#146 - Outrageous!
Letting hack producers make hack productions to produce hack jobs for other hacks.

 

Fox Family (Now ABC Family) (1998-1999)
Text by: Robert Seidelman
Big thanks to RetroNauseaTV for putting this up on Youtube so that we can skewer it!


Over the years, I've taken to task Scott Sternberg for his productions of terrible revivals of shows, taking great shows and making them painful kids properties and creating a porno game show making porn in the 80s even less sexy.  He may be the most prolific bad producer of game shows, but he is far from the worst.  Let me introduce you to a couple people who have a company named Wheeler/Sussman Productions.  In 1997, we were introduced to them when they piggybacked off of Merv Griffin's Click with their horrendous show Peer Pressure.  The annoying music, terrible hosting, ugly designed set and overall cheapness of the production made me cringe.  Heck, even as a 12 year old watching that show, I just wanted the baseball season to last all year so I didn't have to watch Peer Pressure.  Either way, In 1998 they made a second show for the newly rebranded Fox Family.  The show that they came up with for the adult crowd was something that really should have come out a couple months earlier because it is nothing more than a huge rip-off of a previous show that we've already covered here on the site.  Here comes Outrageous! 

Ok, first things first.  When we see the intro, we are treated to an annoying piece of music that is the show's theme.  The show's theme will sound familiar to those who have watched Peer Pressure, mainly because it's the exact same theme, just in a different key.  I don't know what Wheeler and Sussman thought when they said that this theme and it's other iterations would make a fantastic game show theme, but I would like to assume that alcohol and other hardcore drugs were involved.  The counter-argument for this is that themes have been recycled before.  For instance, the theme for Alex Trebek's version of Double Dare and the Jim Perry version of Card Sharks used the same theme.  My rebuttal is this:  The shows were two years apart and the theme was actually good.  This theme is pure trash and Peer Pressure was still on the air.  Then we talk about the set, which is nothing more than a big monitor, some other TV sets, couches, ugly wallpaper and a hallway that looks like it was ripped off of Almost Live.  It's like they put no effort into making this set, or theme.  

When it comes to the effort of the host....well, she's there.  Her name is Idalis.  Yes, another one of these people who prefer to be called with just one name when they aren't performing.  Why not go by your full name of Idalis DeLeon.  During this time she was best known for being an MTV VJ who had a top 10 hit with the band Seduction with the song "Two To Make It Right".  Needless to say, she's had a varied career.  Sadly, she comes off as stiff as a board in this endeavor, mainly going by the prompter and asking basic questions to the two teams about how their setup went.  At least her voiceover work is decent enough. 

The game play....well, there is none.  Basically the contestants get random people at a random location to do a random stupid thing.  We've seen this setup before, but the contestants in the studio are betting on an outcome, not actually going out there and making a video.  However, the reward for the team isn't how many people they get to do it, but how funny they can make the situation unfold.  Thus, putting them in the role of the lame actors that get the unsuspecting victims that get put into certain scenes.  While this is a decent enough idea, it falls flat really quick.  What also falls flat is the annoying sound effects and zingers added by the post-production staff.  While supposed to be funny, it's not in the slightest.  I'd rather read the zingers and factoids from Love Triangle than these.  By the way, how are the contestants graded or judged? 

By the lame crutch of having the Studio Audience vote to see who's bit was funnier.  I have a major problem with this.  Not because of the voting by the studio audience, but the scenes themselves can tilt the audiences favor unfairly to one side.  Sometimes on the show, you'll get a team that gets two rather mundane situations and then the other team gets two that just breathe funny and they wind up winning the grand prize of $1,000.  And that's another knock I have on the show, it's painfully cheap.  Going over the shows that Family Channel had in the past, they gave away decent prizes and especially Trivial Pursuit, Shopping Spree, and Shop til You Drop which each saw people and teams win over $5,000 in cash and/or prizes.  Only giving away $1,000 is just puny compared to the rest. 

Another thing that irks me about this show is the format and premise of this show altogether since during the time this show was airing, Nickelodeon was airing You're On!  You can check out that induction to see how much I hated every single part of that show. Personally, I absolutely hate shows that have this style of show.  It's not interesting at all, the contestants come out looking stupid and the people that do the stunts look even stupider.  Also, adding other elements to this Swiss cheese format just makes it seem even worse.  For further proof, look at Game Show In My Head.  A truly terrible piece of crap that CBS shelved on Saturdays just to burn off the episodes because even they knew that the show was dead in the water. 

At the end of the day, this is just one of those shows that gets put out there to beat a somewhat superior show to the punch with Idalis and her mediocre hosting being the only redeeming quality about the show.  Wheeler/Sussman have absolutely no clue how to produce a game show, because the main element of the game is non-existent.  Instead of this being a game show, this plays out more like a "Make Your Own Bit for America's Funniest People" where the contestants are the producers of said segment to sell to the main show producer to get on the air.  The tandem of Wheeler/Sussman would continue to blight the realm of game shows up until 2008 when they brought Trivial Pursuit: America Plays to our screens, but I credit Debmar-Mercury for making it as good as it was more than Wheeler/Sussman because at least effort was put into the music, the set and having a budget above $2,000.  While I thank RetroNauseaTV for posting this, I don't advise anybody to watch it.