NBC: (September 1987 - March 1988)
Children's game shows, personally, should be about one thing and one thing only: having a good time and winning some nice prizes or some cash. That's why the best shows show kids having fun and enjoying the game, such as Double Dare, GUTS, Wild and Crazy Kids, Fun House, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Where in the World/Time Is Carmen Sandiego and recently, BrainSurge. But there are other kids shows that cross lines that should only be reserved for adult game shows. I mean, fighting amongst themselves because of a disagreement over an answer doesn't really make for a fun and good game show. So, when you take a widely successful game show at the time, but make it so that kids can get in on the arguments, just makes it more painful than enjoyable to watch. So, let's get to one of the few shows to make me cringe, I'm Telling.
The host for this show, or lack thereof so to speak, is Laurie Fazo. Or, as Jim Williams calls him, the precursor to It's Pat from Saturday Night Live. And to be honest, I'm somewhat embarrassed to have the same hairstyle as he does. He does absolutely no justice whatsoever to it. I know it's cheap for me to say that, but it's my site dammit. Not only that, his hosting skills are just terrible. He doesn't seem to get interested in to the game, but to be frank, it's good not to be with the game that is present here. It doesn't get much better when he tries to crack wise every so often, mainly because it feels forced or it's just plain unfunny.
The format is pretty much like The Newlywed Game. Host asks question about the sibling A or B's life, Sibling A give an answer, Sibling B must then match said answer to earn points and the most amount of points at the end wins the game. I mean, for a late eighties Newlywed Game rip-off, they kinda half-assed it. I mean, they didn't go all the way and have the kids hold up cards. To be honest, I'd rather have them hold up cards. I mean, if you're going to ripoff The Newlywed Game, go all out.
Now to begin with, they had to send their partners to the Iso-Zone, or in layman's terms, backstage in a sound proof room. To make it cool, they CGI'd beams of light on the screen, froze the action, and then the beams were taken off the screen and there they were. I mean, it looked cheesy in every single Sci-Fi movie before that and it looks not only cheesy but extremely fake as well.
Well, I guess we have to add to the fakeness of the show by having the contestants pick their own categories....well, not really. They are shown 3 categories, and they are randomly shuffled. Sibling A hits the button and answers the question in the category. As Laurie says, "These questions are to discover their siblings likes, mannerisms, hobbies and maybe even a funny secret or two." Laurie, just come clean and just say "These questions are to embarrass the contestants so they can win cheap prizes and a savings bond that their parents will spend on counseling for the kids." But then again, that wouldn't sell to kids of the 1980s.
Another thing that really irks me is the set. I know kids game shows aren't really known for the immersive....who am I kidding, Kids Game Shows often have the best sets. Fun House, Double Dare, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Carmen Sandiego, BrainSurge, and hell, even though Nick Arcade sucked, the set was awesome though. Here, the producers thought, "Ok, let's just throw a bunch of bright colors for each of the pairs seats, put some designs up and buy Laurie a podium from Ikea. You have until 9pm tonight to get it all done." Then again, it was like 4pm already.
One of the biggest things that made this show horrible was the scoring format. The first round, questions were worth 25, 50 and 75 points, totaling 150 points maximum for that round. The second round is 50, 75 and 150 points, totaling 275. More often than not, you would see teams score zero in the first round and win it on the last round. Heck, The Newlywed Game has that 25, now 30 point bonus question, but those questions are often easier than what's asked in the front game. However the bonus question points don't outweigh the other two rounds worth. Thus making the first round completely pointless.
The bonus game, called the Pick-a-Prize Arcade looked like it was just slapped on in more ways than one. Once again, the set design here is horrendous. It's like they had to use the same buckets of paint used on the first half of the set to color the podiums here. Not to mention, they added all those flashing lights when you pick a prize and it goes off when you pick right. I mean, even the first Wheel of Fortune prize podiums, where they just placed things every which way looked better than this.
Oh, the way the bonus actually works, sucks. There are 20 prizes in the "arcade", 10 on Pink podiums, 10 on Yellow. Sibling A has to pick 6 prizes out of the Pink and Sibling B has to pick 6 from the Yellow. Sibling B then must figure out what 6 Pink Podium prizes that Sibling A picked before the game began. If Sibling B is right, Sibling A gets the prize, if not, then they don't. The process is reversed and if both siblings get 10 matches, they win all 20 prizes. To be fair, these prizes seemed to vary from good to crap. I could tell you about them, but there are more deserving prizes to be picked on.
The old saying, whatever can go wrong, can go wrong, does go wrong. Laurie seemed to have devolved from being alright from Marlo's Magical whatever show he used to do, the set and music package were more annoying than the announcer was on Bargain Hunters and Slime....Oh yeah, I forgot Dean Goss announced this. Further proof that he can't do anything right in the world of game shows. Here, he just doesn't seem to care, which is better than half-assing it on High Rollers. The format, while a direct rip-off of The Newlywed Game manages to make the show worse, and the bonus game is just tacked on because they need to pad out 23 minutes of programming, yet they only have enough for 17. Either way, it's another development from the late 80s that should have stayed in just that, development in the late 80s.
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