NBC is trying to bring a little '70s game show flair into the modern era with "Hollywood Game Night," where celebrities and regular folk play party games for cash. The premiere features Jane Lynch hosting a third of the "Friends" and stars from "Buffy," "Lost," and "Veronica Mars" with Martin Short as Charles Nelson Reilly.
Of course, this could be a recipe for disaster. When a non-celebrity walks by somebody famous, their first instinct is to jump up and down and scream. What you may not know is celebrities feel the same way. So they go to the only socially acceptable place to freak out: a game show. So putting all those people together on a game show? This could be the most epic of all meltdowns.
Of course, Kristen Bell is far from the first celeb to lose it on camera...
Neil Patrick Harris is one cool customer. But even the unflappable Barney Stinson will lose it a little under the pressure cooker that is "The Price Is Right".
It may be a while before Paula Deen is invited back on a game show. So you'll have to be satisfied with watching this picture of her spreading her wings, imitating Batman or perhaps Dracula, or possibly even Steve Carell from "Despicable Me."
It is a well-known fact among anthropologists that genteel Southern women will balloon up to twice their normal size when they feel threatened or are asked questions about feminine hygiene on national television.
Carol Burnett of the "The Carol Burnett Show" is getting schooled by Jason Alexander of "Seinfeld" and, like so many celebrity "Jeopardy!" guests before her, blames her buzzer. But, at long last, victory! She goes on to win the game, proving once and for all what the greatest sitcom of all time was (just kidding — it's "NewsRadio").
And then there's Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Sixteen-year-old Joseph Gordon Levitt. You might remember him as the hard-bitten gangster from "Looper" or the tight-lipped tough guy from "Inception." Now you'll remember him as the long-haired kid you knew from chess club in high school who is probably on his fifth Mountain Dew and second straight day of no sleep.
But these are a little tame. Game shows aren't what they used to be. And what they used to be were booze-fueled, innuendo-laden frat parties that appear to have generated as many unfit-for-broadcast moments as those that they managed to get on air.
Take, for example, this clip of a young Richard Dawson, longtime host of "Family Feud" and hands down the best thing about Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Running Man." Like JGL above, he's running on cigarettes and no sleep. He had just done a telethon earlier, so he can be forgiven for taking the game a little too seriously and bargaining with the producers a little too hard for one point in a game that's really just an excuse for comedians and Z-list actors to clown around.
Watch as his fury slowly builds to the point where host Gene Rayburn's fear of a walkout morphs into a fear of his obituary reading, "Strangled by some nutjob in a turtleneck."
Hey, remember when it was OK to be racist on TV? Oh, Buddy Hackett, we can't stay mad at you! Maybe it's something about the eyes? Paula Deen, you could learn a thing or two from this man.
Jack Klugman of "The Odd Couple" and "Quincy, M.E." here terrorizes the set of "Match Game PM" like it is Tokyo and he's Godzilla at a three (hundred)-martini lunch. Watch the whole clip if you want to hear the mating call of the North American Bleached-Blonde Chickadee in the audience.
Betty White fetishists rejoice: In the '70s, she was the gray-haired equivalent of one of those women from a Carl's Jr. commercial who gets waaaaay too into her hamburger.
William Shatner, that paragon of gravitas (in recent years, quite literally "weightiness" — opting, it seems, for the Orson Welles approach to aging), captain of starships, and T.J. of Hookers, was actually quite the spry young thing in his day. He could "get down," as the kids would say. He could "shake what his mama gave him," he could "get jiggy with it," he could "twer…" — OK, he can't twerk. And nobody would want to see that even if he could.
We curse reality stars today because they're undeserving celebrities — they have no accomplishments to speak of outside of impromptu acting like a buffoon in front of the camera.
The fact is, that's nothing new. Back in the day, there were people who appeared on talk and game shows simply because they were interesting — they had no real credits. It seems like they were bred simply to spout witty, tart, or borderline-offensive jokes, then fade back into the scenery.
Introducing Ms. Brett Somers. Her credits include being married to Jack Klugman (see "drunk Godzilla" above) and a panelist on "Match Game." That being said, there are worse things to build a career out of than having an infectious laugh.
You could have a career as a polka dancer.
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