#32: Robb Edward Morris
Host: Make the Grade (1990-1991)
1990 was a very odd year for game shows. It seems that I can do a whole years worth of inductions based on the worst things of 1990, and it would still make sense. 1990 saw the worst of everything game show wise. Everything from bad hosts, to rapping dragons, to shows trying to make Candid Camera a game show, AGAIN! In Cable, it was different. The game shows on cable at that time were pretty good. MTV had the last season of Remote Control, and then Turn it Up replaced that, and it was a pretty good music quiz. Lifetime got into the game with Supermarket Sweep & Rodeo Drive, both very good shows. The Nashville Network was going strong with Top Card, hosted by Jim Caldwell & USA was continuing to roll with The New Chain Reaction + their impressive lineup of game show reruns.
Nickelodeon, on the other hand, was experiencing growing pains. They had recently moved from their Philadelphia/New York bases of operations to the brand new Nickelodeon Studios facility at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The first show to move there was Super Sloppy Double Dare and it was good. However, the next two shows to move there had to have host changes for various reasons. One of those shows that had to make a change was Make The Grade. Lew Schneider left the show to pursue other ventures, including his first major network show, Wish You Were Here, which a more apt title would have been Wish You Were Watching. So, a new host had to be found. With the move to Universal saw the blandest and most uninterested kids game show host I've ever seen. Ladies and gentlemen, Robb Edward Morris.
Robb Edward Morris is an actor, who's main credits include playing Bellboy in an episode of BL Stryker & Gary in the movie Shakma, where he was gnawed to death by a wild genetically mutated baboon. So, him acting in a bit role on a bad copy of Magnum P.I. & being a death victim in a B-Rate Horror Movie gets him a hosting gig. Ok. But he sounds really bored and he hasn't done anything. Just listen to him open the show.
Now that's the a voice that can put you to sleep, or sounds like a college chemistry instructor. Either way, he just doesn't sound interested at all at what he does. It doesn't get much better as throughout the show, he just doesn't seem to care about anything. He keeps up with his monotone delivery and sounding like he would continue to be slaughtered by a manic baboon over and over again instead of hosting a kids game show.
It doesn't get much better when he actually interviews the kids. He just seems uninterested about everything from Basketball, to Soccer, to pretty much anything that the contestants enjoy or do when they aren't playing Make the Grade. The look in his face when he's reading the rules is of pain and just going through the motions, on day 1. He just didn't care about the show. For that matter, did he even care about being on BL Stryker or being slaughtered by a Baboon on her period? It's my full assumption that he was just there for a check.
That point is further proven when he actually reads the questions without any care whatsoever, sometimes tripping over his own words. Which explains why he was only given parts with little to no dialogue in any of his prior roles. When you trip over simple words written to you on a card that you can plainly read right in front of your face, then you have some serious troubles.
Another thing that grated me to no end about Robb Edward Morris was that when someone hit the fire drill, he would start to explain it in a decent voice, but then he'll start to trail off and go back to his vegetative state of hosting. It feels like he couldn't be arsed to give a quarter of a damn about what he was hosting or talking about. For proof, here's another soundbyte of him explaining the Lunar Rover fire drill.
Once again, very very disappointing and he started with so much promise here, and then he fell flat on his face.
Finally at the Honors Round, the end game of Make The Grade, where the contestants have to answer 7 questions in 45 seconds, Robb still isn't enthused to be there whatsoever. He muddles through the categories that the contestant has to choose from & he also muddles through the questions, not caring whether there was only 6 seconds left. I mean, if the contestant is almost out of time, shouldn't you at least try to speed up a tick to make sure they have the opportunity to answer that last question? It's a sign of not giving a damn.
And at the end, he doesn't even say the name of the show, the audience does and he just poses and says "Cowabunga, Dudes and Dudettes." So, not only is he dull as hell, but he's trying so hard to be hip here. Oh dear.
Well, that was Robb's first hosting experience, and not to mention his last. The show would be cancelled in 1991 to make way for new programming such as Get the Picture, Nick Arcade and various other Nicktoons. Robb Edward Morris would continue to stink up the TV airwaves on various other bitroles in other shows. Further proof that replacing a good host with someone who's the polar opposite doesn't work...and for further proof.
Next week...Skip Lackey
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