Feature

France's 'Game of Death'

A French reality TV show has scandalized the country by proving volunteers were willing to kill a fellow contestant. Educational or merely sensational?

A screenshot from 'Game of Death'

French television audiences were shocked this week by a documentary in which 80 people, tricked into thinking they were shooting a pilot for a reality TV show, proved they were willing to "kill their countrymen for 15 minutes of fame." In a set-up based on the famous Milgram experiment from the 1960s, the 80 were urged to "electrocute" a fellow contestant - actually an actor - if he got answers wrong. All but 16 of the volunteers punished the contestant until he appeared to die. It's a clever idea, says Bruce Crumley in Time. But this documentary would be more intelligent if it didn't rely "on the same reality TV techniques it is denouncing." Still, it makes a good point, says Archie Bland at the Independent. If the "hideous implications" of this experiment become "widely known," perhaps future generations tested in the same manner might "pause before pushing the button." Watch a video report on France's "Game of Death":

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