybe it's too hard. Or too easy. Or too random. Maybe I'm just distracted by the bad Photoshopping used to foist the Genworth logo onto road signs and other placards that pop up on the Treasure Hunters route.

    Then again, perhaps I'm too busy trying to solve the show's internal hidden mysteries no, not those ''left by our forefathers,'' as the opening credits lamely promise every week. (Like I'm so sure George Washington and Benjamin Franklin spent their power lunches at the Philadelphia Hard Rock laying the groundwork for a reality TV series a couple hundred years later.) Instead, I'm talking about the mysteries of the production itself, the ones that leave me raging against the machine at the center of my living room every Monday night. These include (but are certainly not limited to) the following:

    1. Why the startling inconsistencies in the rules of the game? You know what I'm talking about. Two weeks ago, the Grad Students lost one member to injury (don't ask which one, I could never keep 'em straight) and got booted from the hunt. This week, Keith tears a muscle, and yet the Brown Family gets to keep on truckin'. Huh?

    Yes, yes, I'm fully aware that if the Brown Family had completed the swamp-box-quilt challenge, they'd have had the option (like the other six remaining teams) of dropping a player and continuing as a duo, but they never even made it to the first box. I don't care that Tonny and the sibling whose name I never remembered got a six-hour penalty after Keith quit. They should have, at the very least, proven they could make it through the marshes, just like out-of-shape, flat-footed Genius Sam (and his almost disloyal teammates Frodo and Gollum) and the Southie Boys, each of whom had to carry 40 pounds of Kayte Fogal's shrill complaining on their backs. Frankly, if the Browns really believed ''the hunt is the hunt, the game is the game'' (their inane sports talk, not mine), they would have insisted on completing the course as intended.

    2. How come the teams always know how to solve what appear to be completely random clues? I know some of you brought this up last week, and I wanted to as well, but I had promised to write a completely positive column. (You can see I got that outta my system.) It's worth rewinding to last week's Brooklyn subway tunnel, where teams yelled, ''I got it!'' after digging the book, flag, and glasses out of the piles of random artifacts. How would they know what ''it'' to get unless they'd been told by the show's producers, or via phone by competing teams? What's more, since the cameras are constantly trained on the players, why not show the moments of realization when they solve various puzzles, and then treat us to post-challenge ''confessional'' interviews in which they explain their thought processes? As it is now, Treasure Hunters feels to me like sitting in the back of a second-semester French class and watching the students pass an oral exam one at a time, while I can barely pronounce ''bon jour.''

    In the show's defense, at least this week's ''FREEDOM'' clue, with ''RED'' spelled out in a different color, offered a small slice of satisfaction, at least when I thought all the clues were stuffed into red pockets on the quilts. Who knew that the red glasses from Brooklyn were the answer, or that any of the teams were still carrying them?

    3. On a similar note, and not to beat multiple horses (dead or otherwise), but why present so many challenges that, once solved by a single team, are plain as day to the competition? Once the kick-ass blond chick from Air Force ripped the finial off the flag stand at Fort Pulaski, even the Wild Hanlons would've known the remaining six banners contained similar maps. And even if they hadn't, one of their do-gooder foes probably would've helped 'em, which raises the question...

    4. Why has the show been cast with folks who think competition is a dirty word? Exhibit A: Southie Matthew whining, after another team entered the quilt-filled safe house, ''I don't think Air Force even said hi. They were, like, so military.'' If by ''military,'' he means ''focused and competitive,'' then I'm hoping next week's episode is the reality TV equivalent of boot camp. Which brings me to my final query:

    5. Why didn't Pa Fogal clock his daughter with that shovel? Heck no, I'm not advocating serious violence. I'm just in awe that the man of the cloth (whose ''I don't know what hurts more, my ears or my feet'' was kinda priceless) managed to resist rattling bratty Kayte's cage with a gentle, therapeutic blow to the head. Or perhaps the kneecaps. Anything. To make. Her stop. Whining. Then again, maybe the terrible twentysomething is merely a weapon the Fogals are using to irritate and sidetrack their fellow players. Now there's the kind of vicious play I could learn to love and respect.

    Until that proves to be the case, though, I'm rooting for Air Force, the one team that never whines, cries, threatens to quit, or considers dumping a member. (Yeah, Geniuses, what would you have done if asthmatic Sam hadn't been gasping into the mirror?) And if not them, well, then I guess Ex-CIA, just because they've failed to make much of an impression at all, which, in the world of Treasure Hunters' endless puzzles, is the encrypted equivalent of downright likable.

    What did you think of this week's episode? Were you sad to see the always trailing Browns get booted? And was I the only one who howled when Francis explained his exhaustion by noting, ''We've skipped at least three or four dimensions of time-space continuum at this point''? Real genius, eh?

  2. #2
    FORT Fanatic Kay118's Avatar
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    1. Why the startling inconsistencies in the rules of the game? You know what I'm talking about. Two weeks ago, the Grad Students lost one member to injury (don't ask which one, I could never keep 'em straight) and got booted from the hunt. This week, Keith tears a muscle, and yet the Brown Family gets to keep on truckin'. Huh?
    Exactly, it wasn't fair to the Grad Students. They should also be offered the option to take a time penalty and continue as a duo.

  3. #3
    FORT Fogey cricketeen's Avatar
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    1. Two weeks ago, the Grad Students lost one member to injury (don't ask which one, I could never keep 'em straight) and got booted from the hunt. This week, Keith tears a muscle, and yet the Brown Family gets to keep on truckin'. Huh?

    Yeah, they really need to have Robohost explain that one.

    2.It's worth rewinding to last week's Brooklyn subway tunnel, where teams yelled, ''I got it!'' after digging the book, flag, and glasses out of the piles of random artifacts. How would they know what ''it'' to get unless they'd been told by the show's producers, or via phone by competing teams?

    IIRC, the books had the glasses tucked inside and were wrapped in the flags. There should have been what, seven or so of these packages in that pile of 'artifacts'? That alone would have told me that it was something worth investigating.

    3. Once the kick-ass blond chick from Air Force ripped the finial off the flag stand at Fort Pulaski, even the Wild Hanlons would've known the remaining six banners contained similar maps.

    She is a kick-ass - without losing her femininity. I loved her line when she found the map - "A little respect?". To me it looked as if the finial screwed onto the flag pole. Screw it back in and no-one is the wiser.

    4. Why has the show been cast with folks who think competition is a dirty word?

    Amen. PG13 explained to me that they help each other in order to get help later, but if someone is too dumb to find their way home at night, or taking help without ever giving any, you should blow right by them.

    5. Then again, maybe the terrible twentysomething is merely a weapon the Fogals are using to irritate and sidetrack their fellow players. Now there's the kind of vicious play I could learn to love and respect.



    Until that proves to be the case, though, I'm rooting for Air Force.

    Me, too - my husband attended the AF Academy - they turn out fine, fine people (for the most part).


    Were you sad to see the always trailing Browns get booted?

    I liked the Browns, they came across as a nice family; but as competitors their getting the boot was inevitable, so I wasn't particularly sad.
    "If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough." - Mario Andretti

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShrinkingViolet View Post
    2. How come the teams always know how to solve what appear to be completely random clues? I know some of you brought this up last week, and I wanted to as well, but I had promised to write a completely positive column. (You can see I got that outta my system.) It's worth rewinding to last week's Brooklyn subway tunnel, where teams yelled, ''I got it!'' after digging the book, flag, and glasses out of the piles of random artifacts. How would they know what ''it'' to get unless they'd been told by the show's producers, or via phone by competing teams? What's more, since the cameras are constantly trained on the players, why not show the moments of realization when they solve various puzzles, and then treat us to post-challenge ''confessional'' interviews in which they explain their thought processes? As it is now, Treasure Hunters feels to me like sitting in the back of a second-semester French class and watching the students pass an oral exam one at a time, while I can barely pronounce ''bon jour.''

    In the show's defense, at least this week's ''FREEDOM'' clue, with ''RED'' spelled out in a different color, offered a small slice of satisfaction, at least when I thought all the clues were stuffed into red pockets on the quilts. Who knew that the red glasses from Brooklyn were the answer, or that any of the teams were still carrying them?
    I suppose it's a matter of perspective. For me, I'm a massive crypto geek, and have always been fascinated by secret messages, ways of hiding information. I was shouting at the TV when it took them so long to figure out the mirrors; it seemed pretty obvious to me, especially when 'reflection' was a key part of the clue. Hold up the clue itself to check for mirror writing, then look at the mirror itself. Next! I admit I was mystified for a while by the blacklight writing in the old school, but I got it eventually. As soon as they walked into the church with all the candles last night, I turned to my friend and said, 'Oh, it'll be lemon writing.' Write a message with lemon juice or milk; the message vanishes when the juice evaporates, and only reappears when a heat source is added, because the juice burns at a lower temperature than the paper.

    In fact, no one's been asked to solve an actually hard code yet. They're all more brain-teaser style puzzles...which is, I think, the crux of Team Genius's problem. They keep expecting the game to be geared towards them, and are overthinking everything. If they'd just realize that there's not going to be anything in the game that Pa Hanlon couldn't figure out, they'd probably be winning by now.

    However, I do completely agree -- I'd love to see a confessional bit where we get the teams' thought process once they figure out each puzzle. That's far more interesting than watching them wander around a theatre for hours looking baffled.

    Tay

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