What TV shows get right (And Wrong) about escape rooms.
By Leslie Kell
As escape rooms have become more popular in the last few years, many television shows have put their characters through the exciting experience of being locked in a room while solving puzzles. The intent of these shows is, of course, to provide entertainment. That being said, they aren’t always focused on showcasing how escape rooms actually function. With that in mind, here is what television shows get right, and wrong, when it comes to playing escape rooms.
In episode 20 of season 6 of this show, Mandy, Kyle, Kristin and Ryan embark on their escape room adventure. Their room included puzzles and clues, very similar to what you would see in a typical escape room. Some of the elements included visual effects that allowed them to see the clue only while wearing a pair of opera glasses, and phrases that pointed to certain items in the room. Their escape room was also complete with a secret room. The best thing that Last Man Standing presented with that escape room is the idea that sometimes the most simple answer is the right answer and most often the more complicated solution is just that: More Complicated. In the episode, Mandy and Kyle solved more puzzles by keeping it simple and ended up winning the game for the team. Overall, this show did well at presenting the escape room.
The escape room in Big Bang Theory appears in season 8, episode 16 when Raj, Amy Farrah Fowler, Emily, and Leonard enter the lab of the late Dr. David Saltzberg. The experience begins with a cluemaster or gamemaster who shares the story of Dr. David Salzberg and basically explains what the room is about, before the enter. This is true to most escape rooms; there is almost always a theme involved to explain why players must escape in time. Similar to Last Man Standing’s escape room, this one also included typical elements of escape rooms including: black light effects, a live ‘zombie’, and riddles. One thing to note with the ‘zombie’ in the room: while this is an effect in some escape rooms, none of the Epic Escape experiences will include a live person in the room, except in certain seasons. One flaw with Big Bang Theory’s escape room is that the players solved everything in the room in 6 minutes. Keep in mind, that this is a TV show about various scientists in high level degree field so naturally, the writers would make it appear that they would escape a room in such a quick time. This is not a normal occurrence for escape room players; any experienced player would attest to that. Overall, the room was done well, and at least gives viewers a general idea of what an escape room is.
As mentioned above, a television show is intended to entertain the viewer. This is clear in the Kevin Can Wait escape room episode. In season 2, episode 14, Kevin goes on a date in an escape room and does not end up having a good time. Now, the escape room itself is well decorated and even shows a secret room that appears when he lifts a skull from another side of the room. This room also shows the camera where the cluemaster is watching and will be offering clues. What ensues after that is just plain crazy. Kevin, not wanting to be stuck in the room anymore, looks at the camera and says he is going to go “full wreck-it Ralph” if he is not let out of the room. From there, Kevin begins literally destroying props in the room. He takes the skull he picked up earlier and throws it on the ground, lets it shatter and eventually throws something up at the camera and breaks it too. The cluemaster then decides to let him out. This is not a good representation of escape rooms as that would most likely never be allowed in any escape room or any company. There is no need for brute force in any escape room.
If you are new to playing escape rooms, you may find some helpful ideas from the TV shows, but in the end, there are much better resources to figure out what to expect from your first escape room experience. Click here for a good place to start!
Better yet, just book a room at Epic Escape and we can assure you that your cluemaster will help you to know just what to do!