Buzzing in the background as I was working this past Friday was the hum of the TV. Personally, background in a necessary component for the home office, both to help me with my work as well as provide some necessary stopping points so I don’t obsess (as someone who drove from Atlanta to Boston once in a single shot, obsessing is a definite risk). But anyway, around 10:00 AM, on the local CBS affiliate, sure enough there was the latest revival of Let’s Make a Deal, probably the greatest game show of all time. Now, don’t get me wrong, The Price is Right, Jeopardy!, Pyramid and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire all have their virtues. Competition is great television, and watching people struggle with their inner demons (in this case, greed) is absolutely arresting. But the concept of Let’s Make a Deal stands astride the other game shows and beats them down. To wit:
Ad Hoc Rules – No intelligence required. No obscure facts about the Old Testament. Just some propositions with some fairly basic rules, but more than anything …
Greed – sheer, naked greed. Do you take $500 or go behind the curtain? Sometimes you get a zonk! Sometimes the small box has $2000 hiding behind it. The decisions the contestants have to make putting sure things on the line – just good television.
Ridiculous Outfits – the costumes are precious. How the contestant’s dignity remains in tact, I’m not sure. Wait, it doesn’t.
So with all this to look forward to, the program caught my attention. For ten minutes. Now, it is not a bad show. In fact, it is skillful. I am a fan of Wayne Brady from the Whose Line days, let alone the Chappelle’s Show ones. He is a smooth laid back guy as the host, but that might actually be the problem. The Vegasy, laid back, Rat Pack sort of style Brady evokes is a contrast to the fast talking rapid pep of Monty Hall. Yet for a show of this pace and this sort of high pressure (putting contestants on the spot, making them nervous) enterprise, I am not sure kinder is better. The whole show seemed to take place in slow motion. Much like some of the updated slasher movies of recent yore, it is sanitized to stick with the gore and appeal to the kids, but it also pulls back on what made it alluring the first time around. I will probably watch it again because morning TV stinks, but it is a disappointment.
Check this out for some ideas on where the show was at its best and compare.