Everything You Need To Know: Best Game Shows Ever

by Rachelle Hruska · September 23, 2008

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovp2MByMa7c[/youtube] [What Would You Do?]

On becoming a "real adult", (or something like that), one of the most obvious realizations I've had is that I watched entirely too much Television as a child. Blame it on lazy summer babysitters and living in the middle of nowhere; alas my sister and I often play the "if mom and dad only KNEW" game in which our parents would find out a whole wealth of knowledge (like how I learned about condoms from watching MTV when I was SEVEN, and how Sinead O'Connor inspired me to want to buzz my hair when I grew up).  We try not to talk about this stuff so as to not make them feel like they failed us, which, if you knew Mr. and Mrs. Hruska would be impossible.

I often remind myself that there are actual college courses based around the pop culture of the 80's and even 90's.  Instead of lamenting in what would otherwise would be a total waste of time, I can remind myself that at least I wasn't the asshole that paid $10k to learn these obvious essentials. And talk about waste, my favorites were often the GAME SHOWS, and not even the educational ones. Oh no, I chose the ones where little to no mental strain was involved.  "Press your Luck" was a favorite as was "Supermarket Sweep" and "Double Dare." I may not have known who Chopin was, but I could out-slime the best of them.

I started realizing how odd it was that I could name almost every American game show of the late 80s-90s at a dinner party awhile back when no one at my table had heard of "Press Your Luck".  They were the types that had "nannies" (note: not "babysitters"), and tutors.  They played the cello and had holidays overseas.  They used chopsticks when they were in 2nd grade, and spoke at least 3 languages, one of them being Latin (I suppose they only wrote this one).  And, though it would be hard for their overly polite New York bred selves to admit out loud, they hated that I was their contemporary, sitting at their very table on a Tuesday night in Nolita, screaming out "NO WHAMMIES!"  And such is life....

Where was I? Oh Game Shows.  I'm an expert.  And, because I've had Nickelodeon's tune for "What Would You Do?" stuck in my head all night long (it's currently 3:32am), I will share some of my favorite game shows from my youth.  These are in no particular order (I debated on using a numbered system for some time but realized it was too difficult).  I have included a YouTube episode of each game if you click on the titles.

Supermarket Sweep: Not to be compared to "Super Market Sweep" which involved contestants guessing certain items and then running at end to find them, Supermarket Sweep was the one where there was a timer and your goal was to grab the highest total dollar amount of items.  I would get so frustrated at the teams, "Go for the formula and alcohol! FORMULA AND ALCOHOL!"  What were they idiots????

Singled Out: Aka "The I am Jenny McCarthy, and you will remember me god dammit! show" Talk about a show where no thought was required, the "keep 'em" or "dump 'em" rounds were pretty hilarious though.  Most of the time the 50 contestants vying for affection were better looking than the ONE player making the decision.  We loved this show so much that we didn't mind watching episodes where we knew the outcome.

The Price is Right: I watched this show in the summer because it came on at 11:00am.  This was just right around the time I was waking up as an early teen and just before we started motivating to hit the pool.  Also, it would be a injustice to my aunt Rita, who video taped every episode from 1999 onward daily on VHS, to NOT include this show, albeit an obvious one, in my list.

Let's Make A Deal: True, I was too young for the live version, but syndicate suited me.  In fact, I often took notes during the shows...inspiration for my future Halloween costumes.

Family Double Dare: I enjoyed the family version better than the standard because I thought it was just great seeing family's bond over slime.  Seriously, talk about the opposite of needing a family therapist, these families were always cheerleaders for each other, the backbones of our country.  "Why can't you love each other more like the Donaldson's do from last nights Double Dare?"(TGIF duh!)...my parent's would ask us each Saturday morning while we fought over watching Pee Wee's playhouse or Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Win, Lose or Draw: I started watching this after we bought the rudimentary, though groundbreaking at the time, computer game bearing the same name.  The show sucked, as did the computer game.  I was completely addicted to both.

What Would You Do? I honestly have no idea what this game show entailed, I just know that I have had the theme song stuck in my head for a good hour.  I should note, that Marc Summers (of Double Dare fame, among others) was the host.

Press Your Luck: I have and will continue to use the phrase "NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES! NO WHAMMIES!" throughout my life.  I can tell a lot about a person by their reaction to this phrase.

Name That Tune: I could rarely name the tunes, but I liked watching contestants try.

Hollywood Squares: I think this show may have actually had a resurrection.  That, or I just dreamt seeing it on my menu guide the other day.  In any event, this show was actually quite boring.  The questions were pretty lame, and I think Whoopi Goldberg was on every single show, but, depending on who was guest appearing, you could be in for some fun.

And there you have it.  My favorite game shows from my youth. Today I don't get much "Gaming" in.  I do find myself enjoying "Cash Cab" every now and then, even after I found out it was a completely fake version of reality, the shows being taped before hand, etc., which doesn't bother me in the slightest.

I have come to the decision that my knowledge of game shows (I'm just touching the tip of the iceberg tonight) is actually pretty useful.  Who knows when I will be called on to replicate a Double Dare Obstacle Course or recall the price of Crest in 1996? The best thing about this is that as time passes, my knowledge only becomes more valuable.  I will be at a dinner party in 2053 (yeah I plan on hanging around for a bit), and the death of Jenny McCarthy will come up as a topic of conversation.  Most will commemorate her good deeds and the work she did in finding the CURE for AUTISM.  When someone asks about that "television show she started out hosting" I will shout out "Singled Out!" with fervent pride, and just seconds before their automated techie gadgets get to the answer....and it will all have been worth it.