Ron Koeberer/ABC
August 03, 2011 at 05:55 PM EDT

Probably in the bottom-right “fruit” door of the fridge. No one would, or should, ever go in there. Run! Run away! I am rich now!

Anyone else catch ABC’s series premiere of Take the Money and Run, which should really just be called Mindf—ing? Here’s what happens: Two people get a briefcase with $100,000 inside and an hour to hide it. Then some real investigators (who may access the pair’s phone records, GPS coordinates, and acquired receipts from that hour) attempt to induce severe nervous breakdowns by holding them in prison, eye-mocking them when they show up for questioning sessions in their orange DOC jumpsuits THAT ARE RIDICULOUS FOR THEM TO BE WEARING BECAUSE THIS IS FAKE BUT I GET IT BECAUSE IT’S TV, and basically turning the scenario from “You are participating in a potentially lucrative game show. What a fun, sexy time for you!” to “You took my money. Prepare to die.” 

Last night’s “hiders” were brothers Raul (pictured) and Paul, which would be confusing if the show hadn’t made a huge deal right off the bat of how they’re totally different. Raul is a successful, in-shape, short-haired man with a job and private residence; whereas heavyset Paul still lives at home with mom and is a tremendous disappointment to his family and himself. Investigators blatantly call Paul “the weaker link” or “the weak one” throughout the hour, and eventually, with just around 15 hours to go — ugh, this is so frustrating I can barely type it — Paul crumbled under the “pressure” and suddenly told the two creepy close-talking interrogators where they’d buried the money!

It was sort of fascinating to see Paul’s transformation from willing reality TV contestant to dirty guilty criminal all because a soft-spoken yet deadly lady stood too close to him and whispered soothingly about his many character flaws in general and how he didn’t seem to have his story straight from the day before. “Do you want to go home?” she suddenly asked, and he blubbered “Yes.” “You can go home in 20 minutes if you just tell us where the money is,” she cooed to him.

Whoa, twenty minutes! That must be like a magic time-number instituted to make interrogated guiltsters resume breathing normally, then suddenly CRACK like a flimsy sugar cone who realizes too late that all his secrets, embedded into Moose Tracks, will gush through his busted seams at any second.

I will say this show kept my attention the entire hour (Twitter feeds on both my laptop and phone were not cutting it; step it up, nerds) and that I’d probably watch it again just for the few seconds of reflected glory I’d feel if the “good guys” ever won. At least the format feels fresh — it’s sort of like a reality version of CSI, or a heist/caper film turned into a game show with high-tech digital maps of neighborhoods and urgent voiceovers narrating the episode’s fake plot. I hated myself a little more than ever when I actually started to root for the brothers, because it meant I’d fallen prey to the fake world the producers created with their stupid blinking maps. In fact, sticking around for the whole episode eventually had me conducting a blistering evaluation of my own intelligence. It turns out, you guys, that I’m dumb.

I’m interested in how humans react under pressure and the presumption of guilt, but do I really want to watch innocent people suffer nervy b’s in their holding cells just so a crack team of seasoned investigators can track down a briefcase and maybe send their kids to college? The college part is nice, especially if those kids are as dumb as I am, but those briefcases were lame. There’s not even gold or someone’s soul in there. Weak, Jerry Bruckheimer, weak. You nearly got me, Bertram von Munster, you evil genius whom I like to pretend is a very stern giant who stomps (gracefully) around “conducting” reality with a large magic wand.

So yeah. Bertram von Munster has become a fictional yet prominent giant-figure in my life and I have a strong desire to hide something valuable in the fruit drawer and create fake drama about it in the office today. Well done, summer TV! I salute you.

That image above certainly falls into Saddest Thing I Saw on Summer TV Last Night territory.

Did you watch? Did you like? Are you eating Moose Tracks ice cream?

Annie on Twitter

Read more:

‘Take the Money and Run’: Watch the first five minutes — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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