2197: Game Show

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 13:37, 3 September 2019 by (talk) (Explanation: not sure we need to go *that* far explaining)
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Game Show
2198: Throw is up --> Delete this line when the buttons work again!
Eventually they agreed to "an auto-retracting dog leash with one end clipped to your house, so you can press the button on the handle and water-ski home."
Title text: Eventually they agreed to "an auto-retracting dog leash with one end clipped to your house, so you can press the button on the handle and water-ski home."


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by an UNHAPPY STATUE OF LIBERTY. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

Many shows have situations where the participants are asked hypothetical questions. A common hypothetical question asked to ascertain what someone considers most important to them is the one item they would take to a deserted island -- to make the best of a boring situation.

Black Hat is on such a game show, and he does his best to undermine the intent of the question. Instead of answering with a favorite item -- such as his favorite album or book -- he lists various things (see below) that would (arguably) help him escape the island, thereby undermining the point of the question. These items would either bring him back home (e.g. a boat, a plane), might help him be found (e.g., the Crown Jewels, Earth's north magnetic pole), or a wacky combination of both (e.g. the Atlantic Ocean).

The title text reveals that the game show has ultimately acquiesced to one of Black Hat's wishes in a way: the dog leash mentioned would allow him to water-ski home, though such a dog leash is implausible (for example, a dog leash from San Francisco to Hawaii would be over 2000 miles long).

List of Black Hat's items

  • A boat, so he could sail home.
  • A plane, so he could fly home.
  • Amelia Earhart's plane, so he could be famous. She was a female U.S. aviator who went missing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on an attempt to circumnavigate earth. Her crash site has been searched for for years, and there's still keen interest in finding her -- and coming up with interesting new ideas to guess where she crashed. This answer is a funny continuation of Black Hat's 2nd answer, a plane. Black Hat doesn't just want any plane, he wants a plane that was famous for going down in a unknown spot in the ocean. He's saying he would like his deserted island to be located where her plane went down, implicitly letting him be the first person to find her plane.
  • Amelia Earhart's skeleton, so he could be famous for finding it -- or searched for. Since there's such interest in finding her crash site, if he has her skeleton -- which is a little creepy, but sure, why not -- he might benefit from these search parties, and they would find him in the process.
  • The internal structure of The Statue of Liberty was designed by Gustave Eiffel, best known for his work on the Eiffel Tower. This is a continuation of the skeleton answer, as it's also something that the world would search for. Having it would help him be found, since if it went missing from the actual Statue of Liberty -- magically transported to Black Hat's island -- the skin of the statue would collapse (which would be a funny sight to behold) and there would be worldwide interest in finding out where it went, thus aiding in Black Hat getting rescued from the island. Stealing something of this magnitude seems like something Carmen Sandiego might try to do. This might also be a reference to the scene from the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes in which (Spoiler Alert) at the end of the movie the protagonist realizes he's on earth after all when he sees the half-sunk wreckage of the Statue of Liberty on a beach.
  • The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, so he would be rescued -- or at least rich. The Crown Jewels are ceremonial objects owned by the kings and queens of the UK. The items are kept under heavy guard and are valued at about $4 billion, so if they were magically transported to Black Hat's desert island, the British military would be likely to find them -- and him. And if they didn't, he'd now control the most valuable jewels in the world (though it might be hard to sell them).
  • The entire television audience for the show, so it wouldn't be deserted anymore -- and potentially to punish them for being entertained at the mean idea of having contestents be deserted on an island. If this is a popular channel/show, this could potentially be millions of people, all who have at least been exposed to the idea of how best to making the most of a boring situation. Then at least it would no longer be a deserted island, but of course it would be even more difficult to survive. The answer is similar to the action movie cliche, "If I'm going down, I'm taking you with me."
  • The Greenland ice sheet is the body of ice covering the island of Greenland. As the second largest ice sheet on Earth, it would turn the deserted island into, well, Greenland, thus making it much easier to find. Also, it would be pretty funny for Greenland to be instantly relocated. This may also be a reference to the remarks from American President Trump in August 2019 when he suggested he'd like to buy Greenland from Denmark, which were generally received as a bit odd.
  • Earth's north magnetic pole, so that all compasses would point to his location. The magnetic pole is the point on earth that all compasses point towards because of the magnetohydrodynamic (magic) forces in the earth's mantle. If all compasses were to suddenly point to his location, many scientists would investigate, and they would coverge on his deserted island, and Black Hat would be rescued.
  • The Atlantic Ocean, so that he could drift back to land. The Atlantic Ocean is the ocean left behind by the split of North America and Afroeurasia. If it could somehow be poured over a deserted island in the pacific, the water would run right back to its original ocean bed, thus bringing Black Hat back toward some kind of landmass -- letting him be rescued -- and probably causing huge flooding on all Pacific coasts and general global havoc on Earth's ecosystem, all for the purposes of Black Hat surfing thousands of miles to shore on the largest wave ever seen.


[Cueball, Black Hat, and Megan are game show contestants standing behind lecterns with Hairy standing in front of them as the game show host. Black Hat, standing in the middle of the three is holding a finger up while speaking.]
Black Hat: A boat. A plane. Amelia Earhart's plane. Amelia Earhart's skeleton. The Statue of Liberty's internal support frame. The Crown Jewels. This show's entire television audience. The Greenland ice sheet. Earth's north magnetic pole.
Black Hat: Am I in the Pacific Ocean?
Black Hat: If so, the Atlantic Ocean.
Hairy: Uhh.
Hairy: Our producers are going to need some time on this one.
[Caption below the panel:]
The game show realized that they should have added some restrictions to their "take any item to a deserted island" challenge, but it was too late.

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Suggestion for comic explanation: Black Hat does the things that Black Hat always does. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm unable to find a single instance of any game show ever asking this sort of question. 22:35, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

The wording of the caption implies this is a new show which was not well thought out. And, as is usual for XKCD, completely fictional. However the QUESTION is an old and common thought experiment, seemingly to get to know a person better by finding out what they value. This is just suggesting somebody made a game show out of the question. Often, as the commenter below seems to have linked to, the question is specifically about what handful of musical albums you'd bring (in other words, what music would you not get sick of after hearing it a million times). NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:42, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

How about https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Island_Discs?

   Desktop link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Island_Discs

Note that Desert Island Discs does have a restriction on the item to be taken to the desert island - it must be a luxury item of no practical use. (Note you also get the bible and the complete works of Shakespeare thrown in for nothing). 07:53, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Desert Island Discs is not a game show: it isn't competitive and has no prizes. It's more like a celebrity interview or chat show. 13:39, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
The usual version of this question being asked on a game show is more like the "getting to know the contestants" trope, and could reasonably be considered to be a microcosm of the DID programme. OhFFS (talk) 15:36, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
The long running "Expedition Robinson" a.k.a. "Survivor" franchise does have the concept of a single personal item that each contestant may bring to the island. At least the original Swedish version does. I don't know about the 50+ other versions of the show. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivor_(franchise) and https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264245/. Epsilon (talk) 07:36, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

I find myself wondering what Black Hat would do if he had the skeleton. Probably some kind over-elaborate scheme to mess with people? Or maybe it's just because there are so many people who'd be interested in the possibility of bringing it back from a desert island. Angel (talk) 01:07, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

At first it looks like Black Hat is playing a different type of game show game - to associate each item to the one before. The links are mode of transport, plane, relating to Earhart, internal structure, has a crown. Beyond that, items seem to simply be random and hard to obtain.-- 01:53, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

  • Well, when you consider that Queen Elizabeth is a big fan of this show... --Account (talk) 02:05, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Seems like water skiing back home would also require skis. Miamiclay (talk) 06:25, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Seems DgbrtBOT failed because of the interactivity of the How To release day comic 2198: Throw, which came out on a Tuesday, the release day! --Kynde (talk) 07:45, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

I have tried to create it, and the REDIRECT 2198 page as well. Hope it works... --Kynde (talk) 07:48, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Is part of the joke also that in pedantic logic "any" can be more than one item? Which is why he lists so many things? 08:40, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Having the crown jewels would quite garanty him to return to continent, I guess, as UK would want to get it back.

08:47, 3 September 2019 (UTC)Thy

I disagree with some of the suggested motivations for Black Hat's items. I think in most cases he is simply listing things that he knows would be impossible to supply - not because he wants the fame of finding or owning them. Amelia Earhart's plane is lost to history, as is her skeleton (which would be subject to laws regarding the treatment of remains in any case, so it would be difficult to give this to Black Hat). The internal skeleton of the Statue of Liberty is currently holding up the Statue of Liberty; removing this would be difficult and probably illegal as it would destroy a historic landmark. The Crown Jewels belong to the British monarchy and cannot be sold, and stealing them would be difficult (and illegal). The audience of the show are people, not items, and would not consent to being taken to a deserted island. Greenland's ice sheet is too large and heavy to supply. Earth's North magnetic pole is a conceptual point, not an item. Transplanting an entire ocean into another one would be difficult (and probably illegal). Hawthorn (talk) 12:28, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

According to the current article, if Black Hat was given the entire television audience to take with him, "then at least it would no longer be a deserted island, but of course it would be even more difficult to survive." But why? Does Black Hat seem the type to be disturbed by cannibalism? Wouldn't a crowded island make it easier (for at least one person) to survive? 17:37, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

I seriously doubt he would survive. Assume for a moment that you are not particularly interested in getting dumped on a remote island, expecting to fend for yourself. But black hat wanted to bring the entire audience. So you wake up one morning and realize you have been transported to said island. Then you happen to meet the person responsible for your predicament. Now, you yourself might be a good christian and meek as a lamb. But in a large audience you must assume there are a number of people that are not. Epsilon (talk) 07:14, 9 September 2019 (UTC)