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The World Doesn't Revolve Around You
July 10

Recently, we got an e-mail that was indicative of many of the problems that diehard fans of The Price is Right have with where the show has gone over the past year. And, well, I love a good rant as much as the next guy. The two main gripes are that the show seems to be ostracizing the “loyal friends” instead of welcoming them with open arms, and that Kathy Greco seems to be doing everything in her power to make sure people win nothing more than their one-bid prize.

Now, I'll be honest. I could have refuted those points in proper form. But because I know my OTB readers are well-adjusted, intelligent and generally good chaps, I'll break it down.

The Price is Right is a game show. I know, big deal, right? The Pope is Catholic and bears do their business in the woods. OK, now that we know that, let's think about things. Game shows, as fun as they are, do not exist to make us happy, or to fulfill our desires, or to cook us a sandwich. They are there to sell advertising time. To do this, they must make the show palatable to as wide an audience as possible. Given the choice of doing something that will make a small group of fans happy but tick off the wider group, or the inverse, the production company is going to placate the masses. Let's face it, we in the fandom are way outnumbered. My guess is that our number is less than five thousand. So if TPIR is seen by five million people a week, we make up one-thousandth of the total viewership. That assumes we're all watching Price, and I know that's not the case.

Perhaps the one thing that changed the show the most this year was Terry Kneiss's perfect showcase bid. I've already written about it. The fact that he was given special assistance by a member of the audience that knew the prices of all of the items ruined the specialness of the event.  But the production crew realized that such a thing could happen again. So we get more things like designer fashions, perfume, and luxury trips that can't be priced as accurately. Anyone with a bit of good sense could see that coming. When your game can be beaten, you make changes to the game so it becomes interesting again. Perhaps the all knowing guy should have said something that ended in -00 instead. You get the DSW, no one is the wiser, and life goes on. But no. He had to be perfect, for whatever reason, and ruined things for the class,

This was a rather roundabout way to get to my point, but the point is there. When you have a group of people with nothing better to do than to memorize prices and ruin the games for everyone else, what are you going to do? I'm going to kick those people out. I'm certainly not going to say “Oh, please, sir, sit right up front where you can see the on-stage player and ply your trade!”. So don't whine to me when you see that your “loyal friends” aren't being treated with the reverence that you mistakenly think they deserve. I don't want to hear it. I just want to guess the price of the light bulbs.

The other complaint was about the seeming abundance of “hard setups” on games that are normally easier. Well, guess what, guys? Game shows have budgets. They have a fixed amount of money that they can spend on cars, trips, refrigerators and whatnot. And that money can't run out. Now, when you start to offer luxury cars, increase the amount of money on the Punch Board and the wheel, and offer $5,000 items in the one-bid portion, you're going to use up that prize budget faster than otherwise. So that means one of two things happen: you either roll back the value of the prizes, or you make them harder to win. And they're not going to roll back the prize value. So get used to seeing things that you didn't see before.

I would like to take time out from my sandbox to say this: it is absurd to say “impossible to win,” or “set-up to win.” Any game can be won if you know your prices. But if you blindly follow an “inside trick,” don't cry when it fails.  Honestly, I like the idea that a car is hard to win. It's expensive. It shouldn't be a cake walk. The name of the show is The Price is Right. It should be about pricing items and not knowing what the producers are going to do.

Sure, the show has hit a rough patch this year. There's no denying it. But it's not as bad as all that. If you look at the show as an hour of entertainment, you won't be disappointed. If you wring your hands over your LfaTs and your “broken Fingers” and all that other Inside Baseball stuff that makes you feel special because you're part of some group, well, then you're going to have a problem. And make no mistake, you're the one with the problem. And make no mistake. It's your problem.

Travis Eberle has no problem with your e-mails at Just make sure it's civil, alright?