Game shows have been one of my addictions since my younger days when wearing sneakers with lights in the heels wasn't a fashion a faux-pas and eating my weight in Halloween candy didn't require a defibrillator.
|Photo by Danny Gallagher|
|Host Jerry Springer walks out to an insanely loud crowd at the Eisemann Center in Richardson at the start of The Price is Right Live on Saturday.|
It all started at my late grandparents' house back in the Uptown section of New Orleans. They were the last people on the planet to discover the divine majesty of cable television, and whenever they watched my hyperactive ass for my exasperated parents, they could only keep me entertained with their ancient, dial-operated television that could pick up only five channels depending on the weather and where I sat when I wore braces. Every morning after the cartoons were done keeping the kiddies entertained, the big three networks aired a block of game shows. They kept me surprisingly quiet for a few hours, perhaps because games of all kinds were of natural interest to me and there used to be plenty to choose from, including that iconic test of American greed and free market economics called The Price Is Right.
TPIR has survived for 26 seasons and five hosts because it has one of the most unique concepts in game show history. It features a bunch of mini-game shows within one giant game show that change each episode and are easy to play but impossible to master. It also plucks contestants right out of the audience, so literally anyone in the building can walk away with a boatload of money, appliances or an ironic collection of boats. Despite all the changes and shifts between different, co-existing generations, audiences of all ages still suffer exorcism-grade seizures at the mere mention of words like "Plinko" and "caaaaaaar!" So imagine how crazy that crowd of price-shouting fanatics would go if that equation also included a live version in their own backyard hosted by Jerry Springer, the man who made daytime talk shows even seedier than Geraldo Rivera and Sally Jessy Raphael thought was morally possible.
Now imagine being right in the middle of it. More »