For someone who loves game-shows, trivia, and puzzles, I sure do hate Wheel of Fortune. It’s not just the campy nature of the hosts–I think a certain level of “Camp” is necessary for any game-show host. It’s everything else. You can divide the world into two kinds of people–Jeopardy! people and Wheel of Fortune people. They don’t seem to be able to cross over, either.
Last night after Jeopardy! I got to doing some work, and just left my TV on, knowing that Wheel of Fortune would be next. After watching, I realized two things. 1) I do not have the control it would take to be a host for that show, and 2) I couldn’t be a contestant either.
One contestant won a Prize Puzzle and these usually end up being trips. Fair enough. The guy was bouncing out of his skin in anticipation to find out where he would be going. When The announcer said, “You’re going to ICELAND!” The contestant reacted as though he had just won $1 million for life! What?! Really!? This would have been my reaction:
Announcer: “You’re going to ICELAND!”
Me: “WOOOOO—Wait…. What?! Did he just say…. Iceland? That’s a joke, right? Iceland? Really? That’s all you could come up with? No trip to London… no caribbean cruise? Australia, even? Can I just trade it in for the $8905 value instead and take a trip to Egypt? Iceland?? Lame.”
And I just know that the look on my face would horrify Vanna. Granted, I’m sure Iceland is beautiful. I’m sure there are people somewhere that have the life goal of getting to Iceland. I’m not one of them. And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen prizes like this. Wheel of Fortune promotes their prizes as being amazing, but sometimes they’re no better than the “His and Hers watches” you have to pretend to be excited about when winning on The Price is Right. And the money you can win is, compared to the other game-shows out there, pretty low. It hardly seems worth it, really.
And that’s not even the worst of it. The contestants make my head want to explode. They do realize that in order to buy a vowel, they have to buy a vowel, right? The point of the game is to maximize your pot, not deplete it by buying every vowel in the alphabet! And yet, for some reason completely foreign to me, contestants will go through every vowel at least once per show. How hard is it to run through those vowels in your head while standing there? It’s a puzzle. That’s what you’re supposed to do. There are far more consonants than vowels, and logic would state that you need to reduce those options first. But hey… whatev. It’s their money.
But what bothers me the most is just plain blatant ridiculousness. Pat actually looked and sounded confused when none of the three contestants could figure out this puzzle on a toss up, and time ran out. Here’s what the board looked like:
ROBIN REDBREA_ T
One contestant didn’t respond, and two contestants guessed the wrong answer. My favorite was “Robin Redbread.” Give me a minute here… that still hurts to think about. Where do they get these people?! How does Pat not just throw down his cue cards and freak out when someone answers like that?! “Robin Readbread?? Are you an idiot?! Where in your life have you ever heard that phrase? There is a D at the end of bread, not a T. There is a T at the end of that puzzle! Why would you… you know what… I can’t take it anymore. I quit!”
Wheel of Fortune is the Kiddie Table of game-shows. It doesn’t help that it has to follow Jeopardy! either. Maybe that’s why I don’t like Wheel. To go from scouring your brain for facts and clever answers to “Robin Redbread” is just too much of a swing for me.