I LOVE game shows. I don’t watch them religiously, but it’s like crack when I can get it. My cable does not include the Game Show Network, but every time I board a flight it is the first channel I seek out. Channel 14 on Frontier. Anyway, from “Big bucks, no whammies, STOP!” to “Come on down!” and “Is that your final answer?” I can’t remember a time when people like Pat Sajack and Bob Barker haven’t been a part of my life. When I was about 16 it was my daily ritual to watch “Wheel of Fortune” after school at 3:00 (before the days of prime time). I still remember one day in particular when I came home from school - my brothers had begun a love affair with a cartoon called “Robotech” which conflicted with the WOF time slot. We argued about who would get to watch their show, and I was incredibly bitter about having to consider any compromises. Finally, we determined that a tie-breaker vote was necessary and so we turned to my friend Maria who had come home with me. Without hesitation she voted loud and clear, “Robotech!!” I was stunned and betrayed. I tried to make some feeble argument about having to at least live in the house to have a justifiable vote in the process, but even that didn’t fly as Maria practically DID live at my house during that time. Dang.
And one thing I have never been able to figure out about certain game shows is why some shows’ contestants don’t seem to feel at liberty to whoop and holler when they win thousands of dollars. Like “Jeopardy”. Have you ever noticed how their contestants respond when they win a huge chunk of change? You might get a waist high fist pump, but no arms are ever raised, no one yells, and I've never witnessed any jumping. At the most you might hear an audible exhale and a shake of the head. Just once I’d like to see a contestant go totally nuts on that show. Win a fridge on “The Price Is Right” and the contestant practically faints while squeezing in a blurb about their 30+ years of loyalty while Bob struggles to go to commercial. Win a jackpot equivalent to a year’s salary on “Jeopardy” and you may or may not witness a pursing of the lips or a head shake. It’s so disappointing.
As pathetic as it is to admit that I have taken note of such game show antics, I will take it one step further and shed myself in an even less flattering light. Because in case you were not aware, today was Bob Barker's final episode of "The Price Is Right". I come before you today to freely admit that while he bid his final farewell and concluding recommendation for your pet’s reproductive future, I got a little verklempt. I have been in the studio audience of TPIR before, which might sound a little cool if it weren’t for the fact that my brother Greg not only went to the show, but got picked and then ended up winning the whole stinkin’ showcase and everything about 5 years ago. Over $40K in cash and prizes he hauled in that day, including a car! But even before all that, Bob brought me all kinds of joy through the Dice Game, Plinko, Punch-A-Bunch and the Big Wheel. I love watching people jump for joy and old ladies begging Barker for a kiss as if he were still in his prime. To say it’s the end of an era sounds a little dramatic, but to say I’m not going to miss it would be a lie.
I guess it's not totally over. I've always got channel 14 on Frontier.