What is P.G.T. Beauregard, Alex

I spent a few tedious minutes this morning searching out a variety of ways to get my hands on some game show tickets. My family and I are planning on a family vacation this Spring, though we are at the financial level of canceling formerly essential services such as caller ID and splurging through complementing our Kraft Diner with cut-up hot dog slices. We are planning on taking our first family vacation to the sunny beaches of California. Of course, we won’t spend very much time on the actual beach, what with the translucency I have generously bestowed upon my offspring that will allow the sun to fry their skin like a won-ton. Instead, we will spend some time at Disneyland, under the shade of the Matterhorn and the inflated dreams of children.

I am also hoping that we can make it into the air-conditioned studios where we can be part of a live studio audience. I have always wanted to be a part of one of these tapings. I would love to be part of a talk show where I could grab the microphone from Jerry and alternately wag my head and finger as I scolded the lesbian Klan member for cheating on her husband with the gay member of the Nation of Islam. It would be so cool to force an exaggerated laugh at what is surely the funniest video in America, featuring a grandfather being hit in the genitals with a football thrown by his helper monkey. I would also like to carry my from-the-belly laugh just half a second longer at a joke told by Kelsey Grammar in his new sitcom so that I could later distinguish it when the show airs.

If I lived in Southern California, or the O.C. as the kids are calling it these days, I would totally go to every show taping available to me. The only thing better than the non-participatory activity of watching television at home is the non-participatory activity of watching television in person as it happens. Of course, not all studio audiences are used only as a visual or audible backdrop. Some involve more advanced levels of audience participation. If I were on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, I would throw the “Ask the Audience” lifeline a curveball, answering “D. my pet frog Hoppy” to the question “Neil Armstrong’s first words on the moon were ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for’ what?” If I were called to be a backup singer on “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” I would continue singing “Rock You Like A Hurricane” even after the music stopped, even after the contestant answered, and possibly even after Wayne Brady roughed me up a little.

Of course the dream of any career studio audience member would have to be the Mecca that is The Price is Right. Even with the exit of the leathery Bob Barker, the show still manages to desperately cling to the 70s era kitsch that makes it the depressing staple of the daytime soap-opera watching set. The simply squeezable Drew Carrey doesn’t help to upset the non-updatable show, what with his Buddy Holly glasses, Johnny Unitas haircut, and questionably thin microphone. But there is no doubt that for people who can skillfully cheer on gravity as it randomly carries their plastic puck to a certain dollar amount and who can accurately guess the cost of a foot fungal cream, this is the way to make money on television.

I have also dreamed about being an official contestant on a game show, not just one that the narrator picked out of the audience because I had a bright orange t-shirt that said “I Love Bob Barker More Than Life Itself”. However, the major problem with this is that most game shows require some level of skill. One of my favorite game shows ever is Jeopardy. I love it so much because it rewards people for knowing things that got them beaten up in middle school. The greatest champion that the show ever had is now the pride of my home state. With his tiny head full of an incompressible amount of trivia, he earned millions of dollars and a way into our hearts.

I have applied to be on the television show, but no one at Viacom called me back. It is most likely for the best. I feel I am a smart guy when it comes to trivial things. I don’t mean to be smug about it or anything. I just happen to have read at least two complete encyclopedic volumes as a child and opened the box and read the answers to every Trivial Pursuit game my family ever bought. My wife insists that I would do great on Jeopardy, but I don’t think I would. I know myself far too well. I am not smart in the way that it would take to perform well on a game show such as Jeopardy. I practice at home, using a click pen as a replacement for the buzzer. I always buzz-in just a few words after the answer appears on screen. My response in the form of a question is rarely in the form of actual words. The contestant gives the right response and I tell myself that I knew that all along and score the points on my notepad.

If I were to appear on Jeopardy, I would bring shame to my family for generations. In the category of words that begin with X, none of my responses would in fact begin with the letter X. I would shout out random historical figures to questions regarding plant science. I would probably bring up “Hoppy” every time Neil Armstrong was mentioned. I would be the first contestant in history to receive more in negative dollars than the leader in actual dollars. The show might actually request that I pay that amount. You ever wonder why those contestants in the negative can’t participate in final Jeopardy? Alex takes them backstage where he breaks their knuckles with a lead pipe.

And so, I don’t believe we will be joining Mr. Trebek on our whirlwind trip to California. I would still like to both have my dream of being in a studio audience fulfilled and be able to pay for the extravagances of my vacation through the winnings of a game show that will take me on as an impromptu contestant. Of course, as we have established, it can’t involve any specific skill, knowledge, or ability other than maintaining myself in a standing position for half an hour. Then it occurred to me. I logged on to NBC.com and I am now in the process of applying to be on Deal or No Deal. This fits all of my criteria. There is no skill involved, other than being able to count to 30 and make incredibly rash decisions with no base of reference. I do that every day of my life. I guess you also have to have the ability to blindly believe that your simple faith can beat the odds. I do that as well. As long as the place is air-conditioned. Or maybe I can don a wetsuit and be repeatedly battered by a foam wall with cookie cutter shapes in it as it pushes me into a shallow pool. That might be as close to the beach as I’m going to get in California.


Brian R said...

My ex-girlfriend from college is actually going to be on Jeopardy, provided she can get the time off work. Judging from that relationship, the best way to get on the show is to be an annoying know it all (hi Rae!) I will caution, however, that that particular approach has not worked for me.