Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'll take "Has It Come to This?" for $50, Art

As a kid I watched a lot of game shows. Couldn't get enough of 'em. "Concentration" with Hugh Downs. "Jeopardy!" with Art Fleming. "What's My Line?" with Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf, Dorothy Kilgallen and, of course, the urbane host, John Charles Daly. And many more. All of them entertaining shows featuring people -- hosts, celebrities and "civilian" contestants -- who were polite and upbeat and left you with a good feeling.

And for years now, Alex Trebek has been doing an excellent job on "Jeopardy!" Same with Meredith Vieira (and Regis before her) on "Millionaire." And Drew Carey comes across well, too.

But geez...

Here I am the other night watching a thing called "Duel." (To be fair, I could only get through the first half-hour.) Two contestants face off. A man and a woman. The woman had chosen the guy as her opponent and said she did so because he was from "the hood," and therefore, apparently, couldn't know very much. Well, that's a great start: Everyone loves to root for a snob.

Then she beats the guy, who reacts by putting his head down for an ungodly long time, making me almost wonder whether there was a bad edit in the tape and we didn't see the part where he was told his house had just burned to the ground and his family and pet dog were now toast. People who have been sentenced to death by a combination of hanging, drawing and quartering, electrocution and being fed through a Mixmaster have taken that news with more equanimity.

Aside from this, you have a set that is so garishly lit that you could get a headache by glancing at your TV screen from the rooftop of your uncle's house in the next county; you have a host who moves things along nicely but doesn't seem to be enjoying himself much, as if the show were being taped in his dentist's waiting room shortly before his root canal appointment; and you have me feeling very much like the very young Brandon de Wilde:

"John Charles! Come back, John Charles!"

1 comment:

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

If I am not mistaken, the host is one of the Mikes of ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning Show." Evidently, the producers should've picked the other Mike.