The Price Is Right
is all about testing one's knowledge of how much stuff costs, but while that's interesting and all, it's more about people jumping around like idiots in their homemade t-shirts, tacky sets, a host who was somehow simultaneously sleazy and classy, and foxy women displaying fabulous prizes but almost never speaking. It's a show that had barely changed from 1972 until 2007, which was the time of Bob Barker's
tenure, and there's something to be said for that (see the aforementioned tacky sets). When Mr. Barker retired at age 83, new host Drew Carey
had to step in and fill his shoes. Starpulse investigated the revamped show, and by investigated we mean one of our writers
Tivo'd a solitary episode, to see what had changed and to tell its readers if it's still worth staying home from school or work to watch people "come on down!"
Many other things are still the same, like the glittery, crappy-looking "come on down" border and essentially the same look to the studio. Come on down they did, but it's disheartening to know that it's not a random selection, but more about how obnoxious you are (with obnoxious being your goal) during a five second interview on the way in. So, that's the same. Then there was a random bikini shot when a Barker's Beauty, or whatever they call them in the post-Barker era, displayed a hot tub with no water in it, so that we could see her bikini. Later one of them came out in a tightly-clinging dress that looked more like a negligee to show everyone a scooter. Those sorts of senseless skin shots are the same as the old days, but only roughly half of us here at Starpulse are complaining about that. The only thing that is really different and a clear cut problem is the new host.
To be fair, Drew Carey is a funny guy, but he just doesn't look like he is into it. He has a look on his face as if to say, "Oh, crap! How many years did I sign on to do this? Oh, great! Here comes a big, fat woman down the aisle, and I just know she wants to kiss me." Bob may or may not have sexually harassed everyone on that set, but he was fun to watch. He seemed to really be enthused about how many contestants were winning that day, walking up to the camera before a commercial to emphatically tell us that there had been four games and four winners up until that point of the show. Drew just looks like he's looking to get to the bar before happy hour is over.
Many of the games were the old standards, including Plinko, where contestants drop little chips down a big board with pegs on it, hoping to land them in slots for thousands of dollars. The game's name derives from the "plink" noise the chips make when they hit those pegs on their trip towards the cash. Words that come from the sounds they make like pow, boom, and Plinko are called onomatopoeia. You would know that if you hadn't stayed home from school so much watching the Price is Right. Well, these days it's the same game, only with a really bored host.
Then came the Hole in One game, where players guess the prices of items to move up closer for a chance to put for a prize, but Drew doesn't know how to golf. He came way too strong, and the darn ball careened speedily off the hole and nearly went off the grass. Horrible. One would think he would have been practicing over the past year, so that he could look half as good as his predecessor. Bob Barker would demonstrate to the contestants how to put by lining one up from the very back, and getting in the hole most every time, much like he got it in the hole of most every one of Barker's Beauties. Drew can't put for beans, and again, he just doesn't care.
Contestants still spin the big wheel trying to get as close to a dollar as possible without going over, and some folks struggle to get it around a full circulation so that it counts, while other guys try to be tough guys, often in their sailor uniforms, and send it around a dozen times, getting a big cheer from the crowd. Same big old wheel, new lackadaisical host.
The show still concludes with the Showcase Showdown, where the two contestants who spun closest to one dollar without going over on the wheel each bid on a showcase full of prizes, again, trying to bid closest to the total price without going over. As in the old days, both showcases have a loose theme tying them together, one of which on this episode being a trash compactor (?), and the Barker's Beauties, we'll still call them that, get a chance to show off their "acting" chops. One showcase always has a bunch of useless crap in it, like a camper, and the other one is packed with awesome prizes, like cars. This is particularly funny when someone 79-years-old is stuck competing for a jet ski, or in the case of this episode, a cherry red guitar. It pays to be the first one to bid because if you get a crummy showcase you know to pass it, and if it's good, you go ahead and bid. Same idea, same strategy, but the host is still really, really disinterested.
Again, Drew Carey is a funny fella. He got off a couple of good lines in this particular episode, but he's just not as charming, wonderfully sarcastic, as sweet to the old ladies, enthusiastic about dumb games and prices for Bayer, and he's just not as all around awesome as Bob. In short, he's just not Bob, and without Bob, it's just not the Price is Right.
Story by Matthew J. Swanson
Starpulse contributing writer