Tuesday, July 8, 2008
The disaster that is Celebrity Family Feud
I'm not sure when it happened, but Tuesday recently became "Crappy television show day." And apparently it happened on my watch, so I would like to issue an apology to all of you. I accidentally stumbled upon Celebrity Feud last night, and since I do enjoy a good episode every now and then, settled in for an hour of mindless entertainment. Unfortunately, I only got one of those two for my time. And I'm certain you can guess which one.
I don't even want to get into the numerous problems with the teams playing. I guess the people were playing "in character." Since I'm not an Earl fan however I can only guess they're really not stupid. And was that Tim Stack paying homage to his Life as a Beach character by wearing a lifeguard jacket, or is that what he does on the show. I was confused, though not enough to do any research.
No, I'd rather spend a little time speaking about the host, Al Roker. Unfortunately, with his inclusion, he will now forever be involved in the Family Feud host discussions you have with your friends (what? You don't have Family Feud host discussions with your friends? Your loss) and no one wanted that, including, seemingly Roker based on his performance last night.
Obviously Dawson is irreplaceable. That's a given. His charm, wit and sideburns ruled that set; there will never be an equal. I'll go to my grave believing Richard Dawson is an American treasure (for both hosting duties on Feud and his Jordanesque run on the Match Game in the 70s). First off, Dawson never looked like he was a game show host...pulling off sharp 3-piece suits of varying colors never seemed forced, or gimmicky. It seemed genuine and normal. That appearance matched his attitude perfectly, so that he came off as though this wasn't just a normal run-of-the-mill game show - this was Family Feud.
After that take your pick. Ray Combs, who some people seem to like (i can't understand why - his performance after Dawson with his very pronounced handshaking with the ladies seemed a sly, subtle insult toward Dawson's swinging orgyfest on the set); Anderson, whosse voice almost sank the show; Richard Karn, who took his acting cues from a cardboard box out back; and John O'Hurley, the guy from Seinfeld who is making his living playing the guy from Seinfeld.
Actually, though he's only been on or a short time, O'Hurley seems to be somewhat comfortable in the role. He brings an element of class and dignity, without losing the humor. His banter with contestants seems genuine and not forced from an producer through an earpiece. Here's an example of how he deals with some questionable answers:
The same cannot be said for Al Roker. Yes, it's true I've only seen the one episode, but he clearly did not seem prepared for anything. Whether or not the cast of Earl should have stayed in character is beside point; Roker didn't know how to react. While it's debatable anyone knew how to take this approach (honestly, it was a trainwreck, with Stack producing the show's only funny moment, overruling his team's answer of Jessica Rabbit for a sexy Jessica, to go with Jessica Tandy. Someone I too had been screaming since first hearing the question), it simply goes to show just how little Roker can ad lib - a skill a game show host should know at least a little something about.
Here is a prime example of how to deal with "difficult" contestants:
So, if you were to ask me to rank hosts, it would look like this:
5. Combs (I really didn't like him)
6. begrudgingly, Roker - though had I ever seen it work, I'm sure the cardboard box that teaches Karn could go here too.
So, unfortunately I can't recommend you watch Celebrity Family Feud. But I won't leave you empty-handed. Enjoy...