#142 - Swaps
The Newlywed Game mixed with Studs and a future Change of Heart to come up with one lame game.
Text by: Robert Seidelman
Game Shows, save for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy were dead in syndication after 1992. The state of non-cable tv changed from being filled with family-friendly game shows and housewife fantasies in soap operas to lame court shows and trashy talk TV like Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones, Richard Bey, and the last two seasons of both Donahue and Geraldo. Dating Game Shows were still around, but they were being phased out since Love Connection was on its way out and nobody was caring anymore about the building of the relationship, only the utter destruction of them. In 1995, new face in the game show world in Scott St. John was able to sell a show with three couples who are no more to come on the show and play a game and decide whether to get back together or see someone else with hundreds of dollars on the line for a exciting date, whether it be with their ex or with another couple's ex. While the premise sounds meh, the actual show is bleh. It's time for some Swaps.
Scott St. John pulls double duty as not only the shows producer, but the shows host as well. Scott is a great producer, but as a host....well, he's there. He doesn't rock the boat like a Bob Eubanks or Chuck Woolery, but he also doesn't annoy people like Pat Bullard does or Jillian Barbarie did on EX-treme Dating. He didn't do anything outwardly wrong when it came to hosting, it's just that he looked like he didn't have much of a personality or anything else that made him stand out. Then again, he probably didn't get a good crop at the tryouts to be a host, so he had to fill in.
The set itself isn't that good either. Not only that, it's hard to make any clear reasons as to what the set is supposed to be. I know that one part looks like The Newlywed Game if they lost all of their budget. Then there are the weird doors behind Scott that look like they got those from the first season of What Would You Do? if they just painted over them.
The game itself is a big emalgamation of formats that were either super-successful or stuff that was tried early, but then scrapped because the format was boring. There are many rounds to this game that it also becomes numbing. The first two rounds are played with the guys, second 2 are played with the girls and round 5 is played with both of them. The first round is played like The Newlywed Game, except just for two choices, instead of it being open-ended. In that sense, it might have just been like a question from Tattletales' second format. Each correct match was worth $100 added to the guys $100 Date Fund. It's a generic line of questioning used for every single damned Newlywed Game style show that came after The Newlywed Game. I would just like a format to do something different besides this.
Or this for that matter. Round 2 has the guys holding inflatable hammers (don't ask me why, I don't get the relationship joke entailing hammers.) and whacking their ex with them when Scott reads a statement from one of the girls. It's the guy's job to figure out if that statement was from his ex. If so, then he hits his ex with it. If she did say it, it's worth $100. If not, then $100 is deducted from his amount. I guess this is a way to discourage hitting the ex so much that his date fund becomes so much in the negative that he can't pull out of the hole. Scott must have watched a lot of Tattletales and He Said, She Said reruns from early days GSN, since this looked like the style of questioning that they did.
Now it's time for the girls to get into the action. In this round, Scott gives the ladies a statement that was asked by the guys. They have to decide if their ex said True or False. If they match, then it's worth $100 to their Date Fund. The entire picking of true or false is lame as well. The girls have to go to the certain windows and if the ex opens the right one, they get the money. I also hate the one-liners that are thrown out by the exes are pretty painful to listen to. After this they play another round with the hammers, but this time the ladies have the inflatables. This round just seems lame by all accounts. What's wrong with a buzzer or a sign instead of hitting someone with a lame hammer that you'd win at a local fair? It just seems cheap.
The final round goes as follows. It's more of a speed round of sorts. The former couples have 45 seconds to match whether a statement about one of the exes is either "Cool" or "Not Cool", with annoying audience response to follow. The ladies go first and have three shots. Then the men have three shots and the process repeats until the 45 seconds run out. To be blunt, they probably spent all of their money on the set just for that segment, because it looked good. Aside from that, it was just more of the same from the past rounds with an added lame dose of slang from the late 80s and early 90s.
The final part of the show has the guys picking which one of the three ladies they would love to date. However, the catch is that the three women have already selected which of the three men they wanted to date. They also had the option to not select anyone of them, and forfeiting their Date Fund. If a girl does pick a guy, they would stand behind the door with the guys name on it and they would combine their Date Funds. If not, then a staffer dressed up in a lame outfit will be there to shock them. I'm also glad they didn't do any older couples on Swaps because if they pulled the Death thing, you could have the very first person to die on a game show. The date and the combined fund win only happens if the guy selects a girl that was behind his door. This just screams of the end game of Studs too much for my liking. Studs did this right, with the ladies who had to go out with the two schlubs choosing and the show was left with that. This show did it wrong with the stupid costumes and the doors.
In closing, nobody else liked this show and the show was cancelled within a couple of months, being another short lived show to go with The Smarter Sex which lasted all of two weeks. With a mish-mashed format, a set that spent too much money on one piece and left the rest to look stupid and a host that was green as grass, left us a pretty dismal viewing opportunity. I've put this next induction off long enough. I was told the first couple of months when I started this endeavor, this show has to be talked about. One of GSN's biggest failures of all time.....
Next Week: Burt Luddin's Love Buffet!
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