Let's Make a Deal: Everett Collection
Nick Spagnoli
January 19, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Let’s Make a Deal: harmless entertainment for the masses, or cold-hearted exploitation? According to the ambitious, surprisingly serious doc Deal, it was both. ”Deal‘s success is very simple,” states an ABC exec of the game show, on which outrageously dressed contestants swapped cash or random objects for whatever was behind door No. 3. ”It’s based on greed.” From contestants looking to ”get something for nothing” to the producers who bombard the telecast with promotional advertising (now commonplace on shows like The Apprentice and Survivor), greed is indeed the overarching theme. But it’s not all dark and cynical: We also get an amusingly surreal glimpse of host Monty Hall proudly showing off his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a look at announcer Jay Stewart shilling for Dairy Queen while outfitted as a giant baby. Seeing clips of the actual show, it’s easy to believe Deal‘s defenders, who say it’s just about having a good time. As a network programmer says, ”You don’t see people moping around when they’re out there dressed as a pizza or a radish.” EXTRAS Only a boring, hard-to-read trivia quiz. Zonk! B

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