I don’t vote for American Idol. I don’t call Seacrest or text message him on my AT&T wireless phone. I’ve never auditioned for Survivor, though I did give about two seconds of thought to applying for The Benefactor. I’ve never even found my way to a local Jeopardy casting call. I’m typically not one for reality TV or for game shows. But I have this one vice…
Back when Who Wants to be a Millionaire? made its first run, I got curious and made about four attempts to qualify by phone. And I did qualify, at least as much as it was up to me. If you don’t know how it works, you call a toll free number and a robot guy asks you sequence questions, much like the fastest finger part of the show only without Regis or the national television audience. The questions have four answers, each one corresponding to a number on your keypad (1,2,3,4). You have ten seconds to correctly answer each question. Once you get one wrong, you’re done. To qualify, you have to get them all right. It seems like it was only four questions on the first run of the show, but I may be wrong about that. Now that it’s Super Millionaire, it’s five questions. Anyway, a few years ago I made it through all the questions and advanced to the next round. As it turns out, that just meant I got put in a pool with all the other eggheads who got through the questions. They never called my number, and I’m not a millionaire.
So as you may have guessed, I’ve been sucked in again this time around. I think it’s worth saying that, for me anyway, the draw really is as much the competitive (even self-competitive) aspect of the game as the money. I still love and want money more than I should, but not as much as I used to (or at least I hope that’s true). I’ve never had much money, so I don’t think I seriously entertain the prospect of winning a million bucks, much less ten million. I just watch the show and rant about how I could school most of the folks in the hot seat. Oh, and I absolutely thrash on the fastest finger questions. Really. My wife thinks I’m an uber-genius based on this fact alone. Which is a fitting segue to —
The last three nights, I went out on the first, first, and second questions. I’m ashamed, but it’s true. I’m a dummy. Well, maybe not quite, but I got a run of questions about stuff I just didn’t know enough about – bird parts and airplanes (if only I could use Todd as a phone-a-friend at this stage of the game).
Not tonight. Tonight I was ready. I’ve typically waited until pretty late to call, but tonight the spirit moved and it was time to shut everything else down and call Robot Regis (who answers the phone when you call, before handing you off to the robot question asker guy). I cruised through the first question (unscrambling the phrase batten down the hatches) and handled up on the second (chronologizing the publication dates of four books) and third (chronologizing the debut albums of Hootie & the Blowfish, Phish, Ashanti, and Busta Rhymes) without too much trouble. The fourth one required a semi-educated guess – I had to arrange four countries according to total land area from biggest to smallest. I knew the first two were Brazil and Argentina, and I was fairly sure Paraguay is bigger than Uruguay. I was right.
So here we are. Four down, and I’m one away from “qualifying” once again. In the 2.3 seconds between punching “4” for Uruguay and the robot asking me question five, I really psyched myself up for what was bound to be an almost unanswerable, totally obscure question about the style of high heels worn by the last four Miss Americas during the swimsuit competition. And then comes this —
Put these four movies from the 80’s in chronological order of their first theatrical release, starting with the earliest:
I couldn’t believe it. After some reasonably challenging questions about literature and geography, they were going to usher me to the ABC studios in NYC in a blaze of Brat Pack glory. This was a can’t miss. Or (and I’m sure you’re onto me by now) so I thought. As it turns out, I know a lot about the 80’s in general and 80’s movies in particular, but chronologizing (and yes, that is a word…sort of) four movies within the decade, especially when some of them were less than a year apart (and released when I was 8), is a little tougher than I first thought. See for yourself (and see what you come up with before you punch up IMDb):
1) Less Than Zero
2) The Breakfast Club
3) Sixteen Candles
4) Risky Business
I know the order of the last three, but I had Less Than Zero out of place. So Robot Regis will have to wait. And my little family goes on living as low-thousandaires.
Forget that game show. Go for The Price is Right. Now there’s a game show! All you have to do is get a large group and make shirts that say “I love Bob Barker” and you’re on the show. Easy peasy.
Easy Peasy? And just like that folks, I have a new catch phrase. Thank you, Ms. Hannah.
She’s right, Thad. If your group is large enough, then they guarantee you one spot for your group. They act like it’s a drawing, but it’s all rigged.
It also helps if you are black with big boobs and a tank top. I guess I have you beat there.
Yeah, I’ve been meaning to get a tank top.
…but on the Price is Right deal, it’s just not my bag. My knowledge of actual retail prices is limited, and I’m not really interested in winning a new blender and dishwasher. Well, we actually could use a new blender.
Also, I think Regis is much less likely to grope me than Bob Barker.
Oh, I’m sorry. I meant tube top.
Groped by Barker? That’s nothing compared to being luged by Miller.
Disturbing comments about Bob and the Price is Right, DV. I would have to put TPIR up there toward the top of my most-loved game shows (though I, too, would be the mental equivalent of All Thumbs if asked the Actual Retail Price of anything). That “no whammies!!” one would be down toward the bottom.
Have you seen the prime-time TPIR? The Showcase Showdown is up in the $80k range. I think I saw one that was over $100k. You will need to know the price of things like Vipers, large ski boats, etc. if you’re going to see Bob in prime time.
The fear I have isn’t being grouped by Bro. Bob. The greatest fear would be to see his face engage in an instant mega-meltdown. That would have to be juxtaposed to the now in”famous” Pepsi sizzle staring Mr. Moon-man himself. Knowing I was in the ZONE if aforementioned prime time burn blasted Bob backwards into the earlier shows where he was mostly real not plastic would distract me from the tube tops et al.
As for WWTBAM?, well…I faced my own little escapade when the thought (O.K. I’ll use the proper terminology)TEMPTATION of untold riches struck the covet cord and my car pulled into the nearest 7/ll to chance a TEXAS LOTTO win worth 54 million. The only luck arrising from that was I’m still allowed to live in the humble state of Texas. I haven’t been back in that store even though I pass by there twice daily (to and fro work); I continually hear laughter at the way I filled out the scan card. (Just ignorance flowing from my viginal knowledge of gambling.)
My advice? Stick to Wheel. If nothing else, Vanna supplies a smile and smooth moves from side to side. There’s also hand motions. Jack, on the otherhand, engages contestants in witty conversations between wins. He and Vanna both enjoy lofty positions in the game-show universe.
DV – if you didn’t enjoy the luge, why did you come into my room each night asking for more?
More money, more money, no whammies – Press Your Luck
Go for it Thad,
And remember me when you need tax breaks!!!
the couple who lives next door to us won the Showcase Showdown. Actually the husband did. He also served in Iraq and Afghanistan and got shot in the leg while protecting freedom, defending the defenseless, etc.
anyway, those two aspects of his life make him more like Jesus than i could ever hope to be. i mean think about it: the resurrection was basically the Showcase Showdown on Steroids, and the Lord definitely kicked all butts in that deal. And getting wounded in battle against evil-doers, all for a bunch of ingrates… well, that’s a no-brainer.
Jesus, man. Jesus.
the Suggested Retail Price of our sins…
that’s an offensively paraphrased version of Romans 3:23. the christian bookstores will love it. I’m writing a song about it as we speak.
I’ll sell it with my new Christian candy line: Prayers of Ja-Pez. Little candy dispensers with lines like “i have a sweet tooth for Jesus” and “blessings are dandy like sugar-filled candy” written on them.
I’m also working on a get-thin-quick diet that has a stick-to-the-evil-heathen-liberals angle: 40 Days of Porpoise. you eat nothing but rare, illegal, endangered water mammal meat for 40 days, and you lose weight and stuff. and of course you really tick off our enemies, the Democrats.
RK the line is “potato chips potato chips are crunchy crunchy”