Monday, July 4, 2011

WTF PEOPLE!?! Gameshows

Back to some of my vices that I just can't seem to shake. And this particular vice is so massive that one post isn't gonna cut it. This is GAMESHOW MONTH in full effect people. So sit back and let the over-obsessive ranting begin!!!

What is it about gameshows that draws our attention to them. How have we as a well cultured society even fathom having so many of them that we have a television network solely dedicated to it. (Then again we also have networks dedicated to soap operas, chick flicks, cartoons, food, as well as multiple networks for news, sports, and porn. But that's another discussion). Are we really that addicted to the idiot box for these things. Simple answer is yes, and here's my stance on them. 

Now just before we continue down this rabbit hole, I just want to say that I don't have anything against gameshows. I find them pretty damn entertaining. Some of my earliest memories is me watching The Price is Right with my babysitter while my parents were at work. Of course I was two years old then and very impressionable, so you could say that I started young. It was fascinating for me because of all the bright lights, loud noises, and all those flashy new prizes just begging to be won. It was like winning the lottery and scoring big in the casino all rolled into one because it was filmed for a national audience. But as I matured, so did gameshows, as well as my taste for them. 

From what I classify there are 3 types of gameshows. The quiz show, the showcase, and the cause and effect genres. Each one unique in it's delivery and all resulting to a win/lose outcome. The simplest of the three to go over is the quiz show. It's pure knowledge and logic based and it could range from general knowledge to wordsmithing to even specialized topics like pop culture and the like. A perfect example of this (and my personal favorite in this category) is Jeopardy! It a game of wits, smarts, and not just any Joe Schmoe can be a contender (anyone can be a contestant). You have to have logic enough to outsmart a computer and thumbs so blistered you'll make hardcore gamers envious. Others try to imitate it's formula for success like Lingo, Trivial Persuit, and even to go as far out as Who Wants to be a Millionaire. But hardly able to duplicate it's potential. Granted Jeopardy! wasn't the first quiz show made, others even stood ground for a while. But when you have self made celebrities like Ken Jennings that pretty much showed the common man that with a little effort and a lot of know how, the skies the limit. 

Now for a more humbling effort for a gameshow, the cause and effect type. This one rely more on what human reaction and interaction in the making of the outcome of the game. This is more present in games that either involve physical endurance such as Wipeout, Destroy Build Destroy, or Fear Factor; and those games that require partnership with a second person or a team like Lingo, Family Feud, or Win, Lose, or Draw. Both subtypes have similar variables such as it is unpredictable on what might happen outside of what is mandated in their rules and regulations. The excitement aspect of this genre is also it's downside, the reaction of their contestants in the constraints of the game rules. It works for some where in the case of Fear Factor where to win $50,000 you have to do stunts or eat exotic insects in a trial to be the last man standing. But on the flip side such as being partnered up with an illiterate dumbass that can't spell a five-letter word to save their live as is the case of Lingo or some wild off-the-wall answer you would get from (even worse) a family member like on Family Feud. Either way, it makes for great entertainment for the most part and draws the most people to it versus any other genre of gaming; contestant or viewer. 

And now we look into the showcase gameshow. It's pure and simple. Compete in individualized tests of knowledge or skill to win instead of cash, prizes; such as trips, appliances, or even vehicles. The most well known of gameshow that this references is The Price is Right; but it's not alone with the likes of Wheel of Fortune, Press Your Luck, Pyramid, and Family Game Night. They're all follow the same formula of compete for a chance to win big or go home. Once again a proven system and able to withstand the test of time given the right timeslot and network. But that's the fate of any gameshow. 

So that's my synopsis of gameshows in general. Tune in next week for a further look into gameshows and the commercials that are so damn awkward and yet so definitive to them. Happy Gameshow Month!

BootLeG sampler.. signing out...

P.S. Shotout to my friend Rob Mancini who works as a producer for Destroy Build Destroy, great job bro...

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