The Chamber

Dinner Room, 8pm

I can’t believe I drank that much. Fuck! My head is still pounding.

Anyway, Dr. Camp approached me (sometime after what he is calling “the longest shower of his life”…not sure what that’s all about) with a smile on his face. Seemed like he was thinking he was going to be pretty happy with trying to torture me, but the tone quickly changed. 

“I need you to review something shitty. Something that happened during one of the worst parts of American history.”

He slowly slid the folder towards me.

“If it’s fucking ‘Takeshi’s Castle’, I will be super short. Two words: ‘It blew.’”

Dr. Camp smirked through this thick beard.

“It’s worse, and I know for a fact that you’ll knock it out of the park.”

I then opened the folder to see a sheet of paper with the introduction image of “The Chamber.”

So, this steamy pile was on FOX and ran for only three episodes, even though they taped six. It started airing only one hundred and twenty four days after one of the most tragic events ever on American soil. The moment I speak of was the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. To some people, it was the worst show to air while people were still mourning a tragedy. 

Why was this a bad idea? “The Chamber” was a show that basically glorified the use of a fucking torture chamber and to have humans willingly be strapped in for cash prizes. I can hear you guys asking, “What? How bad could it have possibly been for network television?” Well, let me explain the format real quick and then I’ll go into the details for the chamber itself.

Two people, one male and one female, would go head to head in a trivia challenge giving back and forth answers to a question provided by the host, Rick Schwartz. All of the preliminary rounds were done in a best two out of three format. Rick would give an example like: “What were the twelve gifts in the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’?” After a contestant won 2 points, the winner would be offered $500 to not even bother with the chamber…which no one took. A microphone, a blood pressure cuff, and muscle contractors were placed upon the poor fucking soul. During this time it would be chosen “at random” which mode the chamber would be in. Each question the contestant answered correctly would net them a cool $1,000 and if they left the chamber for any reason the money they earned up until that point would be cut in half. 

Due to the serious nature of the show itself, there were four ways to leave the game:

#1: Giving two incorrect answers consecutively.

#2: The player’s “Stress Quotient” exceeds a predetermined value for twenty seconds. This value was using variables from blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperatures.

#3: The show’s medical team could stop the chamber if they feel like the contestant is unable to continue.

#4: Screaming “Stop the Chamber!”

If any contestant could last seven rounds, at one minute each, and answered at least twenty five questions correctly, they would triple the winnings making it at least one hundred thousand dollars. Also, as a promise from the producers, they would retire that particular chamber only to come up with more devious fucking replacements. The ones that were revealed during the second episode were “The Water Torture Chamber”, “The Electric Shock Chamber” and “The Swarming Insect Chamber” I’m not thinking I’m alone in this, but if i was to be in the Insect chamber I’ll quit immediately, and then burn the entire studio to the ground!

Now onto the modes of the chamber that they did use, and it feels like this is the reason the show was ultimately canceled in less than a month.

As was previously stated, they made it feel like a coin flip to see which chamber you would get…but it’s probably a bunch of bullshit.

The first possibility that was picked was the “Hot Chamber”. At level 1 the chamber would be at a blistering one hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit (43°C) and work it’s way to one hundred and seventy degrees. (66°C), a simulated earthquake raging from a 5.0 all the way to a 9.0 and they turn on muscle contractors on your ass. On top of all of that bullshit, the chair rotates back and forth and eventually completes circles while wind gusts of forty miles per hour are blasting you right in the face.

Now, if you would rather have the cold, it’s not that much better. The temperature goes from thirty degrees Fahrenheit (-1°C) to negative twenty degrees Fahrenheit (-29°C). Water jets would spray contestants in the face, eventually causing ice to form, and hitting you at max speed at level two. Ice storms begin at level 3, and the earthquake and muscle contractions are here as well.

The cold chamber gave us the only survivor, Scott Brown, who won with only twenty thousand dollars to show for it. He lasted all seven levels, but only answered twenty questions. The fucking worst part about it was that he ultimately sued FOX and the producers of the show when he was hospitalized for fucking hypothermia. He got what he wanted when they settled out of court for only one hundred thousand dollars, the max pay out of the show.

The fact that I had to sit here and watch all three episodes of this stupid as fuck show, with some REALLY stupid people in it, is just bringing back the warm feels of a shit sundae. Not to mention the poor taste of releasing it so close to September 11th makes it feel like FOX and the producers just wanted to put out content that would be akin to watching a horror movie that was turned into a reality show.

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