Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dude Where's My 80s Game Shows?

Dude, Where’s My 80s Game Shows?

Written By:
The DarkSider - 4/10/09

It was a given, as a young DarkSider, that staying home sick didn’t always suck. Hell, even with the barfing every hour factor, one could feel quite content taking in television during what very well could have been grammar class.

Perhaps the best aspect of 80’s daytime TV was the plethora of game shows. There was Classic Concentration, Scrabble, Family Feud and the crème de la crème The Price Is Right. Can I just say now that Bob Barker was “the man” at hosting game shows. That guy could not only play to a crowd’s moods but control them. His build ups alone would make even the toughest guy in the world soil himself when the prize was revealed. Seriously, it was the same scenario almost EVERY show.

Bob: “Oh my friend do we have a surprise for you. Yes we do…a surprise waiting right behind those doors. Do you want to know what it is?”

Jiggly Female Contestant (almost in tears): “Oh please yes…”

Bob: “Are you sure because what I’m about to show you is going to make you scream.”

Jiggly Female Contestant (biting her nails): “Show it to me please!”

Johnny: “IT’S A NEW CAR!!!”

Jiggly Female Contestant Jumps Around Like A Rabbit On Speed)

Review those examples of dialog and tell me they couldn’t be applied to a bedroom setting. Well, minus Johnny announcing the new car. Although maybe it would be cool to have a guy like Johnny (RIP by the way) in your bedroom announcing the next exciting move you were going to perform.

Johnny: “Now he’s going to bite your…”

A-hem…but I digress. The main point is Bob bled excitement with just a touch of sexuality. Barker’s Beauties indeed helped this aspect along as well. It seemed for a stretch there that the Barker’s Beauties lineup was set for awhile. There was Janice, Diane and Holly making up what I find to be the best game show model line up ever. People dug Vannah White, I call bullsh*t on that if you’re comparing her to these fine ladies.

Fast forward to modern times where I found myself watching Drew Carey in Bob’s former role. Drew, who is more drab than Steven Wright on a slow day, was honestly the worst choice for The Price Is Right. Drew’s performance in the role hits me as a guy simply looking to get through his work day. At times I swear he is watching the clock waiting for the moment he can badge out. Its not that I dislike Drew Carey as a host. I’m one of few apparently that thought he was the perfect guy for “Who’s Line Is It Anyways”. However, he gets an epic “fail” from me when it comes to TPIR.

This set my brain, which apparently likes to wander a lot, into motion of how much game shows and not to mention television has changed. Aside finding myself comatose to Carey’s nonsense, it saddens me how much tripe is on especially during the day. If there is one beacon of idiocy its shows like The View. Yeah, lets have a bunch of non-hot older chicks have roundtable discussions while sounding like a bunch of eagles being feathered alive. Great idea! Or how about giving Tyra Banks a television show with such hard driven topics like how to make your booty look hotter. Ok, so maybe I like conversations about booties but I’d prefer if it were in a strip club.

So, as the title of this episode of DarkSider Dementia states, where’s my 80s game shows? Yeah, yeah, yeah I understand that daytime television is out to attract an audience that spends the most in retail stores with these shows. I get that a soccer mom is going to spend more than I ever can imagine on the newest shower cleaner. That and she isn’t going to watch the game shows I like. However, when I say “80s game shows” I mean the fun shows. The shows that makes you excited to watch and honestly make you feel like you're part of the action.

Lets face it, several of these new game shows we’ve gotten in the past 10 years are boring, convoluted and simply unwatchable. Yet the common public seem to eat it up which is probably due to the fact these shows have numbed many brains along the way. However, being a man who likes to lend that big old helping hand, I thought I’d list the top five ground rules to make game shows fun again. The rules below are non-negotiable and should hopefully take effect right away;

Rule #1, Answer The F*cking Question Already: If there is one show that started the heaping load of game show awfulness we have now, its Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Matter of fact, each of the rules is probably going to somehow be traced to the faults of this show.

Keeping on point though, I could never stand in that show that people could take minutes (maybe hours) saying “hmmmmmmm” or “ahhhhhhhh” when it comes answer time. Either that or they say after sighing in an exasperated manner, “Well, I know its not ‘A’…I know that. And…I don’t think its ‘B’ either. ‘C’ looks like it could be the right on…”


Seriously, I still until this day have no clue what is enjoyable about the Millionaire show. (Well, aside the idiot or two who confidently gives a wrong answer in the first five questions.) If you cut out the minutes of sighing and other body noises I swear each show would equal about 2 minutes running time of strictly answers. So please, in the old cliché sh*t or get off the pot.

Rule #2, Stop Seacresting: Remember when Ryan Seacrest on American Idol did the whole major lead up only to say “We’ll find out who is going home……..after the break.” Yeah it was cute the first time, bearable the second time and downright nauseating the third and every time after that. Now ever celebrity host from Jeff Foxworthy to Howie Mandell does it. Usually this is my cue to change the channel and never come back. I’d rather not wait 3 minutes to find out what happens. The suspense won’t kill me, I have better things to worry about.

Rule #3, Stop D*cking Time Off : This rule actually goes hand in hand with Rule #2. My wife often records Deal Or No Deal and plays it back. She literally gets through the show in less than 5 minutes. Why, because she cuts around Howie’s procrastination and gets to the point of the show. Aka a model you’ll never have a chance with opening a briefcase for money which you as the viewer will have no part in spending. Be that as it may, I can understand that the show can be exciting for the viewer. Still, its all the unnecessary cr*p in between.

First they bring Joe Somebody on the stage and interview him a bit. Howie ends up talking to him for what seems like an hour about his hobbies and what he does for a living.. The first round goes by and the banker calls with an offer. Howie paces back in forth while saying things like, “100,000 dollars…that’s a lot of money isn’t it. You could do a lot with that money because it is a lot of money. Money…some people have got to have it. Come on, come on, listen to the money talk. Money…it’s a hit…don’t give me that goody good good bullsh*t. But that aside…there could be more money in the other cases. Money…I like money, lotsa, lotsa money. Don’t be asking me why…I Wanna Be Rich.”

Ok, you get the point. Then if that isn’t bad enough., they roll out Joe Somebody’s family who go on to impede upon the game’s progress even further. You have the Uncle, who probably doesn’t give a crap if Joe Somebody wins or not due to some offscreen grudge he carries, saying “NO DEAL”. Then you have the conservative wife who says, “DEAL”. Then the audience, who really shouldn’t give a crap, yelling a mix between the two. Then if that weren’t bad enough, Howie brings out some celebrity to help in the decision. The celeb, who is mainly there to hawk something they’re going to be in, goes on to add to the nonsense. I swear, if I’m ever on that show I will claim I’m alone in the world and look up to no one. At least I can see some briefcases opening.

Rule #4, Leave Your Friends Out Of This
: Going back to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and more recently 1 Vs 100, why is it we give second chances to people on game shows? Especially dummies who have to talk to their friends on the phone for the answer. In high school imagine if you said to your algebra teacher, “May I be excused. I am using my lifeline for the answer to #28 on my final. I‘m calling my friend Mike.” Yeah…good luck there. Well, except if you’re on Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader where they give you the option to cheat. Yes, they actually have a show with kids on it that allows a grownup to f*cking cheat off their papers. What the hell is that all about!

Then if that weren’t bad enough, they have the nerve to take away a few answer to narrow it down for the contestant. What ever happened to lack of knowledge=go home. The contestant pool is big enough, why pick the person that is going to actually need these things? Its almost as if we are rewarding people for not knowing things. That would be like giving a dog a bone and then assuming he’d do a trick after it.

Rule #5, Away With You Celebrity Host: Remember when a game show host was a lifer in the business. Nowadays it seems any major actor out of a steady paycheck can pick up a show. You have Jeff Foxworthy hosting Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader because America now has Larry The Cable Guy for all their half witted blue collar comedy needs. You had Bob Saget hosting 1 Vs 100 because I guess we simply couldn’t get enough of his annoying presence on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Then we have Howie Mandell who up until the point of hosting Deal Or No Deal, I remembered for being in Earth Girls Are Easy and doing the voice of Animal on Muppet Babies. Yes , I know these celebs were known for more but I’m sure somewhere one person was groomed to be a host. Why should they lose out? Once again, could anyone do worst than Drew Carey…really?

So, with those rules listed let me say two shows that get it right. Two shows that quite frankly I hope last the test of time and avoid Rule #5 when their current hosts exit stage left. They appear every night in my area between 7:00 and 8:00. That would be Wheel Of Fortune And Jeopardy. Although they have changed throughout the years (I personally miss seeing a person having to spend their money on tacky items in the gallery showcase on WOF) they have managed to keep to the principle of fun.

Let me focus on Jeopardy and how they stand up to the above rules. Rule #1 they throw through the shredder and call it a day. If you do not answer that question by the time those little KITT lights go out on your podium, your arse gets the “doo doo doo” sound. Rule# 2, Alex always seems to take the breaks during the first round of Jeopardy at the same time every night. Its usually when at least three categories have been killed off. No surprises, no suspense, just the knowledge the game will continue it’s pace in the next three minutes. Rule #3 they simple don’t mess around with. After the first commercial break you get 2 minutes with each contestant, one quirky story and back to the game. We don’t need to know more than we have to about these folks and Jeopardy realizes it. Rule #4 of course has no bearing here. Rule #5, Alex is the man, with or without the mustache.

So with that said I hope we can again have game show to enjoy. We the people of the world need a chance to display our useless knowledge in a rapid fire manner. If not, we’ll all end up with the excitement level of Drew Carey on TPIR. Ok…that’s enough picking on Drew for now.

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