TV or Not TV

Match Game

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.

“Match Game” for 2/23/10

There’s one extra celebrity in today’s installment of the game: The lovely young Kirstie Alley. Long before she would boss around Sam Malone on “Cheers,” and even before she glued pointy ears to her head on “Star Trek II,” Kirstie tried to match wits with the stars of “Match Game.”

“Harriet said, ‘I’m worried about my husband. He keeps bringing home leftovers from work. The only trouble is, he works in a __________.'”

Kirstie went with “Hospital.” Care to guess how many celebrities she matched? If you guessed one, you were off by about one.

Robert Pink from “ChiPs” guessed “Bordello,” Brett went with “Shoe Factory,”* and Charles opted for “Fertilizer Plant.”

Jamie Lee Curtis sort of matched with Robert with “House of ill repute,” Dick Martin went with “Steel Mill,” and Betty White went dark with her response of “Mortuary”

For the record, Kirstie made it to the big money match, but didn’t win. The question was “__________ starter,” and Kirstie replied “Fire” but Robert Pine, the celeb she needed to match went with “Car.” The audience choice was “Self.”

Also for the record, in my review of the series these past couple of months, Jamie Lee Curtis is the first celebrity panelist I’ve actually met. I didn’t know when I met her that she’d appeared on “Match Game,” and, even if I had known, she was busy accidentally almost getting me fired from the show I was working on for me to even ask her about it. But she’s still cute as a button.

* Charles Nelson Reilly gave Brett Somers “The pathetic attempt award to try and find an answer” for her answer, a well earned award, to be sure.