Archive for the ‘Game Shows’ Category

Sorry about the silence around here. I’m battling a deadly disease (sounds better than “the sniffles”) and Beal’s life, it sounds like from Twitter, is basically unraveling at the seams.

Anyway, here’s a quick Round Up of the TV I’ve caught over the last two weeks and my thoughts because, oh, you are DYING to hear my thoughts.

Glee Fall Finale (Last Wed. 12/9)

Thoughts: First of all, kudos to FOX for brazenly creating a new thing- “the fall finale.” And we all just started saying it like shows freezing for months around the holidays isn’t a completely usual thing anyway. They’re called “reruns because everyone’s out shopping and putting on their winter weight.”

As for the episode itself, I seriously love this show and I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I’ve TiVoed back and watched Rachel belting out “Don’t Rain On My Parade” a dozen times since the show aired last week, the little gay man inside my straight woman’s body was doing cartwheels- CARTWHEELS.

Here’s my one problem- Glee is not the tightest-written show, as I’ve worried over before. They let storylines drop left and right (Artie and Tina- really, there’s nothing residual from that whole thing? And did crazy Terri actually tell Quinn she’s not taking the baby anymore? That seems like a HUGE hole) but this one just kills me. The Glee kids panic because the other teams stole their musical numbers for Sectionals, WHATEVER WILL WE DO? Here’s a thought- how about perform one of the DOZENS of other numbers you rehearsed all season long under the guise of a set-list for the competition. “Keep Holding On?” “Hair/Crazy in Love?” “True Colors?” “Jump?” You had routines and everything. So confused.

Top Chef Finale (Last Wed. 12/9)

Thoughts: Kevin was off his game and by the end of judging, I knew he was sunk. Just a heart-breaking loss for all of us who were a little creeped out by the Voltaggio brothers. I have to say, though, I think Michael deserved the win. His dishes were the best and he’s more innovative than his brother. Also, way to go for the cheap emotional hit by bringing their mother into the equation, Bravo. I could always count on you for the obvious blow.

So I guess we’re stuck with Michael “Blue Steel” Voltaggio. God help us all.

The Sing-Off (All Week on NBC)

Thoughts: My GOD, this show is terrible. TERRIBLE. Nick Lachey, as pleased as I am to see you working, you need to take your beefy hands off the mike you’re strangling and go back to making Vanessa some muffins, or whatever the hell you’ve been up to. The showboating, the jazz hands, the expressive facial movements that make my insides die. Last night, my friend remarked that all she wants is for the dude from the Police Academy to show up as a contestant, making all those sound effect noises and putting everyone to shame. That would be amazing. At least make him a judge next to Ben Folds and the King & Queen of Irrelevance. Judi says no.

“The Situation” and Snookie on The Tonight Show (Tues. 12/15 on NBC)

Thoughts: Snookie (of the now infamous Jersey Shore- like we needed yet another example of how MTV has turned from the cool older brother who lives in the attic and still has a sweet record collection to a $2 whore trying to get her five year old into beauty pageants so she could take her boyfriend Carl on that trip to Tijuana) admits she only likes guys who use STEROIDS. The Situation gives our Co-Co the best nickname ever (“The SOLUTION.” COME ON) And Italian-Americans everywhere, including myself, try frantically to remind everyone of the days when people only thought we were murderers and tax-evaders. So, yeah, awesome TV. Watch the clips here.

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by Judi

5. Family Feud (1976 – Present)

An offshoot of the popular Beal-favored game show Match Game, Family Feud (aka “THE FEUD”) has been appeared on and off since 1976 and I know I’m not alone in silently hoping that it lives forever. Two families pitted against each other and then the audience for the most popular answers to inane questions such as “The vegetable most often purchased at the supermarket.” Clearly, we’re not answering questions about Melville or anything but seeing family members shove, cajole and mock each other is good enough television for me. Although many remember the show when it was hosted by Richard Dawson, I for one find his overt affection for female guests entirely too creepy to make it through an episode and, anyway, Ray Combs helmed the show during my formative years. It’s his supremely ’80s / Joey Gladstone coif that appears in my mind whenever I think of sick days spent on the couch, watching THE FEUD.

4. Double Dare (1986 – 1993)

Well, hello there. Welcome to another solid chunk of my formative years and the most fantastical kids game show in the history of all mankind (it’s true, look it up. It’s right next to “the Walkman and Tab.“) Is there anything better than watching kids make a huge mess, get into food fights, slamming pies into each other’s faces and going down slides into a giant salad bowls all while Marc Summers calmly walks you through how it’s all going to work? Marc Summers should really just narrate everything, including the audio book for my personal memoir Snick and Me (and he hasn’t changed at ALL since 1993. Does anyone else find that strange? Is he taking magic dragon pills or something?)

3. Tunnels’ Thanks to Everyone (Japan- 2006)

I don’t know what this show title means. I don’t know if this show is still on the air. I don’t know what kind of genius came up with the famous Brain Wall (Human Tetris) component but all I can say is, “God bless the Japanese.” I’m personally not a big fan of their food or their cars but SWEET SASSY MOLASSY this country can produce a game show (my other favorite is the one where the two people dress in black robes and then there’s a strobe light and plates of spaghetti and- oh, hell. I don’t even think I can explain it but it’s AMAZING). So basically, these guys dress up in spandex and helmets and then a wall comes at them with a cut-out and they have to fit through the cut-out or they get shoved into a pool of neon-colored water. That’s basically it. Like you need more than that?

2. Jeopardy! (1964 – Present)

And now something for that slight percentage of the American public who actually enjoys things like reading and knowledge. The rest of us like to watch Jeopardy! because answering even one question correctly makes us feel like a genius while the rest of the show makes us wonder what went so wrong with our own education. On top of that, the show has to turn the Q&A format on its head, providing contestants with the answer and forcing them to come up with the questions. In other words “The smartest game show of all time.” What is Jeopardy!, Alex? One thing’s for sure- it absolutely beats the “I feel dead inside” affect of watching shows like “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” and “Deal or No Deal.”

Also, it’s impossible to say the words “Alex Trebek” without the words “NATIONAL TREASURE” attached to them. Or maybe the national treasure part is reserved for the mustache, which is sadly lacking in this clip but you should watch it anyway because it’s pretty funny.

1. The Price is Right (1956 – Present)

One of my regrets from my time in Los Angeles was never going to see The Price is Right. Bob Barker was still at the helm and, as much as I would’ve loved it, the idea of spending an ENTIRE day waiting for the show seemed not to be worth it at the time. But that’s actually the beauty of The Price is Right. My friend Katie, who went once, told me that the whole waiting-around aspect of the show is actually what makes the audience so insanely wired during the taping. She said, “You’re stuck seeing the same group of people for hours and hours. And you finally get in and you finally get to see the show and that lady who’s been behind you on line since 4am gets called down and EVERYONE goes crazy.” And it’s true that The Price is Right audience is the most crazed, berserk audience on television. They scream, they holler, they lose their minds when they get the famous call to “COME ON DOWN!” Grandmothers, college kids, hippies, straight-laced Dads all go nuts on The Price is Right. It’s like watching an experiment on sleep deprivation all with the added of bonus of getting to scream the price of milk at your television set. And really, isn’t that what TV is all about?

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by Beal

The game show–a staple of television programming since its inception–is a genre of television that is oft ignored here at NTO, not because we don’t enjoy a game show now and again, but because, to be honest, games shows are a second rate form of entertainment. Yes, they have their place, on sick days, on a rainy summer day, during long stints of unemployment or in the unfortunate event that NOTHING else is on. Still, you have to admit that it’s a little bit sad to watch John and Jane Q. Public battle it out for the chance at petty cash and prizes. Then again, they can be kind of exciting. Without further adieu, here are my Top Five Favorite Game Shows of All Time:

5. Let’s Make a Deal (1963 – 1976)

Oh god, how could you not love a game show involving a roomful of costume clad bastards whose curiosity and greed are preyed upon by host Monty Hall? Contestants are chosen from the audience and are offered the chance to “Make a Deal,” which may or may not be in their favor. Here is a bag with an undisclosed amount of cash in it, perhaps you would like to trade it for whatever might be behind curtain number 1. What might be behind curtain number 1? Oh, well it could be anything. Maybe its a car or a billiards table, but its probably a coffee can full of horse shit or if you’re lucky, some livestock, which isn’t actually a prize, but a chance for the rest of the audience to laugh and viewers at home to mock you, because your dumbass opted for two jackasses, instead of just taking the $500 producers had so lovingly placed in a shoe box for you, before taunting you with the possibility of premium goods and services hiding behind a curtain or door. What’s worse? How about the fact that you you won a can full of shit while donning Raggedy Andy  costume, on national television.

4. Match Game ‘7X (1973 -1979)

Oh, man, when this show begins, I just want to tie a little ascot around my neck, pour myself a high ball and light one Benson & Hedges off another until the half hour is up. Seriously, this show is my dream come true. Forget about the actual game portion, in which two solo contestants must match as many fill-in-the-blank style questions as possible with members of the celebrity panel, because if I could be any one person, past or present, it would be “celebrity” panelist Brett Somers in the 1970’s. Personally, I cannot think of a greater way to spend the afternoon than sitting with the likes of Charles Nelson Reilly, Nipsy Russell, BETTY WHITE, Rip Taylor and host Gene Rayburn, sipping on Gin Ricky’s, chainsmoking and laughing at my own risque and sexually explicit double entendres, all the while knowing that the contestants winnings were petty in comparison to my daily salary for participating in such nonsense. What you didn’t know, is that in its peak, this show was the highest rated daytime program in history, attracting nearly 11 million viewers per day, that is, until the Luke and Laura plotline got interesting.

3. I’m Telling (1987 – 1988)

This show only lasted a single season, but it felt like longer. Not unlike The Newlywed Game it featured teams of siblings who were forced to answer zany questions about the other in his/her absence. It also featured a creepy Miami Vice meets To Catch a Predator host, awful 80’s graphics, wannabe kid actors (some of which turned out to be real celebrities, please see clip) and the shittiest final challenge in all of game show history. There were three rounds of questions, and in each, one sibling was transported (I’m not kidding, they literally had a special effect for this) backstage, while the other answered a set of questions. At the end of three rounds, the team with the most points earned a chance to play for prizes in the Pick-a-Prize Arcade, which was merely a stage with 24  toys placed next to “plungers” aka buttons affixed to lighted sirens. Each sibling was given the chance to choose which six prizes they believed their sibling would select, given the opportunity. Ten out 12 (five out of six each) prizes guessed correctly and contestants won EVERY prize on the stage. Sidenote: My sister (also a big fan of the show) and I at one time devised a FOOL PROOF plan to obtain maximum points, as well as ALL the prizes in the P-a-P Arcade, unfortunately, we were never chosen to participate.

2. Press Your Luck (1983 – 1986)

As a young child growing up in the decadent 80’s, no phrase excited me more than “No whammies! No whammies! Big bucks aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnndddd STOP!!” Oh, and the more vocal a contestant was in their hatred of whammies, the more I vetted for their ultimate win. I’m not sure I even know how this game works. Were there trivia questions? Who cares? Put the contestant’s face up in the center of that light up square border of monetary values, prizes and whammies and some dingy sounds that suggest we’re in a hurry, and let’s go to town! Oh, hello there guy whose face I hate, you’re about to get a whamm. . . WAAAAAHHHH–WAAAHHHHH and across the screen some horribly animated little orange characters in bizarre and pointless costumes would wander in a unintelligible skit.

1. Supermarket Sweep (1990 – 1995)

This show literally provides the most thrilling half hour of television I have ever witnessed. Some people have the Superbowl, others have March Madness, I have Supermarket Sweep. What’s more entertaining that a two person team, donning matching fat people sweatshirts with fancy little collars, answering questions to earn time to shop at warp speed in a supermarket, trying to obtain the largest quantity of groceries humanly possible? I submit that there is nothing! Oh, and yea, you think that maybe the best plan would be to extend your arm into a shelf and hurry down an aisle knocking as many items as possible into your cart, but don’t even waste your time. You are limited to only five of each item, and anything you knock onto the floor, I believe, is deducted from your total. Hence, why you need to get to the back of the store and load your cart with high ticket items like frozen turkeys, gourmet cheeses and diapers. Grind some coffee or find a “bonus” in-store display item worth a mystery amount, and it’s anyone’s game. The second greatest tragedy of my life (next to not enjoying Dallas in its prime) is that I will NEVER have the opportunity to participate in this game. Such a shame.

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