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Channel 4:

"Who wants to..."

by P. Kellach Waddle



...join me in suggesting these alternate names for America's latest TV phenomenon?

Before I start ranting, let me emphasize that I have been as addicted as everyone else to the "television equivalent of crack cocaine " as the question-titled ABC savior has been referred to in the TV press. However, three issues have nagged at me so severely that perhaps these issues could even be incorporated in to alternate names for "Who wants To Be a Millionaire"...Such as...

"Who wants to be a MORON?" For myriad reasons, I have grave reservations about the qualifying process. Yes, it is very cool that it's TOTALLY unbiased and this keeps it light years away from the scandals of 50's game shows as dramatized in the movie Quiz Show where contestants were coached and chosen for there telegenic qualities... BUT... If you are going to be on what is now the most watched television show in America, shouldn't there perhaps be SOME bias, a la the fact you have to pass the Jeopardy test to get the chance to say "I will take 'Variables in Quantum Theory Equations' for $1000, Alex."? I cannot possibly be the only person in America whose blood pressure rises to stroke level when moronic fat asses (More on that in a moment.) do not answer questions that rise to the staggering level of 4th grade social studies. Isn't it perhaps altruistic to attempt to bar Fred FatAss from showing all of America that he doesn't know who Mark Twain or what the largest state is? Shouldn't ABC weed out the people who would give such Family Feud responses as "seven" for "Name a number you always remember" and "Saudi Arabia" for "Name a Country in South America" before they humiliate themselves? ( Frighteningly, I didn't make either of these examples up.) Perhaps a qualifying test is in order, if for nothing else to keep the rest of us from screaming ourselves hoarse at the television or sending our shoes, cigarette lighters, and ashtrays careening at the television in horrified anger (Not that yours truly knows anyone who would do that...or did do that...or anything.)

"Who wants to be politically Correct/Incorrect?" We as a TV nation are very far away from the 70's where Edith went through menopause on All in The Family and Maude had an abortion so who could imagine that advertiser's and network's skittishness about such touchy topics could be completely obliterated by...a GAME SHOW???

Not once but TWICE, extremely WASPy, preppy gentlemen had Regis point out their girlfreinds/wives to reveal...they were African-American. No sitcom would touch mixed marriages taken for granted as everyday occurrences with a ten foot pole. And here was a rather FESTIVE fellow, who not only is the only person to clap his hands and scream a single "YAY" upon winning the ahem...FASTEST FINGER question (this is a PG-rated publication, I am not touching that with a ten-foot...uh...never mind.) but after getting in the hot seat has Regis introduce his PARTNER, another FESTIVE fellow with pronounced lisp and all. Said contestant also elaborates "I once sold Home Furnishings"...(As America goes "Gee, imagine that.") From this demonstration I am still stuck between thinking, well isn't that liberally refreshing that these alternative lifestyle folk are presented without the slightest hint that anything is different about them...and thinking this is creeps-giving exploitation to have such stereotype-epitomes doing the presenting. After the poor man shared with us his decorating past one wondered if he was next going to tell us about his Judy Garland record collection or about his degree in hairdressing. One wonders how far this blanket "acceptance" is going to be carried. Here we have Jim from Utah, and here to support him are his entire row of wives. Here we have Biff from God Knows Where and here are the 6 people he is in a group marriage with. Or better yet...if a la Celebrity Jeopardy there is ever Celebrity Millionaire we could have the gloved one say "And here to support me are...some underage children I pal around with when we are all in our pajamas...my ex-wife/daughter of a music icon.. and my monkey and a giraffe"

Finally, I am afraid we have to address the largesse issue. Now, I am not QUITE such a nasty human being that I point and laugh at people at buffets (Especially since I'm fighting a paunch at times myself)...but one of the contestants in particular has inspired me want to also call the show "Who wants to be a FATASS?" And it is neither of the large fellows who made delightful swipes at themselves, thus endearing themselves to millions. The gentleman who said "I'm a fat man Regis, my heart can't take it" and the large fellow whose first question was about food to which he responded to the effect of "Wow, a question about food.. I will surely get this" were two of everyone's favorite contestants. BUT...

A certain contestant not only was a fatass but one with an attitude. Not only did this guy get all huffy when Regis pointed out his size he reportedly hurt Regis feelings by getting all bitchy saying he didn't want jokes made at his expense and made Regis hang his head and apologize thus inspiring producers to edit the whole thing from the broadcast. (Look, if you have some particular physical standout feature and you are going to be on the most watched program in America and you DON'T think you might be teased abbot it then stay the hell home damnit. If, strike that, WHEN I am finally in the hot seat If Regis DOESN'T jibe me about my colossal hillbilly accent or my streaming mane that goes to the middle of my back, I am going to be flat-out disappointed.) This guy was a fatass AND a MORON (Gee, if he had a boyfreind or been in a group marriage he could just fit all of my categories). And he hurt Reege's feelings, for that alone he didn't deserve 16 cents much less the 16 thou he walked away with. I hope the incredibly cool guy who won the million who was an IRS collector takes most of that particular nimrod's money away.

As of this writing ABC is about to officially announce the permanent return of this show in January, and rants aside, I am salivating...And that's my...

No, wait. I am much more creative a columnist then to end this ditty with America's new favorite catch phrase.. and you think I am going to bow to pressure to say it...No, I am not. Not gonna do it. Can't make me. I have more originality than that...no...Absolutely not...Don't ask me to.

And that's my final answer.







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