Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"THE PRICE IS RIGHT": RANTS AND RAVINGS ABOUT SOME INHERENT ISSUES THE SHOW HAS! (This is gonna be my "Old Man Yells at Clouds" post, isn't it?)

Ugh. Between posting my commentary, first on this site, and then an updated version on Age of the Nerd, all the Channel Awesome melodrama is wearing my down. Forgive me, but I need something light to write about today. Something that I don't have to think too deeply about. (Annoyed sigh) What's on TV this early in the morning?

Hour seven of "The Today Show", (Clicks remotes) Twenty-year-old rerun of "America's Dumbest Criminal", (Clicks remote) Some college baseball game I don't care about-, god, what the hell is "Stadium", anyway. (Clicks remote) Hour twelve of the bad local version of the "Today" show, (Clicks remote) whatever the hell 'Half & Half" is...- oh, is that an old UPN show? I don't remember that one, (Clicks remote) Jesus, how many Mary Higgins Clark movies did they make, and why are they all on Escape? I guess it's better than nothing but "Forensic Files" all day. Well, maybe not.... (Clicks Remote)

Well, that's never going off the air...- wait, why is that never going off the air? (Puts down remote control, watches for a few minutes)

Oh right, it's a great game show. Still, am I the only one that ever gets genuinely pissed off watching "The Price is Right"? And it's not even the normal things that people complain about with it either, I mean I don't think Drew Carey is Bob Barker but I don't think he's awful either, or Mark Richards's strange producing choices, which, yeah, something's off about it and it unnerves me, especially all the special episodes they have now, but parts of this game show always annoyed me. Hell, the fact that it's still relatively popular pisses me off. And popular with college kids?! Really? You know, I always did hear about these mythical college students that would catch a little break between classes and watch daytime soaps or game shows like "The Price is Right" between classes or sometimes schedule their classes around the times for these shows, but I damn sure never ran into any of them in my eight years of college. I mean, twenty, thirty years ago, before cable was prominent and daytime still had a decent srangelehold on the culture-at-large, sure, but, today, when a college kid can just go to a computer and put on a poker tournament while studying or something, I-, I just did not see this, but I see them on "The Price is Right" all the time.

Where are they finding these kids? I don't know, maybe I had the went to wrong college or had the wrong major or something, but there are fascinating aspects of the game that will never go out of style. Knowing the price of things and trying to figure it out, that's honestly something that's a good concept for a game show and hell, on top of that, it's just a good lesson to teach people, especially kids, know how much things cost, know the value of things. That alone makes it worth watching. Still, there's intricacies to the game that just annoy me. I'm not gonna rank them or anything, I'm not doing a Top Ten or anything, I'm just gonna mention them off in the order I feel like talking about them. Again, I know this is trivial and petty, but for the longest-lasting game show of all-time, that's continuously run and one of only two successful game shows that's still associated with a basic network, the other being CBS's Wayne Brady reboot of "Let's Make a Deal", is it that wrong to criticize some of these things? Probably for some of them, but I want to do it anyway. Alright, here we go.


Come on Down! Yeah, I hate contestants' row. Not, the bidding part but the way they execute it, that's always annoyed me. There's several aspects, but the first one, is the fact that they keep rotating contestants. This honestly sucks. Every day, there's nine contestants, only six of them get to make it out of the row, and maybe you get multiple chances to win your way out of it. With only four podiums, they're always bringing in a new contestant and that person will always have less of a chance and an opportunity to win. Sure they'll get a little cash or a small prize or two for participating, but, it always bugged me. There's no rhyme or reasons anybody gets picked at any point in the game and I always feel bad for contestants who might only get to play once. Personally, I think contestants should stay and be brought back until they either win  and play a pricing game, or eventually, if they last, let's say three episodes without getting up, then they should be sent off. It would be a little more fair and also more incentives for people to play their best, 'cause you don't want to be the idiot who's on the show for days and can't correctly bid on a washer/dryer correctly.

Unless you are....


It's bad enough that, like most game shows, they're full of over-caffeinated, yelling, screaming, type I personality, happy-go-lucky contestants, but then you get the real assholes who don't take the game seriously. These are the assholes who bet some variant of $420 on every item and think they're being clever. Or they still think Baba Booey-ing everything still is a thing. I mean, if you really just want to be a dick, wouldn't you want to be a dick with a nice pool table, or a hot tub, or trip to Miami to go on or something? Or a car, if you can ever be sober enough to drive it? Usually these assholes only get away with this once or twice and then try to play for real, but in general these players are annoying and come up more often than they used to. I'd say that they should take the game more seriously, but...-


These assholes:

Serious question, why is that still allowed? I mean, I kinda get it historically, if you go back to the real original version of this game show which had an auction format so the idea was to constantly bet higher than the previous contestant, but that game show didn't have contestants leave to play a pricing game, and it more resembled an auction more in the fact that contestant had the option of upping their previous bids. On "The Price is Right", you're trying to essentially making an educated guess on the price of items, sure, without going over, but you do get a bonus remember if you nail the price exactly, but even still, that little prickish loophole, means that, if you're bidding behind people, you've got the opportunity to find the closest bid and simply bid a dollar above them, essentially making the chances of the other contestant impossible, unless he/she bids exactly right. Just make a rule that say you can't be within $20 or even $10 of above a previous bid or something and this thing would be gotten rid of, and everybody would at least have a chance to win and you wouldn't be punished by bidding well, but in the wrong position. Speaking of the wrong position....


You see, it's not only that some contestant only get a few opportunities to bid on contestants row a game, but they automatically arrive and they immediately start the bidding. Now, I don't mind that a new contestant automatically has the hardest shot at winning by sheer fact that they came late, although I do to some extent and I'm lying, but when you pair an asshole $1 overbidder with a new contestant each time, you can at times see contestants get screwed over entirely. I saw this once as a Kid, I remember it distinctly 'cause one of the contestants was named David and I always cheered for people on game shows with my name. He had the first position and the contestant next to him, every time, bet $1 more than him, all six rounds, until finally the guy bidding $1-over actually won. And he ended up winning the whole show btw, including Double Showcase. What a fucking asshole he was. So this contestant played the whole game and never once had the advantage of playing last, and he saw the guy who screwed him over go and win the whole thing.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a stickler for fairness, and I don't think every game show has to be completely fair, but there's a line. Take "Wheel of Fortune" it's incredibly unfair to land on a bankrupt, especially after building up so much money, or maybe playing perfectly the whole game well and you build up a huge lead, but then on the Final Spin, Pat Sajak hits the $5,000 space, and the dumbass contestant on the end lucks out and gets nine G's in the last puzzle and suddenly he lucks into a win, that's not fair. But, that's tension and drama being built and hell, the guy still has to solve the damn puzzle, so there's still some skill needed. And hell, it's "Wheel of Fortune" it says so in the tittle that luck may be involved, that's part of the dynamics of the game. And there's definitely worst game shows than "The Price is Right" when it comes to fairness; I'm looking at you "Merv Griffin's Crosswords", but with just the Contestants' Row, there's a lot of unfair dynamics involved and frankly most of these can easily be fixed or at least alleviated to an extent and in some ways actually improve the game. These parts that are just unfair aren't designs of the game to increase tension or drama, they're just,- they're just unfair.

The game's always been a bit unfair. Before they have the Big Wheel, it used to just be that the two contestants who won the most over the course of the show would be in the showcase showdown, something that's completely unfair because no contestant had an opportunity to win the same thing equally, since they each played for different prizes that cost different amounts each time.


So, now the contestants who make the Showcase Showdown, is based entirely on, luck. Is that really an improvement? I guess it's more fair, in the sense that it's more random, but that's kind of the problem. I mean, you could argue that a spin on the Big Wheel, isn't entirely luck, in that we have seen the show for years and basically know the order of the Big Wheel and we kinda estimate and prepare to try to spin it with a plan and with an attempt to put enough English on a spin to get it, but really that's about as akin to trying to fix a roulette wheel without cheating. Basically this amounts to, the two contestants competing for the big prize at the end, because of luck.

I guess ultimately this is a minor detail, there's certainly worst shows that use luck as a more immediate base, but for a game show that's so centered around a specific knowledgeable skill as known how much things cost, I personally would like to see a better way to decide that. I know to some, it's the most iconic and memorable part of the game, but for me, I think it's an exciting little game usually, I just don't like the luck factor being so prevalent in deciding an ultimate winner.

How does this show get away with all of this so often? Well, honesty, the tone of the show is the big thing. The bright colors, the ecstatic crowd and energy, it's not a serious game show where you can potentially win life-changing amounts of money or something; it's more fun, it's more loose,- I mean, I guess most of these criticisms in that respect are kinda silly. This isn't "... Millionaire" or "Jeopardy!" or anything; it's probably the one show, maybe outside of "Wheel of Fortune" where you're more happy to win a prize than you are money these days, well, that and "Let's Make a Deal", and none of those are designed for extreme levels of intensity.

And to be fair, most of the game isn't the Big Wheel, or even the Contestants' Row, it's the pricing games, and honestly I don't have too many issues with those. Even the ones that are obviously minor and just there because they're running short on time and need to play something quickly; I know nobody likes those games and I don't either, but it's a game and you can win something that's usually nice enough to sell or pawn if nothing else. I mean, sure, they've had an occasional clunker of a game or two over the years, but they've eliminated those.....

Except for one game!


Okay, seriously, somebody has explain to me why "Plinko" which is by far, the single worst pricing game on the "The Price is Right" is the most popular. The game itself doesn't piss me off, necessarily as much as the fact that it is so popular but in general, but this game absolutely pisses me off. You know how I know, it's the absolute worst game? Cause absolutely nobody, has ever actually won at it! Okay, I'll take that back, people win all the time, but nobody that I've ever seen, or you've ever seen, has won the maximum amount possible one can win on the show. Go ahead, look it up; I can't find it on Youtube, and whether it was $25,000 when I was young, or $50,000 or whatever the total is now, it's never happened! There's been an occasional big winner here and there, but actually achieving the advertised goal of $25,000 or $50,000 or hell, just getting all five chips into the highest dollar amount slot, that's never happened; even "The Price is Right" wiki on Plinko confirms this:

Goddamn, everything's got a Wiki don't they? The game's been around for 35 years! I haven't done the entire math on this, but I tweeted that I legitimately think you have a better shot at winning a jackpot while playing on a average slot machine, and as somebody who's lived his whole life in Vegas and knows damn well how hard it actually is to hit a jackpot on a slot machine, that's problematic, to me at least. I certainly don't want games to be too easy or two winnable, but damn-near impossible? I mean, outside of getting the chips to drop down the board by playing a quick pricing game, everything else with this game is basically luck and most of it bad.

Also, while they increase the big value chip to 10,000, they kept the others at the same amouts as always. So it's, 10,000, 0, 100, 500 or 1,000 bucks? C'mon the other values up, you just made the game worst and seem out-of-touch and old. Honestly, I don't even see the point in trying to maybe get a smaller amount just to make sure you win something, which that big a divide, you might as well try to either go broke or win it all. Basically, it is the equivalent of pulling a slot machine lever most of the time. $0, $0, $100, $0 maybe $10,000 on the last pull, if you're lucky, or maybe a five hundred to almost break even if you're playing on a $100 machine. I get how it could be fun, the same way a slot machine is, but this is not a good game and the fact that it's far-and-away the most popular game, just absolutely baffles me. Give me Grand Game or Punch-A-Bunch when it comes to the games where you can win big money amounts, at least until I visually see somebody win the damn thing for real.

So, yeah, that's my big declaration, Plinko sucks. (Sigh) I guess next week I'll talk about Amazon's shifting TV lineup or something more important; I just needed a break, okay?

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