I remember when I was a nipper, game shows just seemed like pure, unadulterated fun, with lots of great prizes for everyone. However, as I got older, and more cynical, I realized that they weren’t quite as caring and sharing as I first thought. Audience participation using premium rate phone numbers tended to pay for all the prizes 17 times over, and/or the contestants were deliberately chosen out of a stock of the most retarded people they could find, just to keep winnings down.
For example, the crystal maze. This was a game show in which contestants went around a strange world, and tried to complete timed challenges in exchange for crystals. Each crystal was worth 5 seconds in the crystal dome, and if they were still in the challenge room when the timer ran out, they got locked in. The price of freedom was one crystal. At the end of game, the players all went into the crystal dome and tried to collect as many gold tokens as they could. If they got more than a certain number, they won a prize.
Sounds great, doesn’t it. They have Richard O’Brien from the Rocky Horror picture show hosting it. Cool beans. Except that the contestants were so utterly dumb that in my time of watching it, I never saw anyone win a prize. Watching 6 idiots jumping around inside a dome for 10 seconds and then win nothing every week got a bit depressing, truth be told. The sets weren’t very expensive. O’Brien’s fee probably wasn’t a great deal, so the producers were laughing. Cheap TV at it’s very best. I remember one episode of classic British comedy The Mary Whitehouse Experience including a rather fine parody along the lines of:
- Richard O’Brien: Hello Team. Shall we play another game?
- Team: Yes!
- Richard O’Brien: What kind of game? An incredibly easy game?
- Team: Yes!
- Richard O’Brien: Ok, this is the Making a cup of tea game. You have 2 and a half minutes, starting from now.
- Witless team member: [Enters room]
- Witless team member: I don’t know what to do!
- Other team member: Try putting the cup inside the teapot!
- Witless team member: Ummmm, ur….
And so it went on.
Another great parody of the Crystal maze was done by Adam and Joe from the Adam and Joe show, another fantastic late night cult UK comedy. Find it here.
So, I’d like to hear about fuckwitted game shows from other countries. What were the classic best and the worst ones from your country?