Big Words, big headaches, big bomb
Syndication: (September 1994 - September 1995)
Wheel of Fortune has had many categories that were great, some that are staples, and some that were...meh at best. I mean, I enjoy the specialty categories they had like Clue, Fill In The Blank or Number among others of that ilk where bonuses are attached to it, which could help you out in the game. Sure they're normally general knowledge questions having to do directly with the puzzle, but it keeps the game moving. While these categories are fun, sometimes they can be boring to watch. However, there was one category that wasn't exciting and it was painful to sit through. I give you....
Yes, It's what it sounds like. Basically all Megaword was is a word that you'd normally find in SAT classes or your 12th Grade English class. Sounds easy enough. However, since most of the words did come from the SAT's, most of them used letters that were normally not called in your average Wheel puzzle. So, this puzzle had Q's, X's, J's and Z's. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, it's just that these puzzles would be so that the game would just drag on and on while contestants try to put up letters up there. On average, with all the spinning and wrong guesses and vowel buying, it would take about 4-6 minutes just for one Megaword.
Now, like Clue and Fill In the Blank, there is some bonus that adds to the excitement. However, the excitement here is that they have to use the Megaword in a sentence. When it started, Pat would often think highly of it, but as it wore on, he was like, "yeah, that sounds about right, here's $500." It had gotten to the point where nobody cared about Megaword. Actually, people had dreaded it so much that while Wheel is usually live to tape, I doubt they would have cared if they edited out a few go-rounds of spins when all of them missed constantly or hit Lose a Turn or Bankrupt in order to have more time for other, more exciting puzzles like a Thing or a Place or even that popular Landmark.
Probably one of the biggest reasons why the category failed is that while the words were hard not only to figure out but to pronounce. And WOF is a phonetics game, which harkens back to the previous induction where while the puzzle was fully revealed, the judges smited them because they didn't pronounce them correctly. The same thing happened with Megaword more often than not. Here's an example right now from Youtube and its user JRaygor.
With the letters revealed, they should have given the puzzle to the poor lady, just to save us from this awful category. The players didn't want this category and at the end of the day, neither did Pat or Vanna. By the end of the lone season in which Megaword was in play, it became an inside joke to everyone, thinking that they just want to end the pain of this category, so pretty much any sentence was deemed acceptable. When the 1995-1996 season happened, Megaword was sent back to the detention hall.
There really isn't much to get excited over Megaword. It just was rather a poor attempt at adding variety in categories that didn't really need it at this point, with Clue and I think they had the Red Letter Puzzles during this time, so the variety wasn't really needed. Sure more categories were added later on, but they never reached the crappiness that Megaword had. Well, now that we're at the end of the month, you know that we have to save the best for last. What is the best for last?
I don't know, how about this guy who didn't know what was going on.
Next week: Rolf Benirschke
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