The irreverent game show is grounded in real psychology. Each episode of the series features real stories ranked by a panel of psychologists according to the “Three Pillars of Misery” concept. The concept ranks miserable experiences based on their resulting physical pain, emotional trauma, and long-term psychological impact.
As a result, each episode of The Misery Index features three distinct rounds. In the first round, known as Misery Lane, each team must decide if a contestant’s story ranks higher or lower on the psychologist-devised Misery Index scale than a hypothetical situation read to them by Jamil. The team that gets closest to the right answer wins the first round, along with the cash prize that comes with it.
In the second round, More or Less Miserable, the team that lost the first round hears two similar stories and must decide which one ranked higher on the index. And finally, in the last round, Master of Misery, both teams secretly rank the same story, and whichever team gets closest to the psychologists’ true ranking wins the game.
While the premise is simple, The Misery Index manages to serve up plenty of laughs for the audience and the panelists, making this game show one where even miserable life experiences are good for something. And after a year like 2020, you can bet season 3 will be more relatable than ever before.