Madison Vanderberg
July 10, 2018 10:52 am

The president is a reality star, people can’t stop comparing the current administration to Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale, and now there’s a game show that will pay off your student loan debt. A loan payoff game show sounds like a good thing, right? Who doesn’t want to eliminate their debt? But you’re telling us that if we want any hope of climbing out of insurmountable five- or six-figure student loan debt that we have to compete on a television series? Hm.

Paid Off With Michael Torpey pits millennial contestants against each other in Family Feud meets Jeopardy-style games as contestants rack up the cash to pay off their debt. Mashable very accurately compared the new game show to The Hunger Games.

Despite our “Um, what?” reactions to the show, Paid Off is meant to be a satire and will reportedly sneak some hard truths about the financial crisis into the format, like the “super depressing fact of the week.”

"One of the mantras is ‘an absurd show to match an absurd crisis,’" Michael Torpey — the show's host and creator — said in a statement (via The Washington Post). "A game show feels really apt because this is the state of things right now."

Torpey also ends each episode with the mantra to “Call your representatives right now and tell them you need a better solution than this game show.”

Apparently, Torpey conceived the idea when he was able to pay off his wife’s student loan debt because he booked an underwear ad.

"I know what we are doing is a little ridiculous," Torpey said. "But in a way the show matched my family’s story. The only way we could pay off student loans was because I booked an underpants ad? That’s insane."

Student Loan Hero reports that average student loan debt for Class of 2017 graduates is $39,400. Clearly, the government is not going to solve this crisis — so maybe our only hope is Paid Off.

“If [the government] want to fix this, I will pull the plug on [the show] immediately,” Torpey told Paste Magazine. “I will happily step aside if they step up and take control of the situation.”

Paid Off premieres tonight, July 10th, on TruTV.

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