HereIsTV Review – The Briefcase
by Kevin Downey for HereIsTV
Somewhere buried beneath the layer upon layer of reality show gimmicks on CBS’s summer reality show The Briefcase from The Biggest Loser‘s Dave Broome is a decent premise that has the feel of someone dreaming it up while having one too many at the corner bar.
That premise is: If you were handed $101,000 in cash, no questions asked, what would you do with it? For most people, their answer would have something to do with paying off bills or providing for their families. But, in reality TV, there’s always more to it. Which doesn’t make it worth watching.
To stretch out The Briefcase’s super-thin premise to an hour-long show, that simple question turns into desperate attempts to make the show compelling. Each step of the way it stumbles in those attempts.
Notably, that includes complicating the families’ decisions. Two of the show’s producers each give a family a briefcase with the money inside. Those families need the cash. On the premiere, that’s a North Carolina family whose ice cream truck business has gone bust. And it includes an injured Iraq War vet with one leg who has to climb up three flights of stairs to the apartment he shares with his young child and wife – a nurse who is pregnant and working full time.
For some reason, each husband and wife is pitted against each other. They initially decide on their own if they’re going to give away the money to another family, who they slowly learn more about. Every few minutes, the families are dinged with an annoying text message. That message, and ultimately a visit to the other family’s home, give them more information about the other family who they are either giving all the money to, some of it or, yawn, none of it.
Oh, and guess what? There’s a twist at the end that would, if revealed, be a quote-unquote spoiler. Suffice to say, that twist deflates The Briefcase’s almost nonexistent emotional tension.
The Briefcase may sound like a compelling concept. But, in execution, despite some tears, The Briefcase is a dull and emotionless journey that’s not worth taking.