Ever since the advent of reality television, audiences have been
clamoring for Mark Cuban. Shouts of “Cuban! Cuban!
Cuban!” have echoed endlessly, throughout the hills, streets
and valleys of the earth, all in support of the self-made
millionaire Cuban’s latest noble and humane endeavor: his
long-dreamt-of, finally-realized quest of a TV show called
“The Benefactor.” It’s based completely around
him, of course. Oh, and also a little thing called $1 million.
Anyone who’s ever seen a reality TV series already knows
the basic premise behind Cuban’s new show. A group of perfect
strangers are picked to compete, by any means necessary, for $1
million. The catch? Simply put, Mark Cuban. Aside from the basic
premise, Cuban, who hosts and controls the show, does absolutely
nothing in accordance with traditional reality TV laws. Never does
Cuban explain “the rules.” He simply tells the
contestants that they are being watched and always being
What happens next, however, is what makes this show so unique.
Going out on a limb, Cuban decides he is going to eliminate one of
the contestants right off the bat. While audiences won’t care
about seeing one of the money-grubbing Cubanites go — simply
because the only introduction the audience has had to them so far
is the opening headshot — it is truly a pleasure to watch the
grin slowly spread across Cuban’s slightly demented face as
he names his victim. The utter glee that emanates from the
millionaire’s persona is simply grotesque.
Mark isn’t satisfied with simply eliminating one
contestant per episode. He wants more. Two more, in fact. Our
Benefactor then sets up a series of interviews to “get to
know the contestants.” In these interviews Cuban uses all his
Internet-millionaire muscle to browbeat and otherwise bully the
hopefuls into revealing some sort of weakness.
It is at this point in the show that audiences realize
“The Benefactor” lacks all forms of drama usually
present in a reality show. It is already painfully obvious that
Mark is simply planning on picking the one contestant he likes
most. This game is simply an excuse for the show to give $1 million
away on national television. Not even the “challenges”
are up to snuff, when the final deciding factor between elimination
and another day on the show is a game of Jenga filmed in what
appears to be Cuban’s own basement.
Even with all these shortcomings, however, this show is pure
entertainment. Cuban’s antics rival those of any other
character on television. Watching him explain, with obvious and
down-right childish pride, the reasoning behind his decisions is
comic candy. The utter unpredictability of the show is also a plus:
Audiences never know what will happen next.
“The Benefactor” promises to be pure, unpredictable,
unending trash; utter schlock. In other words, it’s exactly
what it intends to be.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars