Game Shows are a vital cog in the economy by providing ordinary people the chance to win either cash they will foolishly blow through or prizes that come with whopping tax bills they can't afford.
So you're wondering about how to allot your precious game show viewing time. There are hundreds of game shows on the air every hour, on the hour, but you only have a scant ten hours a day to devote to watching people you don't know win shit you wish you had. Naturally, you have come to Cracked to help you solve your dilemma, and we are more than happy to help. We are extra-super-happy... to help.
"Yeah, Al, we're playing for Waifs Without Weights. Every year, thousands of starving children in America don't have the opportunity to get totally buff like we are..."
In the following list, we will review various game shows and give them a rating based on the scientifically airtight Disembodied Bob Barker Head (DBBH) scale. 5/5 DBBH is the top rating, and an award that all television producers who are reading this page should aspire to. No, you should crave it, because you need to have the acceptance of the Cracked community to have any chance of staying on the air ( I'm looking at you, Wheel of Fortune). Okay, nobody gets a 5/5 until we see some unmarked, non-sequential folding cash from some TV companies, and we don't want to see bills with loser presidents like Jackson and Franklin. No, we want the green with portraits of famous presidents like Lincoln and Washington.
Wait, the phone is ringing...
Okay, we apparently can't "take bribes" for good ratings but we'll still take them. Whatever. Here's some game shows:
"Wow, you actually fit ten golf balls in your mouth, Daniel? That's great..."
THE GAME: A fairly straightforward trivia game, except the "answers' are given and the contestant supplies the "question" (and just giving an upward inflection on the last syllable doesn't count...fucking grammar Nazis). The "answers" are in a wide variety of subjects but tend to be on things like ballet, opera, and classical literature...essentially shit no one cares about unless their email address ends in ".edu".
THE HOST: Alex Trebek has been handling the emcee duties solo for 25 years. He is smart and shows good knowledge about the game and many of the categories handled on the program. We did have to deduct some points for his odd habit of doing bad impersonations when reading clues involving movie quotes, and for shaving off his awesome firefighter-worthy mustasche.
HILARITY FACTOR: Save for the occasional flaky contestant and garden-variety stupidity flashed during Celebrity Jeopardy!, laughs are hard to come by. In a game show world full of Electronic Battleships and Operations, Jeopardy! is chess: serious and quiet.
HOTNESS FACTOR: Almost non-existent. Sarah Whitcomb of the "Clue Crew" is always a welcome sight, and the college tournament produces a few cute nerds, but this show is about brains first. Looking for skin here is like trolling the public library on a Friday night for a date: you have much better options.
Sarah shows off a true Daily Double
THE PRIZES: Straight cash, homey. Nothing wrong with that.
OVERALL RATING: A smart standard of the game show industry. Hell, Weird Al Yankovic made a parody song featuring Jeopardy! over 25 years ago, so, uh, there's that.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE
THE GAME: Hangman, with the additional thrill of physical labor.
THE HOST: To give credit where credit is due, 'Wheel' makes the best of a bad situation. Unlike JEAPORDY! where Trebeck can hang his hat on being a percieved genius, or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and its inexplicably famous lunatic of a host, Regis Philben, Pat Sajack's job involves little more than asking about contestants' home towns and seeming genuinely suprised whenever someone ask for a "B".
HILLARITY FACTOR: Again, Sajack keeps it easy on set, so most of the humor comes from contestants with entirely too much energy trying to solve puzzles with answers like "To have and to mold" with the intonation of someone who just learned to speak english 20 minutes ago.
HOTNESS FACTOR: Thats a 5/5 in 1987, but at this point Vanna White is old enough for your mom's bridge club. She's doing pretty good for 54, but game show girl is a job for the young. As far as Sajak is concerned, the dude might as well be The Highlander: the man has aged about as much as a photograph since 1980.
There can be only one.
THE PRIZES: "Wheel" has the kind of prize list that belongs in a Lil' John video. Cars, trips, jewelry, and plenty of cash money. It's a wonder that the shows producers don't require contestants to make it rain before buying a vowel.
OVERALL RATING: The game hasn't changed much in the last few decades, but neither has checkers. The perfect show for those situations where you're unable to watch someone doing a crossword puzzle in person.
THE GAME: 100 people get polled in a midwestern mall somewhere on subjective questions, and contestants get to try and out-stupid the general populous by picking even dumber answers than the adverage mallgoer. For some reason, teams are divided along family lines so that when Uncle Rick is asked "What's something people keep in their pockets?" and answers "The Complete works of Chaucer" he can screw everyone he loves out of thousands of dollars.
THE HOST: Like Doctor Who, the host of Family Feud isn't a person, but a title given to a long line of wierd looking eccentrics, usually TV comedians who had a shot at the A-List but couldn't quite seal the deal.
Sure, throw Richard Karn in there. Why not.
HILARITY FACTOR: What "Dumb And Dumber" tried to script happens live and in person every day on the set of Family Feud. If the question is "Name a country with hot weather" you can bet somebody's gonna answer "Pheonix". That kind of thing isn't even unusual, it's not even par for a single episode. This is what a notable episode of Feud looks like:
HOTNESS FACTOR: Once again, Richard Karn:
Like we weren't gonna find a way to use this twice.
THE PRIZES: Not quite as much prize money as most game shows, but the distribution is downright hillarious. 2 contestants from the *ahem* "Winning Team" are given the same 5 questions, and try to come up with a total of 200 points between them. Hit 200? Thats $20,000. Fall short of 200? 5 bucks a point and the family's collective hatred for whoever scored lower (especially in close games). Feud is worth watching if only for the occasional episode that ends in a score of 199; the looks of disappointment are about on par with those of a child whose been promised a trip to Disney Land and instead gets taken to a pet cemetary.
OVERALL RANKING: Yup, top score. The problem most game shows have is that show is built around watching people win, and, honestly, who wants that? Seeing people win money is only fun when it's you doing the winning. Not Feud; it's is the only show based around seeing people lose. Sure, the game is fun to play along at home, the hosts are passably funny, and the contestants are dumber than sacks of hammers, but Feud's greatest appeal is simply the fact that it invites us to let out our inner sadistic prick.