The Land Down Underrated
If you have one of those character calendars that tells
you how the rest of the world celebrates any holiday
they could think of (mine is of Get Fuzzy, but that's
another story for another time), then you know that last
Monday was Anzac Day. The governments of Australia and
New Zealand created the holiday to honor the group for
whom it was named: the Australia-New Zealand Army Corps.
And since we're all about a global community here at the
Newsnet, I thought that this would be a perfect time to
celebrate a part of the game show world that doesn't
really get the respect it deserves.
Yep. This one's a shout to our friends down under.
You've given so much to the world and have asked for so
little in return. After all, you did give us the whimsy
of "Who Dares Wins", "It's Your Chance of a Lifetime",
and "The Complex".
Okay, so two of those are bad examples. After all, "It's
Your Chance of a Lifetime" was received as a blatant
attempt to copy the success of "Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire", and "The Complex" was one of those "gee,
it sounds like it could work on paper" concepts that not
even the infusion of a certain acerbic music exec's
brother could save the UK version from swift and certain
doom. And let's not even get started on the casting
issues faced with the stateside flavor that couldn't
have been given the axe quick
But somehow, you guys made it work. And we couldn't. But
let's concentrate on what they did offer to the genre
that DID work on a worldwide basis.
We all know "$ale of the Century," if only for the fact
that a) it had so many bonus games that the flavor grew
stale, and b) like "Press Your Luck", it reran ad
infinitum on the USA Network. But eventually with the
crash of the 90s, it was gone save for the memories. And
while we here in the States are suffering from
withdrawal symptoms related to cash cards and instant
bargains, our friends down under were cranking out new
episodes like nobody's business. Even as the game show
as we know it was reborn throughout the world in the
late 1990s, the format for the Australian $ale stayed
true to form, except for getting a bigger, badder budget
to match the one off "$ale of the New Century" season.
And now it returns anew under its original name,
"Temptation". A rose by any other name, folks... But as
we gauge the success of this version, it stands to
reason that US programmers should give the format
Another overlooked Australian gem was actually a gift we
gave in the late 1970s. "Wheel of Fortune" was in
trouble in its early stages, but our Aussie buddies knew
better. They took it in and gave the Wheel a new spin.
What hath that move wrought? Only the longest-running
version of the show outside the US.
I'm not saying that their staying power is in any way
attributed to ours, but in this world... could be.
And they're still going at it, just like we're still
going at it, only they tend to induce a little more
flair to their execution. I've said once before that
with all the colors and the garish graphics cues that
we've adopted over the years we tend to "out-Australian
the Australians", but this is just a reminder that if
you stick with something long enough, then your patience
will be well rewarded. Something we would eventually
learn... in syndication.
And then there came a game that just happened to tape in
Australia for American television, the second season of
"Survivor" -- which, by the way, just came out on DVD --
which still stands as the most-watched season outside of
the All-Stars season. Not only did they stay an extra
round in the Outback, but we also were introduced to
one-half of the showmance that dared not speak its
name... Amber Brkich.
And where else can you see kids playing "Now You See
It"? Where else can an Idol take the stage at the
world-famous Opera House? Where else can you see a
tricked-out opening to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire",
complete with a Strachan-gone-mad guitar-remixed theme?
But save for one page (we've provided the link), no love
for the boys from Oz. No love for Noeline and Ugly Dave
on Blankety Blanks (that's Match Game to us Yanks). No
love for Reg Grundy and his production house. No love
for Mike Whitney and his pocketful of dares. No love for
Cornelia Frances, who is probably scarier looking than
Anne or George. No love whatsoever.
Well, guess what, you're getting love from me this week.
Thank you, Australia. Thank you for caring enough.
Now if you can only get ABC
to give "Deal or No Deal" another try...
On the web: Australian Game Show Page
Okay, Gordon, it's all
Well, that was
surprising, wasnt it?
Its amazing what a day makes. Last week, everyone was
penciling in Constantine to be in the finals I
certainly was. Jason Elliot was. Then, Tuesday night
happened, and that set the stage for this
OUT of the competition!
Remember my first column? Lets go back to it
This is when the chaos theory happens when one person
who everyone thinks is safe gets the boot because either
they put up such a lackluster performance that they are
forgotten about or they are just an 'ok' person that
people assume are safe and don't vote for them.
Tuesday happened, and I knew that the chaos theory was
going to happen. Clearly, Scott was going to be safe,
because everyone knew he was going to be in trouble and
Simon told him to pack his bags. Heck, he even had help
NO ONE had their A game on and any of them could have
been in trouble. I figured that everyone would forget
about Anthony and a pop person was leaving. I was sort
I picked the wrong pop star.
So what does this mean now?
Lets look back, and then look forward
Again, let's go back to last week
you are out - If there's a Madonna week, you select
Brian's version of "Like a Virgin."
Well, there was no doubt that there were MANY Edgar
Novas out there last week, and not only were you one of
them, according to some of the staff here, you were the
worst of them. I thought Scott was worse, but I knew he
was being saved. I also thought Vonzell was worse, and
she was right there with you in the bottom. The funny
thing is that your strategy was actually good (get into
rock) and the song selection was good (a song that
people knew and that girls could dig). If you did
Wednesdays performance of that song on Tuesday, Im not
writing this paragraph on you and Im writing it about
the person who I predicted to begin with Anthony
Fedorov, as he was right there with you. The difference?
He actually sang well enough to save himself, and
instead of your normal singing/croon style (which could
actually work with this sort ! of song), you gave us a
medley of kicks, screaming and really sharp notes (and
as Ill say again, What? Was? That?). Add to the fact
that everyone thought you were safe, and bingo, we have
our latest Chaos Theory loser! Your bread and butter is
actually the crooning style, so if youre using the hard
rock edge for you to make money, then let us all Pray
for the Soul of Constantine.
So who does this help?
you are safe If there is anyone who benefits from
this, its you. Remember when I said that you had to
diversify to get out of the final 5? Not anymore, you
dont. You know have the rock vote all tied up, and with
the departure of Constantine, you have no more natural
predators and you will benefit by getting part of his
audience. Its time to do some country and try to erode
some of Carries base. You are all but cemented in the
Why you are in trouble -
unless you pull a Constantine.
Theres only 5 people left. NO ONE can afford a rotten
performance (maybe Carrie can), but even more
importantly, NO ONE can afford a safe, flat performance.
You did that once already and it placed you in the
Why you are out You sing flat, uninspired, and give
more people a reason to vote for Carrie Underwood.
you are safe Why are you so far up here? You actually
sang the best on Tuesday, and that saved you. Your fans
also know that you are once again in trouble, so they
will be out in full force. In addition, you catch a HUGE
break, because there's only one male poppy person left
that the screaming girlies can vote for and that's
you. THIS week for you is critical, because a monster
performance by you will give you the top three spot that
was reserved for Constantine.
Why you are in trouble A rotten effort, however, means
that you will be immediately joining him in the suck
pond. You are still in the bottom 2, and you only got
saved because Constantine did his best impression of a
Rockette. You HAVE to produce, or you will let Scott
Savol escape again.
Why you are out You perform so badly that even Scott
outsings you and Constantines fans all migrate to Bo
instead of you.
you are safe Hi, Im Carrie. I just watched my biggest
rival go down in flames and since I am the one who has
been the most diverse, I am the person to beat. People
love the blonde country girlies and I can sing pop and
Why you are in trouble Make that FOUR straight songs
that you have mangled (though at least this one you sang
so incomprehensible that we didnt know if you truly
mangled it or not). Sooner or later, the audience is
going to get tired of this. Also, watch out for the
suddenly speeding Bo Bice in your rear view mirror, and
you havent been in the bottom yet. You wont be next
week, but the final four has always been a very
dangerous place for the front-runner
Why you are out You come out flat, mangle the lyrics,
Bo outsings you hands down and everyone else gets more
votes because the audience knows that they are in danger
but they think that you dont need their vote and you
didnt earn it you earned a spot to leave, instead.
you are safe 1. Nickelbacks How You Remind Me
performed by Constantine Maroulis. 2. You actually had a
fan base that supported you, despite that Christina
Aguilera mess that you graced us with.
Why you are in trouble That was easily your worst
performance ever. You got away with it. You can't do it
any more certainly not now, because this week, its
going to be you and Scott at the bottom. Neither you nor
Scott will be getting Constantines vote, so you better
sing like its your last song
Why you are out Scott outsings you and we get another
song where you forget the lines, sing out of tune, or
you are safe - I knew you would be safe. You got Anwars
vote, plus you do have an underdog-likeability factor
and people want to see you win because you are the
Anti-Idol of sorts.
Why you are in trouble What usually happens after a
Chaos Theory upset? Order promptly returns and the
person who has been the cause of the chaos to begin with
is promptly ousted. That, my friend, is you. The only
saving grace every week, someone has been nice enough
to suck royally bad and save your hide. Could it happen
for a 5th straight time? Since no one (save Anthony)
sung very well, anything is possible
Why you are out -
but its not going to be possible
here, as all of them rebound except you.
So my thoughts are that BARRING A FIFTH STRAIGHT SINGING
DISASTER, its time for Scott to get off the roller
coaster. But there will probably be someone that screws
it up, and if there is, my vote goes straight to Vonzell.
Well see who has their last ride on the Wheel of Idol
Chico Alexander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gordon Pepper can be reached at email@example.com.