#129 - Name That Video
Taking a very exciting show and making it painfully boring.

 

VH1 (2001)
Text by: Robert Seidelman

Game shows in 2001 were in a big revival.  Thanks to the humongous popularity of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Hollywood Squares, and Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy were still big in the ratings.  It seemed like everyone wanted to get back in on the game show craze.  VH1 has always had at least one game show on at this time.  Even before this show, they had a fantastic one in My Generation and one of the best cable game shows of all time, Rock and Roll Jeopardy.  In 2001 with Rock and Roll Jeopardy on its last legs, VH1 was looking to cash in again on the game show craze.  They went to the music genre of game shows to find a show and revive it with a modern flair.  Sandy Frank Productions and Lorne Michaels came up to fill the void and when he finished the production, he still left a void.  Instead of a programming void, he left an entertaining void.  It's now time to Name That Video.

Karyn Bryant was named the host for this show.  Looking up her previous work, she was mainly a Teleprompter reader for MTV as a VJ and did Movies for Guys Who Like Movies.  To be honest, Bobby Heenan did a much better job hyping the movies on WCW Thunder than Karyn Bryant did hosting the segments.  On this show however, Bobby Heenan in his current state would have been a better host than Karyn Bryant.  Her demeanor on this show was so stale and pathetic that it almost made me yearn for Johnny Arcade in all his spazmatic glory.  It's one thing to be a bad host, but she was bad and bland.  It's no wonder she's spending her time now hosting Cindy Crawford's Meaningful Beauty infomercials...or she was before Valerie Bertanelli took over for her.

Before I talk about the show itself, I need to talk about the clinical looking set.  This has to be one of the most bland sets I have seen in the modern era of game shows.  All the set has is metal grating to house the big monitors (not shown in picture) and two video walls along with the bland contestant railing behind in front of one of the video walls.  That's it.  Other than that, it's one big empty studio done up with backlighting.  To be perfectly blunt, I'm under the assumption that VH1 wanted Sandy and Lorne to make this on the real cheap.  It should also be noted that when the show ran its 50 episode run, the grating was recycled along with other grating from other shows to make the set for the 2002-2004 revival of Pyramid.

The show is broken up into three rounds with the first not having any semblance of the name of the show itself.  The contestants choose from one of three "games" and either have to figure out the lyrics to some hard to understand lyrics, sing the next line in the video, figure out the lyrics from a remixed rhyme that the writers came up with and other variants on those.  While this would be fine for a regular show, but here's the main problem:  The show is Name that VIDEO!  Not a remix of Sing Along With Colin from Remote Control.  Oh, and to add to the list of better thans that I have on here, Jarrod Spektor would have made a better host than Karyn Bryant.

Now we have Bid a Vid.  This is supposed to be the new version of Bid a Note.  The way this works is that instead of a real clue like the ones given in Name That Tune, this one uses variants of the band or artists name and another word variant to the title of the song.  The contestant chooses the band name and then the variant of the song is shown.  This is lazy writing at its best.  What ever happened to making general clues and then doing it like that.  Another bad annoyance to this is the mood music that has to permeate the bidding.  It is a lame cliche of the current trend of game shows and no matter how you slice it, it was pathetic.  First to three will move on to the Golden.....Oh wait, there isn't a fancy name for the bonus round.

Instead we have a generically titled, "Championship Round".  Quite simply, the contestant has to name 10 videos in 60 seconds by name of the band or artist and song.  If they got all 10, they won a car and a 100 CD collection.  This round is also the most generic of them all.  The Golden Medley was amazing to see.  The clock ticking down and the contestant racking his or her brain thinking if the song they heard was either "Camptown Races" or "Maneater".  But this is just boring.  There's no drama here, it's just a contestant standing in a bland studio, with a CGI Clock, naming bands and songs that were blatantly obvious. 

While Card Sharks in 2001 was the worst game show of the year, this would make a great candidate for the second worst game show of that year.  This show was the perfect example of a show that was in every single word, Boring.  The contestants looked bored just playing the game, Karyn Bryant looked bored hosting and probably is a boring ditz in real life if there wasn't a teleprompter on telling her to "Act Lively".  There was no excitement to the game whatsoever and I felt like a complete idiot recording the first week.  However to be honest, I wanted to induct this just so I can play this.

Truly classic.  This show however, is not.