Dumbest Game Shows of All Time
May 4, 2009 | Lists
The economy is in the commode. Those who still have jobs are dropping from ulcers as they think of reasons to justify their exclusion from the next purge. Cardiac surgeons are clocking overtime like hookers at Mardi Gras, but there’s one group, who, if you were to take a sample member and measure his pulse it would read, “Dude…”
These are your stay-at-home bums. We use the term respectfully, if spitefully, to refer to those who somehow have avoided daily work, be they welfare recipients, collectors on personal injury lawsuits, or trust-fund babies. These are people living life as it is truly meant to be lived — wasting it completely as their asses expand to fit the size of their couches in the way turtles will grow depending on the size of the tank.
We envy the idle rich, and poor, but more so the rich, and while we cut back on bon bons after doing the press for our book, we do love daytime TV programming. We’ll write next time about the talk shows — Thank you Dr. Phil — but this time we’ll focus on that solution to poverty that isn’t hard work, the charity casino or a life of petty crime: the game show. The 1950s and the Charles Van Doren taught America a valuable lesson — game shows can only be educational and halfway intelligent if they end up corrupting an entire nation and wasting more millions than the space program.
Now Alex Trebek, a native of Sudbury, a town that also gave us Paul Schaeffer and black lung disease, presides over Jeopardy, the only game show that requires contestant’s brains to be serviced by a reasonable amount of oxygen. Most other game shows are a homily to the idea that nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public. They range from children’s contests barely raised from the level enjoyed by game-piece swallowing kids to games requiring an almost aggressive will to be stupid to lose. These, then, are the Dumbest Game Shows of All Time (numbering three rather than our usual 10, to ease you non-reader types into the working week)
The Family Feud. A positively Pavlovian barn dance for the retarded, a damnable bell sounds whenever a sign is flipped over to reveal survey answers that a 6-year old with a finger in his ear could answer. The contestants are culled from the ranks of the late shift at the Rock ‘N’ Bowl and vigorously clap along to a jaunty score, which is made that much worse as the audience, who don’t need much pantomime prodding—clap along as well.
When an answer is left up on the board, then revealed, they sigh painfully and knowingly and drown out even the dumbest responses with applause so raucous it would summon a maestro for an encore bow. Each and every response, no matter how patently ludicrous, is applauded.
If the contestant said ‘Melibeus of Canterbury Tales’, in response to ‘Favorite TV Mom’ the audience would still go absolutely bananas like someone just tight rope walked Niagara Falls. For a clue like: “We asked 100 people, what is something that is full of hot air?” It will take several filial generations for someone to finally utter ‘Politician’. Still, for the final round at least, they’ve gotta be quick on their feet, a concept that sees the following game contestants comparatively clad in cement clogs.
Hollywood Squares: There are some game shows that have the sole purpose of having existed in the 1980/70s so we can watch them on the highly entertaining Game Show Channel and howl at how funny one-liners could be before political correctness strangled them. Hollywood Squares was one of the best shows for double entendres dropped by stars so far off the charts, people mistook them for the smudgy fingers of astrologers.
Contestants, many of whom were stunned into awed stupidity just to be in the presence of people who’d just recently had their Screen Actors Guild cards revoked, had to win a game of Tic, Tac Toe. Every time they landed on one of the eponymous ‘Squares’ (so far removed from Hollywood by that point that the tour buses stopped rolling by their homes) they had to discern whether an answer given by a D-grade celeb was true or false, but not before first enduring a scripted groaner:
Host: According to Movie Life magazine, Ann-Margaret would like to start having babies soon, but her husband wants her to wait a while. Why?
Paul Lynde (formerly of Bewitched, as he’s currently dead): He’s out of town.
Contestant and Audience: (Laugh uproariously).
This is the type of show where, much like if bus was careening toward you, one would finally find a use for Whoopi Goldberg. “I’ll take Whoopi to block!”
Given that you had a 50/50 shot per question, and given that most of the answers were so conspicuously ludicrous, it’s surprising more people didn’t win.
Host: This Greek god, was the ancient Greek God of War. Who was he?
Jim J. Bullock: Aristotle
Contestant: I’d have to agree.
Here’s Bronson Pinchot yukking it up over what happens when you phone the White House.
Deal or No Deal: While Millionaire gets progressively more difficult, at least once you’ve passed the initial “The sky is blue, Meredith, final answer”, stages, Deal or No Deal could be played with coconuts, bananas, coins and some chimps.
According to the website, Howie Mandel’s, “Deal or No Deal” is an ‘exhilarating hit game show where contestants play and deal for a top prize of $1 million in a high-energy contest of nerves, instincts and raw intuition’. Given that two of these things are the same thing, that means they couldn’t even come up with three. Conspicously absent from this short-bus short list is intelligence.
A contestant is confronted with 26 sealed briefcases full of varying amounts of cash – ranging from a penny to $1 million. Without knowing the amount in each briefcase, the contestant picks one – his to keep, if he chooses – until its unsealing at game’s end.
We turn to their website again…”The risk element kicks in when the player must then instinctively eliminate the remaining 25 cases – which are opened and the amount of cash inside revealed. The pressure mounts as in each round, after a pre-determined number of cases are opened, the participant is tempted by a mysterious entity known only as “the Banker” to accept an offer of cash in exchange for what might be contained in the contestant’s chosen briefcase— prompting Mandel to ask the all-important question–– Deal or No Deal?” If you are simply offered cash, this doesn’t require that your neurons be firing at a rate commensurate with what is required to determine the ‘on/off’ switch to your bathroom.