Drug Wars: In which “gangs” battle each other for turf. Each gang is given a finite amount of cash with which to bribe police officers and purchase drugs. If they sell the drugs, they can accumulate more cash. Extra points are earned for any firearms purchased, legally or illegally. Contestants who are voted off are shot and killed on the street.
Trading Grace: Five couples trade religions for one month. The couple that is most successfully indoctrinated into its new faith wins. Variation: Individuals can trade for a different religion without discussing it with their partner. Then, they must raise children together.
CEO: Each contestant is assigned to run a publicly traded company. The contestant who hides poor earnings the longest wins. Contestants may be voted out by stockholders, but can keep their options.
Environmentalist: Each contestant is assigned to protect a single endangered species. If the species becomes extinct, the contestant must leave the show and take a job with the U.S. Dept of the Interior. The competition continues until all but one species is extinct.
Soccer Mom: Contestants compete to enroll their children in extracurricular activities. Points are subtracted if contestants do not own minivans, drive SUVs with poor gas mileage, or are late to pick up the children. The mother who manages to get her child to the most activities, while driving the fewest car pools, wins.
Draft: Citizens who haven’t enlisted in the military are surprise-recruited, given six weeks of basic training, and sent to Iraq or Afghanistan to fight alongside dedicated military personnel. Contestants lose points if kidnapped by militants or killed in action. Only the offspring of conservative politicians and pundits are eligible.
Ugly American: Contestants travel to tourist attractions in foreign countries where they make no attempt to speak the local language or adjust to local customs. Points are earned for each visit to a McDonald’s, each cab ride for which a contestant is overcharged, each time they ask for directions to go to a single tourist site, and each time a contestant is unaware that he has been insulted by a local person and laughs in response to the “joke” (except no points for being insulted in France). Contestants must wear running shoes, use camcorders to film stationary objects like cathedrals, and get their pockets picked and passports stolen on a Sunday.
From the archives