Thursday, July 21, 2011

Worthless Garbage Brain Drain

I have three things to look at today. First, Nickelodeon premiered Family Brain Surge on Monday, with Jeff Sutphen still around as host. Honestly, not too much has changed. Each episode features five families (one parent and one kid on stage, plus two additional family members in the audience).  In a pleasant surprise, the families are referred to by their actual last names (I was fully expecting disastrous team names in the vein of Hole In The Wall). The game is pretty much what we're used to, but somehow feels a bit sped up; round one only has four puzzles (worth ten, twenty-five, fifty, and one hundred points), after which the family with the lowest score goes to the Brain Drain. The biggest change is that in round two, each family has one opportunity to shout "Brain Fart!" and enlist the help of their Brain Trust (the other two family members in the audience). Everything else is the same, meaning you do have to wonder why Nickelodeon felt the need to shake up the show like this, but look at it this way - it beats My Family's Got GUTS.

Moving to It's Worth What...hoo boy...
A spectacularly grating Cedric The Entertainer welcomes a team of two contestants to a set that vaguely resembles a warehouse, but also has all the usual chasing lights and such. They are there to play a series of seven pricing games...all right, they don't call them that, but it's pretty clear that the games on The Price Is Right are the inspiration here, all the way down to each game having a punny name. Thankfully, there isn't a straight money ladder; rather, each game won adds money to the team's bank. The first two games are worth $5,000 each, the next two $10,000 each, the two after that $20,000 each, and the seventh game is worth $30,000. If, after seven games, the team has any money in their bank, they can risk it all on one final game which, if won, multiplies their bank by ten. If you do the math, you'll find that the maximum prize is of course $1,000,000.

The games admittedly aren't that bad, all revolving around pricing bizarre collectible items (Miss USA's crown! A centuries-old tapestry! Various animals!). Indeed, beyond being a big money primetime game show that looks, sounds, and is just like every other big money primetime game show, there's nothing wrong with It's Worth What...expect the host.

I'll make this clear: Cedric The Entertainer is among the worst game show hosts I have ever seen - certainly the worst of the current crop of washed-up comedians hosting game shows. He's the most obnoxious, grating game show host this side of Phil Moore. With every costume change, every bit of likely scripted patter, every half-hearted repetition of the show's title ("It's Worth WHAAAT?") he just got worse. Halfway through the show I was begging for it to be over - and it was to be rid of Cedric, not the game. I'm sorry if I'm being too harsh, but if this show had a better host, it would at least be mediocre. As it stands...worthless.

Finally, I thought I should let you know that I have entered the "Create An Induction" contest on Game Show Garbage (a very funny website commemorating the worst moments in game shows). The judges for said contest are Game Show Garbage creator Robert Seidelman and writers Jim Williams and Carl Chenier. The top three submissions will win prizes and be posted on the site in August. If I win, I'll let you know; if I don't win, I'll post what I wrote here so it won't go to waste.

Back next week,


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