Bring Back These 9 Game Shows!
With NBC planning an American Gladiators redo by mid-season, we think it’s high time the network execs follow suit by reviving these other retro gems.
What’s My Line?
So simple, and yet so diverting: A gaggle of panelists attempts to discern what someone does or sells for a living, asking questions like, “Can it be folded?” or “Is it bigger than a bread box?” Imagine what would happen if the panelists encountered a do-nothing celebritard like Kevin Federline or Kim Kardashian—it’d be like watching a salad fork try to recite the Pythagorean theorem.
Press Your Luck
We’d prefer this show on HBO, where we could hear something like, “No whammy, no whammy, no whammy, no whammy, no… Screw! A whammy! Screw, screw, fuckety-screw-screw, screw! I fucking hate you, whammy! Screw!”
Let’s not bring it back in its original form, in which dippy married couples darted about the supermarket to see how many turkeys they could fit in their cart. No, we propose a Russian roulette version, in which all but one bird is loaded neck to ass full of dynamite. Winner. Takes. All. And the janitorial staff cleans up the carnage, for health and safety reasons of course.
The Dating Game
Perhaps the nuttiest game show of all time—and that’s without producer Chuck Barris’ contention that it was a front for the CIA. Amazingly, it snared a few A-list contestants: Farrah Fawcett, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, even Michael Jackson (imagine the bachelorette’s glee upon learning she’d unwittingly chosen him for a night of sexless companionship!). Meeting someone this way is probably no less bizarre or likely to lead to quasi-religious rapture than doing so on eHarmony.
The whole fill-in-the-blank thing could lead to civil insurrection in this post-Nipplegate era, especially as the show—brought to you by Fox, of course—gets randier to keep 21st-century viewers interested. Imagine a line like, “That woman in the fruit aisle sure looks troubled. I wonder if she needs help with her ______.” A punny answer like, “Cantaloupes,” would probably sink the network, if not democracy itself.
Smiles all over the place. Stakes that didn’t get any higher than a hundred bucks or so. Physical challenges that often involved pie and the smashing thereof in one another’s hair. Nickelodeon was pretty cool back then, in the days before it realized how much cash it could make by slapping Dora the Explorer’s mug on everything from thermoses to diaphragms.
Name That Tune
Considering the cannon of eloquent pop songs at our disposal these days, this game show is just begging for a remake. Forget watching contestants guess which sugary-sweet Temptations jingle is playing and instead watch people go hog-wild while screaming “Put It In My Mouth” upon hearing poet Akinyele say in three notes, “I’ll be like Herbie and hand you a —-.”
The Newlywed Game
Newlyweds get together and see how well their answers to the same questions, 97 percent of which include the word “whoopee,” match up. This simple setup provided heaps of comic gold during the ’70s, but it might not work during a repressive, sex-is-a-pestilence era like this one. Suffice it to say that modern-day censors and the current FCC regime would blow a gasket over a clip like this.
The problem with the game’s most recent revival is that producers tried to sell us on Whoopi Goldberg as the pivotal center square. Even dim-bulb game-show contestants don’t want their competitive fates hinging on the star of such classics as Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Fatal Beauty. Maybe we could reinvent this one with the “stars” of reality shows serving as the square-meisters. Watching Trishelle or Joe Millionaire grind their wits into overdrive would provide all the inadvertent humor that managed to get lost between Bruce Vilanch’s ass and mouth.