Jun 19, 2008

[TV] The New Price Is Right

Flickr: keamysparadise - Martin Keamy, Come On Down!
Martin Keamy, Come On Down! - keamysparadise.

I've always been a big fan of the Price is Right since the Bob Barker days. I'm not really sure what precisely drew me to the show - perhaps it was the various games or how supposedly "high tech" some of their props and set pieces seemed to my much younger brain at the time. I guess all the flashing lights, music, cheesy voiceovers and overall excitement got to me and had me hooked on the series for a long time.

As Bob Barker aged, to some extent so did the audience for a time since the true shoppers and price-memorizers who tend to do well on the show also tended to be middle-aged housewives and stay at home gentlemen. I used to watch the show with my grandmother and learned to better guess the prices of products despite the difference in currency.

When I came back from the US, it was with some irony I started catching the new episodes of the show featuring Drew Carey, who took over Bob Barker's mantle after he retired. At first it seemed like an odd choice for a successor to one of the longest-running game shows around, but then when I got down to watching him handle folks "coming on down" the aisle to play, then I started to see the value in his casting.

The Price Is Right $1,000,000 SpectacularImage via WikipediaYou probably better remember Drew Carey for straight up comedy shows like Who's Line Is It Anyway and The Drew Carey Show and thus my initial hesitation about him becoming a game show host. I meant let's face it, Bob Barker ran a pretty tight ship and was pretty much mostly cool, calm and collected during every episode and wasn't necessarily overly zany or wise-cracking, which Carey tends to try to be more often than not.

The games haven't changed much, so that's something to hold onto. The contestants still make their bids behind crude displays that make you think of LCD calculators and a lot of the set pieces require manual intervention on the part of the contestants, the host or the many lovely female assistants. The showdown wheel is still as heavy as ever and nothing beats the excitement that everyone seems required to show when they announce the next prize is A NEW CAR!

Drew Carey is a bit understated in how he handles the show, which is a good thing. He's not necessarily as suave as Bob Barker was with his radio-worthy voice but he's not as constantly sarcastic as he usually is in his other programs. He does crack jokes as needed and they;re mostly subtle jabs and pokes here and there that keep folks interested enough. What his main benefit to the show appears to be is his ability to draw younger audiences and contestants to the show trying to make a quick buck.

I'm pretty hopeful for this new spin on the series. Perhaps bringing in a character like Drew Carey as the host may provide more longer term benefits and keep the show thriving in the years to come. All I know is, a part of me still wishes to one day "come on down" to see if I'd do any good as the next contestant on The Price is Right. =D
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