what is the misery index
Source: TBS

Here's How 'The Misery Index's Eponymous Misery Index Works


Apr. 14 2020, Updated 4:53 p.m. ET

The Good Place star Jameela Jamil has made quite a name for herself for her role on the hit NBC show, her relationship with James Blake, and for taking issue with many celebrity fad diets, cementing herself as a feminist whose views don't resound with everyone.

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Piers Morgan, for one, recently called her a "total fraud" on Twitter, "the absolute personification of fake celebrity victimhood," and doubled down by branding her a "deeply unpleasant human being." For her part, Jameela insists she's "not trying to get anyone canceled."

But in light of some recent backlash against her, or perhaps in spite of it, Jameela's career persists nevertheless. These days, she's hosting a new TBS game show called The Misery Index, which at first glance sounds like the polar opposite of The Good Place's premise.

So, what is The Misery Index? Keep reading to find out.

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what is the misery index
Source: TBS

What is The Misery Index?

TBS' latest show borrows its title from economics. In that context, the misery index is used for measuring the economic health of a country. Specifically, it uses unemployment rates, consumer prices, and inflation rates to help determine how the average citizen fares financially.

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In 2016, Venezuela had the highest misery index and Japan had the lowest, for example. But on Jameela's new show, you can forget all the politics and economics. 

The "Misery Index," as the show employs it, is a ranking system created by a team of therapists — and it's a key instrument in the game show's premise.

According to TBS, The Misery Index will feature two teams each episode. Each team will consist of one contestant and two Impractical Jokers (comics from The Tenderloins comedy troupe and stars of their own truTV series). Together, the team is tasked with "attempting to rate hilarious and miserable life-events on a scale of 1-100." That scale is this show's eponymous Misery Index. 

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what is the misery index pm
Source: TBS

In fact, the show is actually based on a card game called "S--t Happens," which was created by Monk and The Good Cop creator Andy Breckman. The card game has one goal and one goal only: to rank hilariously crappy events "from the least sh--ty to the absolute sh--tiest."

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The game breaks down the Misery Index in a handy diagram that ranges from 0-100, pictured below. A "10" is where experiences like enemas go, while chronic insomnia is considered about a "50." The pinnacle of misery, as this index would have it, is "Surgeon amputates wrong leg," which is ranked the maximum points of 100.

The Misery Index was created by psychologists.

While the Misery Index system and The Misery Index show sound like all fun and games, the actual index itself was conceived of by several professionals. "We asked a panel of serious, highly qualified grown-ups," the card game's site reads. Per TBS, it sounds like the show will rely on the same system.

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"Our panel includes marriage counselors, therapists, career counselors and social workers; collectively representing over 150 YEARS of clinical psychiatric experience," it continues. This panel "carefully evaluated" each of the card game's 200 events "even the moronic ones" and considered factors like "anxiety level, emotional trauma" and "long-term psychological damage."

All in all, the series sounds like a fun time for anyone who enjoys "old-fashioned slapstick," as Jameela describes the game show, schadenfreude and the DSM manual.

New episodes of The Misery Index air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TBS.

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