Now how the hell am I not going to do a whole month of gameshow ranting and not mention Game Show Network? That's just about as off as James Earl Jones not being the voice of Darth Vader. It's just not natural. Anyways, GSN had gone though so many changes in the decade or so since I've been watching it that it hurts my head just thinking about it. But none the less the channel is still up and strong. So here's my ode to the reason my cable bill is higher than it should be.
I first heard about the network in the late nineties when the ending credits would roll at the end of Wheel of Fortune and it peaked my interest then. Of course I was a teenager then and no say on what would my parents would subscribe to on cable outside of the occasional WWF Pay-Per-View event. Hell, even if I did have a say it wasn't available from my provider at the time. It wasn't until about 2002 is when I was on my own and found a cable company that did have it. And like a junkie it sucked me into it's addicting grasp. I was amazed of seeing some of my old favorites of my youth like Card Sharks, Let's Make A Deal, $100,000 Pyramid, and even some forgotten freshness like Press Your Luck and the all popular Match Game. It was a gameshow lovers nirvana at that point; and then it got even better. They had they're own original shows like Lingo, Russian Roulette, Friend or Foe, and even a remake of Press Your Luck (and it was a good remake too)! Then as time goes on, some execs like they always seem to do, turned a great thing and totally jacked it up.
It was inevitable. It always seem to happen to good things. It's not proven law that it happens 100% of the time, but a good 80% is enough to piss me off when it's that many companies and organizations do that. And GSN is no exception. It first started by shortening the name of itself to GSN, which I thought was good. And then they stopped production of some of their originals like Russian Roulette, and Friend or Foe as well as scaling down the running of classics like Let's Make A Deal with showings of classic Family Feud and new Family Feud back to back. That pissed me off cause they were one of the reasons I would keep it on GSN 24/7. They also had it so you could play their games interactively online while the show is on for prizes if you signed up with GSN.com; which I liked. But when my shows went and left like I mentioned, so did that feature. UGH!?! That bites! And then, they try to introduce new shows, original shows. And, well, honestly I'm indifferent about that. Some were decent like High Stakes Poker and World Series of Blackjack (but that's another vise of mine we'll discuss). I likes the competitiveness of that and the strategic gameplay of it. But some were just, not. Their remake of The Newlywed Game and their own twist on The Dating Game, Baggage, is alright at best. They make attempts to make it hip and fresh but not to make them even remotely close to come up the censors radar. Don't they even know that some of the funniest shit is when they say the hell with the censors and let it fly. That's why there's YouTube. All I ask is if anyone can find a torrent of some of the cooler stuff I mentioned just hit me up on twitter or my email on the contact page.
One more thing about GSN that wad good in my opinion, and I would've hoped they would've expanded on, was that they did specials if you could believe it. They actually had special presentations about things that were either a great anomaly in gameshows such as Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck scandal. That was the story of a man who was so obsessed with the show he studied the patterns of the board to maximize his winnings to a record-breaking $100,000+ for the show. Or the one they did as the in-depth history of Match Game. That went as far as cast interviews of how lucid and wild it wad to be on the set of Match Game and its feeble attempt to revamp it in the early 90's. Once again, I WANT TORRENTS OF THESE!!! They were fascinating since it combined two of my favorite things to watch, documentaries being the other. They also did a few others that I remember such as an ode to the career and life of Chuck Woolery and his accomplishments so far at that time and even an ultimate quiz show challenge where they pooled the top 16 winningest contestants in all quiz-based gameshows to see who's the best in the field of quiz shows. Obviously Ken Jennings won, but that's another topic. The point is that they should've expanded on these. I would've loved to see an ode to Bob Barker or even a retrospect on how Ken Jennings set himself as the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of Jeopardy! champions. Or even a side by side comparison of Brad Rutter and Ken biding for the most winningest contestant in gameshow history. They could play it out like The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters did in their efforts to prove that Steve Wiebe is indeed the highest scorer on Donkey Kong. Or hell GSN, just show that!?! That's at least as competitive as high stakes poker and it deserves more than the attention G4 given it.
Well, thats the end of my seemingly endless rant on GSN itself. If I continued at that pace we'd be here all night. But now it's time for me to seek what will week four bring for GAMESHOW MONTH. It'll be a doozy I assure you. Stay tuned.
BootLeG sampler.. signing out...