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It Should Have Been Better

September 28, 2014

25 summers ago, before the internet even existed, the talk around television land was about the first attempt to turn PICTIONARY into a kid’s game show.  Articles spoke about Brian Robbins from the hit sitcom HEAD OF THE CLASS, and his excitement about hosting, and how great it was going to be, having the contestants draw on a Tele-Strator.  It sounded promising.

Well, as luck had it, I was home from work recovering from a burned hand, and had the chance to check it out.  Let me sum up my reaction this way.  It was a fascinating train wreck of a show.  Let me start with the positives.  Brian Robbins was very good with the kids, and did as well as could be expected, given the final results.  The set design was appropriately made to look hand drawn.  The main game itself was good too.  Round one had the team’s relaying back and forth to draw words in a category in sixty seconds, team with the most words earned points toward the final score.  Round two was like SUPER PASSWORD in that the teams drew clue words that went up on a board for the rest of the team to look at, and guess the solution.  The final round was a speed round, no topics, just random words for the team’s to buzz in and guess.

Not bad overall, right? Well, here comes the train wreck part.  First was the hostess.  She was nothing more than an air-headed piece of eye candy for the adolescent boys watching at home.  Even when I watched an episode on YouTube, I was at a loss to explain her purpose, other than to point at the clue board, and fill the team’s score meter with beads.  That’s right, they kept score with plastic beads filling a tube.  The hostess was only part of the wreck.  There was also a former professional arm wrestler who was acting as the show’s judge.  His only job, from what I could tell was to explain the rules for each round, and keep track of the number of guessed words in rounds one and three.  He did all this while the audience booed him.  Was this supposed to be funny? It was only tiresome after the first two times.  Brian could have just as easily gone over the rules, and have the totals tallied via displays or captioned on screen.  The judge character was unnecessary.

Then there was the bonus game, which just had to copy DOUBLE DARE in some way, of course.  One member of the team held two pieces of hosing together to allow water to travel to the second person, holding a small pitcher over his or her head.  When the pitcher was full the remaining team member poured the water into a prop that was divided and filled with balls.  The team had ninety seconds to reveal the picture the balls were hiding and identify said picture, by getting the balls to float to the top to the point they could be removed.  If this sounds complicated, it was.  If you think this most likely looked stupid, it did.  Not surprisingly, the show was gone by the end of the summer.  Like I said, it was a fascinating train wreck.  Oh yeah, the think music used in rounds one, two and the bonus game was synthesized cheesy corn-ball, which was just plain annoying, and becomes a musical earwig by show’s end.  It could gave been so much better

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