In Paid Off, a game show on TruTV, comedian Michael Torpey hosts three contestants as they compete to pay off their student debt. In the process, Torpey hopes to raise awareness of the national crisis that is the student loan debt crisis.
In each episode, the contestants must explain what school they attended and how much they owe. Torpey also intersperses facts about the debt crisis throughout the competition.
What is Paid Off?
Paid Off with Michael Torpey is a game show that gives its contestants the chance to win a sizable sum of money. The show is a spin on the trivia game, but instead of the usual rounds of ad libs and audience participation, three contestants compete in a round of questions that pay off with a prize. The winner is the one who can answer the most questions correctly.
The game is an attempt to raise awareness about the student loan debt crisis that roils the nation, stifling people from buying homes, saving for retirement or starting businesses. The show uses humor to call attention to the problem, and encourages viewers to contact their congressional representatives to advocate for a solution.
In fact, the creator of the show, comedian Michael Torpey, reportedly made a video about his experience as a college graduate with a massive amount of student debt. He claims he has a lot to learn about the problem and wants to share his knowledge with others.
Despite his enthusiasm for the topic, the show does not do much to address the student loan debt problem head on. It is a shame, since the concept is a big deal.
On a more positive note, the show does try to make the problem of student debt a fun and interesting one for its participants. It does so by introducing the concept of student loan wrangling through a series of game show style challenges.
In particular, the wrangling competitions, which feature a series of trivia questions that award prizes, are the aforementioned small-batch gimmick. The real show entails more than that, though. On a whim, Torpey decided to include the most memorable student loan-related game in a show that features a lot of ad libs and audience interaction. The result is an episode that resembles a cross between a family friendly game show and a political rally.
How does the show work?
Torpey’s show is a spoof of all the traditional game shows of old. In the show, contestants compete in trivia games, and if they win, they can get money to pay off their student loans. It’s a far cry from the golden age of the game show where people competed for cars and dream vacations, but it can be fun and even educational at times.
Torpey, who is a star of Orange Is the New Black on Netflix, says his motivation for this project was his wife’s student debt. She was trying to get her license as a mental health counselor, but was struggling to pay her bills. She was in debt to the tune of $40,000, and she had to work all sorts of odd jobs just to make ends meet.
Paid Off has three contestants competing for prize money to help them pay off their student loans. Each contestant starts by explaining what school they attended and their major, how much debt they have, and how that debt is holding them back.
During each round, Torpey intersperses real facts about the student loan crisis. He also encourages viewers to call their congressperson to advocate for eliminating student debt.
In the first season, Torpey awarded more than $1 million in prize money to contestants. He hopes that by giving borrowers the chance to win cash, they’ll be more likely to talk about their debt with others and become activists.
He’s also created five themed episodes that showcase different ways student debt affects people’s lives. One focuses on contestants who are too broke to marry; another highlights those who are struggling to pay for their kids’ education. Other episodes feature people who are working in the non-profit industry and those who are stuck at home because of their student debt.
It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but Torpey has made it his mission to raise awareness about the college debt crisis and give struggling borrowers a chance to get out of debt. He says his goal is to “make the problem a little less bleak,” and he’s clearly passionate about this cause.
Is it a good show?
Student loan debt has become a major issue in American society, and comedian Michael Torpey (Orange Is the New Black) thinks he can do something about it. He hosts Paid Off, which gives college graduates the chance to test their knowledge in a fast-paced trivia game-show before one lucky winner gets the opportunity to have their debt wiped out.
At first glance, this show feels like any other TV game show. Contestants are matched up against each other in a series of trivia games, with the lowest-scoring person eliminated after three rounds. They get to trade their hard-luck stories for cash and prizes, and there’s a call to action at the end of each episode, asking viewers to call their Congressperson about eliminating student debt.
But the show is more than just a regular game show: It’s an angry satire that seeks to be socially useful, using goofy entertainment as a vehicle for political dissent. It starts with physical comedy, such as punching holes in a fake wall, before moving into satirical recitations of depressing facts about the scourge of student debt.
The show is not only entertaining, but also surprisingly moving, as host Michael Torpey uses his contestants’ personal stories to drive home his message that eliminating student debt will help them achieve their dreams. He explains to each contestant how their lives would change if their loans were gone, and often asks them to share how they will do just that.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, you’re in luck: Paid Off is the newest game show to hit TV and it’s a must-watch for anyone struggling with student debt. It’s also an excellent way for families to talk about the impact of debt on their lives, and to encourage kids to make positive financial choices.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Torpey said that he decided to start the show because it was important to him that students know that their student loan debt is not the norm. He also explained that he felt like he needed to do something about the problem and wanted to do it in a way that was both entertaining and compassionate.
Is it worth watching?
The latest show to get a lot of attention is Paid Off with Michael Torpey, which airs on TruTV. The show takes on the student loan debt crisis, a subject that is now part of the popular zeitgeist.
This show comes from the mind of a man who has struggled with his own college debt and is now trying to help others with theirs. The show is based on the concept of a trivia game show where contestants have to answer questions in order to win cash that will pay off their student loans.
In each episode, three different contestants will compete against one another to win the money they need to pay off their student loans. During the game, they’ll answer simple trivia questions about art, science and other topics to earn $100 for each correct answer.
After each round, one of the contestants is eliminated. Afterward, the remaining three compete against each other in a final round to see who will be able to pay off their debts and earn the most money.
At the beginning of each round, each contestant introduces themselves by sharing their major and how much debt they have. They also tell their story of how they got into trouble with their college loans and how they hope to pay off their debts.
As the episodes progress, real facts about the college debt crisis are interspersed throughout the trivia game, and Torpey encourages both contestants and viewers to contact their congress person to advocate for student loan reform. It’s an interesting and unique approach to tackling a serious topic, but it does seem to be missing the point at times.
Torpey, who is best known for his role as a corrupt corrections officer on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, says he was inspired by the rise in comics like Jon Stewart and John Oliver using their platform to comment on political issues. He also grew concerned about the growing problem of student debt after watching a few reality shows about it, and wanted to do something about it.