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with Chris Wolvie
Kids Say The Most Damning Things
March 2
It's the exciting new game show where brothers and sisters tell it like it is! There's no telling what they're gonna say or how much their gonna win! All we know for sure is that they're gonna tell it all today on...

AIR DATES: September 12, 1987 to March 8, 1988
CREATOR: Ellen Levy, Haim Saban
HOST: Laurie Faso


We all know the "Newlywed Game", right? The show that made "makin' whoopie" more than just a jazz tune? Well, who says that newlywed couples are the ONLY ones who are close but don't know each other that well? As one of five siblings, I always had trouble relating to my brothers and my sister. And THAT was what NBC and the guy who brought us "Power Rangers" were counting on for a Saturday morning show that was a break from the usual cartoon cavalcade. "I'm Telling!" is, at its bare bones, the "Newlywed Game" for young siblings, a chance to see if you know your brother/sister as much as you THINK you do. And, of course, the winners get toys at the end. Who knew that ending sibling rivalry could stuff your toy box to overflowing?

Three teams of two siblings each compete. It is typically a brother-sister team, though one show had teams of two brothers each and another had teams of two sisters each. For the purposes of this recap, though, we'll assume bro-sis teams.

In the first round, the brothers are "teleported to the Isolation Zone" (that is, directed to an isolation booth while SFX and editing makes it LOOK like they're "teleported") where they can't see or hear the answers. Each sister picks a pun-laden category at random by hitting a plunger. The host then asks a question vaguely based on the category and each sister must answer the question in a way they think their brother will answer. Once three categories are played by all three sisters, the brothers are brought back and asked the same questions. If the brother's answer matches the sister's from earlier, they earn points: 25 for the first, 50 for the second and 75 for the third. If they don't match, a few seconds are given for the siblings to argue to the hilarity of the audience

The second round is played exactly like the first, save that the sisters are in the "Iso-Zone" and the brothers are picking categories and answering the questions the way they think their sisters will answer. Matched answers in this round are worth 50, 75 and 150 points.

The team with the most points at the end of the second round wins the game, a $1000 savings bond and advances to the bonus round. In case of a tie for first, a large jar (called the "I'm Telling! Fun Box") filled with a certain item is brought out. Before the show, each team was asked how many of the item was in the Fun Box. The closest to the actual number without going over wins the game.

The entire set spins around to show twenty toys along an inclined path. Ten are toys for boys on yellow pedastals, ten for girls on pink pedastals. Before the show, the siblings looked over the toys and each chose six that they thought their sibling would like most. Each sibling gets one pass down the path. If they see a toy they really want, they hit a buzzer in front of it. If it lights up and a siren sounds, that was one of the toys the sibling picked and they win that toy. If they pass a toy, they cannot go back to it. Each sibling picks six toys.

After both siblings have a go down the path, they win every toy that lit up the flashing light (minimum of four). However, if they are able to light up ten lights, they win ALL twenty toys.

I gotta say, it was a rather cute direction to take "Newlywed Game". Anyone who has siblings knows they're hard to read sometimes. And the questions thrown at them are not softballs; I mean, "Which part of your sister's body is, in your opinion, too big?" and "Which of the Seven Dwarfs describes your brother in the morning?" It's a LOT like NG...only a bit safer than PG.

The set was small but functional. Having the entire game, bonus stage and all, on one rotating set is practical. And I liked the set-up of the "Arcade"; the toys lining the path gave easy access to the kids slamming those buttons.

Laurie Faso LOOKED like a kids' game show host. From the afro to the big glasses to the almost-ridiculous suits, he looked like he could've fit in on any Nickelodeon show of the day.

And, just like NG, half the fun was watching the siblings argue when they're answers didn't match. Only downside was that they didn't have cards to swat the sibling with. Hey, who HASN'T wanted to do that to their sibling on national television, am I right?


While the whole "Iso-Zone" trick was for the kids, I thought it was a little cheesy. Then again, I was a teen when this was on so what do I know from what kids thought was cool back then?

The whole category-choosing is a bit pointless, if you ask me. It's just padding and you don't know what it has to do with the question. They could've cut each episode by a minute or two by just asking the questions. Hey, one or two more minutes of arguing would've been cool.


Hmmm...I dunno. MAYBE on the Hub or even Freeform? But, then again, siblings are MUCH more connected these days, with Facebook, Twitter, texting and what not. With elementary students typing out 140 characters in a flash to say what's going on with them, having a game like this might not be a good idea; it's possible EVERY will get the maximum points. (Not to mention they can secretly text their choices of toys to the other.) So it's not very likely to work...but I think it'd be fun to try.

NEXT TIME: The Great Game Show Rivalry of 2002, part 1

Chris Wolvie HATED being told on by his brothers!
Follow him on Twitter @ChrisWolvie and e-mail him at