Sunday, May 2, 2010

Games People Play

My dear Stephen Rader and I seem to be on the same wavelength these days. Not that that's a bad thing - though I imagine if we weren't separated by a 1000 miles, there would be earthquakes, floods and mass destruction the likes of which have never been seen before. Of course, Stephen and I are often on the same wavelength - we love so many of the same things: Superheroes; Hot Men; Sex; Theatre; Movies; Game Shows... Yes, I said it. And I'm not ashamed. I love game shows. And you know you do, too.

Game shows have been around almost as long as television. They can be educational ("Jeopardy;" "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"); entertaining ("Truth or Consequences;" "Beat the Clock"*) or just downright ridiculous ("You're in the Picture") Hell, even the great Groucho Marx had a game show - "You Bet Your Life" ran from 1950 to 1961 and featured a "Secret Word" that would net contestants $100 if they uttered it during the course of being interviewed by Groucho.

As a child of the '60's and '70s (yes, I'm old, OK? Get over it, already) the game shows I grew up with were just a tad more more risque that. And probably the most risque of all them was "The Match Game," starring Gene Rayburn, Brett Sommers, Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly. It was the first time I can remember hearing such scandalous words as "tinkle," "willy" and "boobs" on network TV. It would be many years before we all found out that the panelists (which often included America's beloved foul-mouthed grandma, Betty White) were drunk half the time. Recently, I came across this "Match Game" clip which I had to share with Stephen, given our mutual love of Batman and all things queer:

Personally, I think "Devine" is the funniest answer, even if "Queer" is the definitive one. Of course, what does one expect from the second gayest game show panelist in TV history (though I'm still not sure why "Lovers" and "Married" were not a match, while "Fairies" was - ah, the 70's)? And speaking of the second gayest panelist in game show history, I tried my best to find a 'Best of Paul Lynde' clip from "Hollywood Squares," but no one seems to have made one...

Anyway... Game shows are still with us. Drew Carey has taken over for Bob Barker on "The Price Is Right" and Food Network goofball Guy Fieri hosts the newest incarnation of "Beat the Clock;" NBC's "Minute to Win It,*" in which contestants have 60 seconds to complete an outrageous stunt. If they complete all 10 of the increasingly difficult stunts, they win a million dollars. Fieri, with his 80's hairstyle and over-the-top attitude is an affable host, at best. Though on the one or three episodes of the show I've seen, no one has even come close to winning.

Of course, the whole game show mentality eludes me. Uncle P actually auditioned for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" While I passed the initial test (which included questions like "Where Does Winnie the Pooh Live?" - The Hundred Acre Wood - and "Who was the first First Lady to be born in a hospital?"- Rosiland Carter), I was ultimately rejected - I suspect because I wasn't a lunatic who got a massive boner over the prospect of meeting Meredith Viera. In other words, I was smart enough, just not dorky enough. Sigh.

Of course, my personal favorite game show moments are the ones in which anxious contestants give the most ridiculous answers possible:

Oh, dear. Is it any wonder I haven't won thousands of dollars?

On a side note - full rehearsals for the JTMF production of Sordid Lives start tomorrow, so my posts may be shorter than usual, if they're there at all. I promise I'll keep you up-to-date (as if ya'll really care).

More nonsense, anon.


Anonymous said...

The most shocking thing for me about that Match Game clip was seeing Brett sitting on the lower tier and not on the upper tier in the middle next to Charles. Must have been from the first season.

Stephen said...

I am actually old enough to remember YOU BET YOUR LIFE & WHAT"S MY LINE (I remember Barbra Streisand as one surprise guest). Charles Nelson Reilly & Paul Lynde were 2 of my first gay indicators...thankfully they were so funny or I might have slit my wrists or gone straight.

I hate to seems so damn old but- :they don't make 'em like the used to"!