Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kyle Analyzes Family Feud This Week

I'm a bit early because of Thanksgiving and Black Friday and whatnot. I'm not shopping, I'm serving you people. And by you people, I mean the people coming to Target in Hattiesburg. Feel free to not come, either.

Anyhow, it's time for another game show to come under my microscope, and this one has cultures of life. Family Feud is one of the longest running game shows around. Oldest goes to $64,000 Question, but that's not important.

The format has fluctuated, but overall stayed almost the same. Apart form the bulls-eye round, the only thing that's changed in game play is the number of round and the score for each round. It was two teams of five, generally of the same bloodline. Each team would send a representative to answer a question and buzz in with the best answer, see, because questions were based on a survey of previous audiences, and the answers were the results. Anyhow, the best answer would earn the team control of the survey and one at a time, the family members would guess an answer they anticipated was on the survey. If they guess an answer not on the survey, they operate under the three strikes rule and the opposing team then got one shot at guessing a remaining answer; if they got it right, they earn the points for the round, but if not, the other team earns them. Eventually, the points double, and then triple. If after the triple round, neither family has earns 300 points, there is a sudden death question where only the number one answer is available. The team that buzzes in with the right answer wins the game.

The winning family then plays Fast Money, two team members are separately asked a rapid succession of five questions. If they earn 200 points, they win $20,000, (Or, in season with Bulls-eye rounds, a rapid succession of five questions before the game begins, however much you earned during that.).

For the most part, this formula works for a game show. It's fun, friendly, often funny, and achievable. The fact that it's remained mostly unchanged for such a period of time stands as a testament to that.

But on to the most important thing, the host. Feud has been hosted by plenty of people over the years, most of which have been good and often have been excellent. I got to watch most of them thanks to them frequently running it on GSN back when it was fresh and innocent. They were: Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, Jonathan Goodson, Louie Anderson, Richard Karn, John O'Hurley, and Steve Harvey.

Richard Dawson, chosen for his popularity on The Match Game, (he really was a great player so long as you didn't ask him about American things.) and he didn't play the game like I find the best hosts did, but he was still charismatic, charming, and a gracious host.

Ray Combs. All aspects of his are Dawson turned down a few dials, but I never minded him so much. He didn't feel like he went through the motions for his paycheck or anything like that. He knew he was there to enliven a game show, so he did.

Goodson and Anderson, I'll be honest, I don't remember so much. GSN can't get ahold of their seasons or something. But Goodson's Wikipedia has him listed as more of a producer and his season lasted a year, so I'll leave that where it is. And I remember my parents asking, "Louie Anderson? Really?" His lasted two years.

Richard Karn, better known for his supporting role on Home Improvement, gets the most air-time with GSN now. I used to not like him simply because he wasn't Richard Dawson. However, as time has passed, I've noticed he does that thing I like, playing the game along with the contestants. He'll put his full confidence in answers and even guess remaining answers once the round is over. He's as welcoming as Dawson, with more energy than Combs. If I had to pick an absolute favorite host, he's my pick. I'm sorry you're gone, Richard, but since you left after seven seasons, I imagine you were ready for something new.

John. O. Hurley. When I saw Spamalot in Vegas, O'Hurley played the role of King Arthur. And it was awesome. Anyhow, he carries a lot of that energy he had from Seinfeld which is way too funny. But while it's kooky and ridiculous, it bears something refined, something classy, something that draws you in. His charisma made the show something I wanted to watch. He's my number two.

Now the show is hosted by Steve Harvey. Really? *exasperated groan* I wish this part would be about the same length as the others, but it's just so easy to accentuate the negative. First and foremost, for a game where words can be incredibly important, you'd think they'd pick a host that spoke and enunciated clearly. Nope. At least once an episode I'll have no idea what he just said. Most of the time it'll just be one word, but a critical word that if misunderstood can alter the question entirely. Secondly, sometimes when the team gives an answer he thinks is funny, he'll go off with it and tangent, leaving the game, the reason I've tuned in, completely ignored. I've seen him tangent for over a minute, which is just astonishing. -Ly bad. And while we're being negative, it's not Harvey's fault, but they are polling some hicks or something because whole surveys are coming out with sloughs of bad answers. I swear they keep it up just to see the look on Harvey's face when "Man's Rod" comes up as an answer. All this and rating are up 40% from when O'Hurley hosted. It's gotta be a crime somewhere.

So it's not as much to say as Lingo drew, but I'm still clearly not happy with our current host of what is an American classic.  This is me wishing I had more to say and that my conclusion was longer.

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