College grads with mountains of student loan debt now have the tiniest glimmer of hope. Not the support of politicians in D.C., not the easing of interest rates, but a game show where they can play to get their debt paid off. We really are living in the worst timeline.

Paid Off is a new trivia show airing on TruTV starting July 12 that begs the question: Are Americans really this desperate? Short answer, yes. Long answer, hell yes. Student loan debt in the U.S. affects 70 percent of college grads. Our great country outranks every other one in terms of average debt owed per grad, at $37,000. And federal student loan interest rates just rose for the second year in a row.

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“One of the mantras is ‘an absurd show to match an absurd crisis,'” Paid Off host Michael Torpey told The Washington Post. “A game show feels really apt because this is the state of things right now.”

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Indeed. So, how do contestants win big? By answering trivia questions, some of which have an educational bent and some of which do not at all, like, “How long do you have to date before it’s okay to fart in front of your partner?” Each of the three contestants must have student loan debt to compete; most are in their 20s and 30s. The winner enters a speed round at the end, and is awarded money depending on how many questions he or she can answer.

Torpey said that the goal of the show is to raise awareness about student loan debt, and he ends each episode with a call to actions: “Call your representatives right now and tell them you need a better solution than this game show.”

Desperate times, huh?



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