Now & Then: Game shows
“Who wants to be a millionaire?” What a great show, don’t you just love it?
Yeah, me neither.
Face it, the show aired way back in 1999. Even Regis Philbin got sick of it in 2002 and he was being paid.
When looking at real game shows, the golden age was undoubtedly back around the ’70s. That was the era of the Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right, Password, Family Feud, Double Dare, and The Dating Game.
Sure, some of these shows are still around, but not with the same popularity, and definitely not with the same color schemes.
Even the old relic Bob Barker is out of the scene and off writing his autobiography called (seriously) “Priceless Memories” about the trials and tribulations of being a game show host. Good luck, Bob.
The Dating Game sort of spawned a whole new monster in television reality. Shows like The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette, even Rock of Love and A Shot at Love are sort of updated versions of those old shows. It’s still just a bunch of people out to land a hot date. Except in my eyes, they’ve definitely lost the civility of a question-and-answer game behind a curtain. Now it’s an in-your-face, laughing, crying, spitting, fighting, cheating, lying, battle royale. That, I would say, is much closer to a game show than a reality show, at least compared to my life.
We eventually got a hold of Weakest Link from the U.K. and aired their episodes here. The show hardly lasted a year though, but that terribly annoying catch phrase – something I will not utter here – remained long afterwards.
Jeopardy is still around and probably will be for some time with its appeal of daily doubles, final jeopardy and of course, Alex Trebeck; someone we know from Saturday Night Live more than the quiz show itself.
The only truly popular game show around today is Deal or No Deal. It has pretty women in sparkly costumes, overly excited contestants, and best of all, tons and tons of cash. The game has popped up everywhere from Albania to Zimbabwe, and parodies like Meal or No Meal, where pounds of beef are used in place of money, have even become popular.
Other than that, game shows aren’t really the “thing” anymore, not like they were back in the day. But if you really need a fix of that real game show goodness, there is hope. If you’re looking for zany foreign game shows, look on YouTube, usually under the search title of “weird Japanese game shows.” The Game Show Network, or GSN, is on UW-Eau Claire’s channel list. They have just about everything from reruns to resurrections of those oldies.
Though shouting, “you are the weakest link, goodbye!” at a friend or an incompetent acquaintance might not get you pop culture points anymore, game shows are still around and for some, still hold a little importance. So go ahead and watch your game shows in your dorms or with your grandma in the nursing home, because they are still around. They probably won’t go away.
Ekern is a sophomore print journalism major and copy editor for The Spectator.