TV or Not TV

Conan O’Brien

My “Match Game” pitch

Not too long ago, I delightfully wasted an evening away with a combination of Guinness and classic episodes of “Match Game.” The ’77 series stands out as my favorite because it featured my choice of the four seats that mattered: Brett and Charles up top and Richard and Betty on the bottom… the two seats on the far left of either row were superfluous to me.

I’ve decided that my dream job would be to serve as MC/host of a remake of “Match Game,” and I’d want the same cheesy set where contestants are spun in on a turntable and the doors don’t always open correctly (I think orange shag carpeting may be stylish again anyway). I’d also want a sot of “Match Game PM” inasmuch as the show should air in prime time on a network.

As for the panel of celebrity regulars, from the top left, Fred Willard, who has that old-school quick wit that makes the show fun. Then Sarah Silverman in the Brett chair, and author/speaker David Sedaris in the CNR seat.

Down at the bottom row, I’d stir it up a bit. A few months ago, I heard Melissa Gilbert on LA’s Mark & Brian radio show playing their daily trivia game. She was on the phone in her kitchen and she, with occasional shouts from husband Bruce Boxleitner (who was sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast cereal), was bright and funny. I think both Melissa and Bruce would be fun on the show. Last but not least, in case you couldn’t see it coming a mile away, I’d have Shannen Doherty on the set, probably in the bottom left seat generally reserved for the hot, big haired chicks in the show’s original run.

So, my list:

Fred Willard, Sarah Silverman, David Sedaris,

Shannen Doherty, Bruce Boxleitner, Melissa Gilbert

If I wasn’t allowed to host, I’d want either Conan O’Brien or Neil Patrick Harris to do it.

But I want to host.

I concede that it would be hard to match the chemistry of the ’70s incarnations of the show, but since every other d*mned thing is being remade (and remade poorly, by people who seem to want nothing from an original series but its title), I think I’d enjoy remaking a show with people who revered the original, understood it was a winning format, and had no interest in turning it into a soap opera or introducing an evil twin or in any other way molesting the program.

I would want the set to mimic the set from “Match Game” modified, of course, for widescreen TVs. I’d want the host to hold one of those long handled microphones and wear a three piece suit. I’d want at least the first month of shows to feature as many classic panelists (Bob Barker, Bill Daly, George Kennedy, Betty White, etc.) as possible. And I’d want anyone on the production staff who says “I’ve got a way to make this show even better!” to be fired on the spot.

Oprah/Jay blow-by-blow

FWIW, here is my own blow by blow (I had to do something to avoid sticking a fork in my brain while I watched it).

I am surprised that there is no live audience cheering on both Oprah and Leno – that alone makes this about 33% more tolerable than it otherwise would be. If Oprah did her show without an audience I might actually watch it once in a while. Leno do is better without it. They both pander like cheap whores when the audience is in the room (I want to write “jump from bed to bed with the frequency of a cheap ham radio” but can not figure out how to work it in), but alone they are actual people – even when often still unlikable, as Leno very much is in this interview. Indeed, I have always liked Leno when he is away from his own studio audience, but here with Oprah he seems to be his real self – and that self is not a very nice man.