#154 - What Are My True Colors?
Feel blue about watching C-level celebs telling life stories and making you green with envy about what else is on.
Aired Pilot for ABC (May 30th, 1987)
Text by: Robert Seidelman
Certain things should not be made into a game show. A small sample size of this would include the need of plastic surgery to become the stereotypical form of beautiful for reason x (See The Swan and Bridalplasty), wanting to find out who your biological father is (See Who's Your Daddy) and finding the right side of a love triangle that is perfect for you (See Love Triangle and possibly Temptation Island, depending on what episode you're watching). The one that we're going to be talking about this time around are personality tests. Back in 1987, these sorts of tests were used in schools to figure out what you would end up doing with your life afterwards. Nowadays, these are basically time-filler on Facebook to see what Pokemon you are or how depressed you get if you end up like Chris from Family Guy. I mention 1987 because that's where this aired pilot comes from. On May 30th, people were angry that American Bandstand didn't air that week, and instead got this show showing how human Richard Simmons and Leslie Charleston could be. Throw in a complete unknown as host, a really terrible set and one of the lamest themes in game show history and you got the disaster that was What Are My True Colors?
We'll start off with the first thing you see and that's the set. Now, I really don't expect greatness from pilot sets, but at least they should look appealing to the eye, otherwise you're not going to get people to sit down and watch this show. I mean, the stars around the set look like they were designed by someone who had way too much caffeine and they just look stuck to a bland white set lit up by colored background lights. The only interesting thing they have is a set of monitors on the left hand side of the set to show the answers to the personality questions they have asked the celebrities and for the contestants to answer, but it just looks like the monitor cluster from Double Talk with the fifth monitor ripped out. This really isn't shaping up to be a worthwhile pilot at first glance.
We then get the overly drawn out intro that clocks in longer than some games of Password Plus. The intro is a really terribly sung melody explaining how the four different color personalities are. Blue is supposed to be caring and sympathetic, orange is footloose and fancy free, green is knowledgeable and has it to share and gold is very dependable and always there. Sing that last line and throw in the lyrical brilliance of any song from Barney & Friends and you basically have the theme. It's so bad that the unused lyrical version of All-Star Blitz would have been a better theme.
Now we get to the host in Mike Jarrett. Who is he and where did he come from? Good question, because I honestly don't know. I searched Google, Bing and IMDB and came up blank. The closest I got to anybody named Mike Jarrett was a bit player from Eastenders who doesn't look like the host and Mike Jerrick from Fox News. The first impression that he gives off is that he's a fraud. He doesn't care about the game or the contestants, he just wants to make crappy "top gun" jokes and get the check from doing this pilot. After interviewing the contestants, he'd pander to the crowd to see what color personalities showed up, with the help of a sound of an audience machine. He's already making the show more painful than what it already is. During the show, he'd openly insult the celebs in ways that if it were executed better, it would have been funny. Instead, it came off as groan-inducing reminders of hosts who could have done this better like David Sparks or Sarah Purcell or any other C-grade host.
The gameplay is drawn out and bland. We first see a short minute-long biography being read quickly by announcer Charlie O'Donnell (who is the only good thing about this pilot). This is done to give the contestants a good idea on what personality traits they might have. Then the celebrity comes out and will give the answers to the questions that will be asked by Jeff Jarrett's less charismatic half-brother who has all the wit and charm of a busted guitar.
The questions read off by Mike start off by setting up a situation, usually something either mundane or far out there. He then reads the four choices which correspond to the personality colors that were sang and mentioned in the intro. If a contestant picks the right color and choice, they win $50 with the last question in round 2 worth $100. After two questions from each celebrity, whomever has the most money wins the game and plays the bonus round. At most, the contestant can win $250 in cash, which is pretty cheap for 1987, especially with Double Dare giving away more than that in cash to its contestants. Aside from the cheapness, only 4 questions being asked in the first 15 minutes of the show makes it worse than Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader in primetime. More questions would be nice, with 3 in each round. All they had to do was come up with a shorter theme song and 30 second biographies instead of a minute long. Instead, we get a drab and boring game that takes too long to get anywhere.
The final round is the Close-Up round. The round starts with the contestant being given a list of questions to ask both celebrities. After about 2-3 minutes of questioning, the contestant must select which color best describes the celebrity and which color least describes the celebrity. The celebrities would read off a long-drawn out computerized response for the other celebrity. Each correct answer is worth a prize. I wouldn't have a problem with this round, but the questions that they ask aren't nearly as entertaining as some of the questions asked previously. Infact, these sound like questions they would use for a personality test that you'd have to fill out for an online job application to make sure that you're as lifeless as those that do work at a mall. The reveal itself is almost as long as those for the current batch of reality shows from in between commercial breaks.
To sum it all up, this was a really boring and painful experience. Mike Jarrett tried to make the show all about himself and not about the celebrities, thus breaking the secondary directive of a game show host in to not make the show all about yourself. The game itself is just flat boring, with a set and theme that matches the terrible factor of the game. There really isn't much more you can say about this show. The one semi-interesting thing about this is that it was produced by Hiller and Co. They would partner up with Wink Martindale to make Trivial Pursuit, Boggle, Jumble and Shuffle for The Family Channel in 1993-1995. I'd hate to think what they would have became if Wink didn't have a hand in the productions. They might have became just as bad as this
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