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Strategies and Fixes – Part 3 - December 22

It is I, Dr. Pepper, who will don the papaya cap one more time as we look into NBC's latest show - Identity. Fortunately, this show is much more enjoyable than Show Me The Money (and ABC finally realized this by killing off the trivia retread that not even FOX would throw money at). However, it could use some work - and here's the work that's recommended...

1. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz..... pacing, pacing, pacing. While watching Penn Jiilette start the intro on the reveal, I went to the bathroom, used the facilities, came back - and still returned before the identity was revealed. I kid you not. This is WAY too slow on the pacing.

2. Penn Jillette - I actually like him as a host, and I think that he makes the show work. That being said, he is part of the problem on why the pacing is that slow. This show can comfortably fit in two contestants, and not make it a drag out fest that 2 of the five shows were.

3. Interaction - Arguably, the best show of the five was the last one (yes, it was better than the guy who actually won the $500,000). Reason? Penn got to interact with the Identities and they gave out clues to the player. This show desperately needs more of that sort of play to make both the players and show human.

4. Cut Off - All or Nothing is always a fun little concept - but in a game like this, all it serves is a motivator for people to stop without getting into the meat and potatoes of the game. There should be a cutoff where you are guaranteed money for getting a certain amount correct (say $25,000 for 6 right). That will allow the contestants to play on and let us actually see more of an end game.

5. Bad Lifelines - I have never seen a show where the Lifelines become less important as the game goes on or ones that become revoked at the end of the game on a studio show (Before you all write me, Survivor and The Apprentice, where the Idol/Exemption goes bye-bye in the finals, is NOT a studio show). This show does. I can live with the one-mistake Lifeline, but you should be rewarded if you go all the way without using it - just like in Super Millionaire, where
you can use the 50/50 and Double Dip combo to automatically get a question right if you get up that far. Ask the Experts is almost completely useless and Tri-dentity is just as bad when you get down to the last 5 or less. What should be there instead? Poll the audience (who probably know more about the cultural identities than you do) and Poll the identities, where the person has 30 seconds to ask one person questions. Both of these would be more useful than
what's there now.

Unlike Show Me The Money, there is strategy to this game. Here are some hints on how to play and beat the game when it comes back in 2007.

1. The wording of the identities may be tricky, but the clothing and poses aren't. You should be able to logically knock off 3 or 4 identities off the bat (like Asian clothing for someone who is born in Japan, an old person for 75 years old, etc.) However, always keep someone in play that you know is right. This will be explained later...

2. Tri-Dentity - This should be the first Lifeline used, and it should be used early. When you have many people, select an identity that you have already narrowed down. Usually, the Tri-Dentity (which according to Penn, is random) will knock out one or two primary choices and will leave the person that you thought all along. It's much more effective when there's 10 left and you can knock out seven and leave three, than having five left and knocking out two to leave three.

3. Ask the Experts - Conversely, this one should be used as late in the game as possible. Why? because not only do you knock out choices, but you also give the experts enough time to study the people left and they should be able to pick out identities much quicker.

4. Mistaken Identity - Two strategies on using the Mistaken Identity. If you make the one mistake and you don't think you can successfully clear the board, then use the one choice that you know is correct that you've been holding out on and bail. However, let's just say that you are down to three choices and you still have the mistake. Is there one choice that you are not sure of? Now is the time to go after the hard choice because you can still make the mistake, which you can't do once there are two people left.

5. The End Game - Did you do what I told you to? If you did, then the last two people should be very easy to figure out, because you'll either have someone that's obvious at the end or you'll have two very different people who's identities should be easy to ascertain. Either way, the money is yours.

This game does have an identity, but if you knock out the obvious people and use your strategy to eliminate the tough ones you can decipher the game to the tune of $500,000. Hopefully, this will help your wallet find an Identity.

Meanwhile, get some Identities on these three pricing games...

Dice Game - Obviously, the numbers of the cars are between 1 and 6. If the first number is a 1, the car is 15,000 or 16,000, while if the first number is a 2, the car is 21,000 or 22,000. The last number is usually a 5, and keep in mind that there will either be a 1 or a 6 in the third or fourth digit.

Double Prices - Look for a price that ends in 95 or 0.

Easy as 1-2-3 - The prizes usually are one luxurious item (most expensive), one dinette set or common item (middle prize) and a small kitchen or entertainment aid (least expensive). This is one of the easier order games to win.

If Gordon Pepper is in the gallery, and one of the Identities is "Game Show Webmaster", "Bowling Alley Inspector", or "Born in Brooklyn", get him out of the way early. E-mail him at


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