There was some very brief hope for prime time television entertainment this summer. Especially for this viewer who reconnects with his youth via some classic game shows on the Buzzr cable network.
ABC recently announced that they were bringing back this summer reboots of some well-remembered game shows. I was in, baby. All the way. Until I saw them.
I'm out, baby. All the way.
First up was "To Tell the Truth," a show that I am watching black-and-white reruns from about 50 years ago on Buzzr. With the push towards diversity on television, this edition of TTTT features all African-American panelists. Plus one of the originals, Betty White, who I guess was literally and figuratively the token White.
After about ten minutes of high-fives, fist pumps, and unintelligible language from the C-list celebrities, I turned it off. I could care less whether it was number one, number two, or number three.
Next was "Celebrity Family Feud." Now this show never really did go away and was never my favorite with the unctuous Richard Dawson. It's even less my favorite with the even more annoying Steve Harvey running the proceedings. I've had dealings with the guy and his entourage. A nastier guy you wouldn't want to meet. My television is programmed to immediately turn off if Harvey ever appears for more than thirty seconds. No review for "Celebrity Family Feud" from me.
Okay, I used to be a big fan of the old "$100,000 Pyramid." I even tried to get on the show as a contestant when I was in college. Mark that under "Game Show Auditions That Failed." I would really sample this 2016 version.
The first problem was with new host Michael Strahan. He makes no sense with whatever he says. I am beginning to think that, for four years, he was part of a ventriloquist act with Kelly Ripa. Guess who was talking for who? His banter with the so-called celebrities and the equally repulsive contestants was incoherent.
That's another problem with all these new game shows. The contestants are encouraged to act like idiots. Jumping up and down. Doing wild gyrations. One of the Pyramid contestants was so despicable that I not only hoped she would lose, I wanted her to have a stroke on stage. In another ghastly moment, a rather normal contestant lost his train of thought because opposing celebrity, some asshole named Anthony Anderson, kept shaking his chair. When the next pair of celebrity players included the clinically insane Rosie O'Donnell, I was a goner.
Now the one reboot that I really, really wanted to savor was "Match Game." I loved the original to this day with the hilarious bantering from the likes of Brett Somers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Patti Deutsch, etc. But I saw yellow flags right from the get-go of this new reboot. With three simple words.
Host Alec Baldwin.
Don't get me wrong. Everything is in the right place. The set looked the same. The music was the same. The game was not tinkered with. Even the famous "long microphone" was used by Baldwin.
But, at every turn, probably because he's such a pompous ass, the hour was hijacked by Baldwin's incessant need to be...well...Alec Baldwin. He totally missed the point of the proceedings. The former host, the wonderful Gene Rayburn, was so masterful at running the show and getting out of the way so the panelists could be funny. Here, Baldwin tries to be the star of it all and it virtually kills any fun because he's about as amusing as a rectal exam performed with a jack hammer.
Again, we have the overzealous and borderline mental institution contestants. One got up to bump asses with "celebrity" panelist J.B. Smoove. And, to make matters worse, somebody at ABC thinks that America is craving for more Rosie O'Donnell because there she is again on the panel. Like a truck coming down the block, I immediately knew that at least one of the questions would involve Donald Trump. Of the clowns on the panel, only Debra Messing and Sutton Foster seemed to even slightly invoke the fun spirit of the original.
I guess some things are better left back in the 70s or 80s. Trust me, everything old is not new again.
Dinner last night: Leftover sausage, German potato salad, and red cabbage.