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:

1. Dawson
2. O'Hurley
3. Anderson
4. Karn
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...


Cline said...


Yeah, it's pretty bad.

1. I miss the answers that would physically rotate rotating answers. Not everything digital is better.

2. Is there a clip of NBA Players vs. NBA Dads? I picture Joe Bryant and 4 empty microphones.

3. Wolf was better at winging it than Roker. Titan could be his sidekick/announcer.

4. I checked IMDB and apparently Stack (aka "The Pride of Doylestown") is playing himself on Earl. I miss Night Stand

5. Didn't this show win a bunch of Emmys? How did they agree to do this show IN CHARACTER? The Office sent their B-Team and they went as themselves.

This has to be a collective career low point for Lee, Suplee, & Pressley. And these are people with Alving & the Chipmunks, Mr. Woodcock, and an appearance on Stern where she said that he looked like he was "slapped a yarmulke", respectively.

6. I'm sure the charities that these teams were playing for just loved all the fake, jokey answers.

7. Anyone else add Kate Flannery to your "Nottie" list? Um, yeah, I totally didn't either.


Goose said...

7. I think Kate would make both our lists then. Although, she doesn't beat out the brunette Gladiator. Jebus.

Lee's a scientologist, so I have no sympathy. Maybe if he still played Brody, but not anymore.

It was a sad state of affairs last night. Enough to probably make Dawson roll oever in his grave when he does die (not that I'm looking forward to that day).

Unknown said...

There's a good solution to this type of dilemma: turn your TV off and throw it out the window. I wonder sometimes that it's the root reason why we've turned into a nation of zombies who don't even care what's being done to us.

Goose said...

I see you didn't read this post:


expanding on some of the more insightful things television can bring up.

Bull Schmitt said...

You're leaving out Ricki Lake, from the final episode of "Gameshow Marathon". She was capable, which even for hosting just one episode has to put her ahead of Roker. I thought Ray Combs did a decent job, I look at it as something like a Doctor Who regeneration - you almost have to follow a long-time host with close to opposite traits, to avoid comparisons the new guy will never win.

O'Hurley is a clear #2 on the all-time rankings, but if he followed Dawson directly, people would have viewed him more of a rip-off.

1 - Dawson
2 - O'Hurley
3 - Bill Cullen (no, he never hosted Feud, but he gets this spot for being so awesome he couldn't possibly finish any lower if he had hosted the show)
4 - Combs
5 - Karn (it worked, but he was as out of place here as Donny Osmond hosting "Pyramid")
6 - Anderson (that voice was fingernails-on-the-chalkboard bad)
7 - Ricki Lake (would almost certainly move up if she was given an actual shot at it)
8 - Roker (Willard Scott was unavailable? Gene Shalit??)

Goose said...

I understand what COmbs was going for, but I just think he was too smarmy.

And seriously, Al Roker is an insult to all true Feud fans. I wish the producers of these shows would understand it takes more than a name to fill a post - it takes talent as well.