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June 30, 2013 4:02 PM   Subscribe

There are people who believe that Plinko is the best game on The Price Is Right. I have a name for these people. I call them "Wrongety Wrong Wrong." They are the leaders of Wrongitania. They are the Doctors Of Wrongology. They are the Wrongtown Rats.
posted by maggieb (46 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Mefi's own!

The best game is the yodeling one duh.
posted by The Whelk at 4:04 PM on June 30, 2013 [24 favorites]

Bob Barker was the male Oprah.
posted by Nomyte at 4:05 PM on June 30, 2013

Agreed, team yodley guy represent. Cliff Hangers popping, Plinko dropping.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:07 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

Hole in One

posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:12 PM on June 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

A game show
Based around
Is strange
When dwelled upon.
posted by The Whelk at 4:14 PM on June 30, 2013

planetesimal: "Deep down
the new guy
doesn't really care
if you sterilize the pets

posted by Apropos of Something at 4:16 PM on June 30, 2013 [9 favorites]

Bob Barker was the male Oprah.

Nah, he had more free cars.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:16 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

A game show
Based around
Is strange
When dwelled upon.

Actually, no. What is The Price Is Right? It's a solid hour of product placement, coming from an era WELL before "product placement" was A Thing People Did. It's basically not only an extended commercial for all kinds of products any good housewife (because when it was created, who was at home watching TV during the day?) should want, but it also TELLS YOU HOW MUCH THEY ALL COST so you know how much you would spend on any of them. (Plus... find one for less than that price... you've saved not spent that much!)

I love TPIR for its sheer kitsch value, its full out ballsy "here's advertising disguised as entertainment" lack of shame. I used to watch a lot as a kid. I don't think I've watched a single episode with Carey as host.
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on June 30, 2013 [20 favorites]

There's also this, which I have a strange fondness for.
posted by gimonca at 4:28 PM on June 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

All of my TPIR memories revolve around my late grandfather. When I was very small and needed a sick day, my mom would drive me to my grandparents' house for the day so that she could go to work. My grandfather, prior to being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, was a pediatrician who had a home office. So he was the de facto sick day babysitter.

He would often put me on the couch with a plate of cookies, and we'd both watch The Price is Right. I was just learning my numbers, and a lot of the games were games where I could work on math and numbers, less than, more than, stuff like that. My grandparents had a HUGE Irish collie named Kelly who would often steal my cookies.

Anyway, my grandfather was a big Plinko fan, and so even though I rarely watch the non-Bob Barker version, I may tape this week.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:33 PM on June 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

What is The Price Is Right? It's a solid hour of product placement, coming from an era WELL before "product placement" was A Thing People Did.

There's been produce placement since the earliest days of cinema.
posted by one_bean at 4:34 PM on June 30, 2013

No mention of The Golden Road? The game where, typically, a luxury automobile is dangled in front of the contestant to toy with their emotions, only to see them inevitably lose due to the terrible odds. That's the best game.

posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:35 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have tried looking for a study of the relative difficulty of the different games on the show. All I could find was this class lesson (pdf) on using TPIR (actually Plinko) to teach probability and this treatise (pdf) on optimal bidding strategies for contestants' row. The American Statistical Association published an overview (pdf), including details on Plinko and Bayes-based strategies for the Showcase Showdown.

There is also this odds table for canonical games, it makes some assumptions about optimal behaviors, conditions, and outcomes. I always thought the range game and safecracker would be the most difficult. I am sure someone at the studio must have the details on outcomes of the actual on-show trials. [I watched all of the time in the mid-70s.]
posted by cgk at 4:36 PM on June 30, 2013

A game show
Based around
Is strange
When dwelled upon.

Yet, there have been some other game shows produced around the topic. See: posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:45 PM on June 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

Every summer, I was at the mercy of my agrarian family either working in my parents' dairy equipment business, or working with my grandfather on his 700 acre cattle farm. Working for my grandparents was considerably harder, but I got an actual lunch break at the house with a homecooked meal (by Memaw) and sweet tea. Price is Right was always part of lunch for me, since Grandpa would dismiss me to go to the house about 11:30 in the morning, to get cleaned up and to help Memaw get the table set and the meal out. I would always be greeted by Bob, usually after the first Showcase Showdown, ready for the second half to kick on for the show, with the promise of big cars and extravagant trips. Memaw and I would play along in the kitchen, waiting for the games and yelling at the TV, and it seemed at times if we were on the stage, and Bob was warmly inviting us to play along. Then as the Showcase was playing, Grandpa would come in, get the cow shit and dust off of that leather he called skin, leaf through the mail, and wait for Bob to sign off. He'd mute the TV, say grace over lunch (after Memaw would nod and mouth to him to go ahead), and then we'd start to eat, filling ourselves after a taxing morning, and getting ready for an even more taxing evening vaccinating and sorting cattle.

It's a shame that Bob's not there anymore, because I've watched TPIR since then, and Drew, for as good as he is does not have that quality that Bob did. It's all but ruined the show, and then to pull a gimmick like this, has not done anything to rehabilitate the brand. Monty Hall is the only one that could host LMAD, Jim Perry was the only serviceable host on Card Sharks, and Bob Barker is the only one that should have ever hosted TPIR.

I say all that to say this: This is a bad idea, and you should feel bad. You've ruined the mystique of one of the most popular games, one of the only ones that has been 100% un-screwed with since Bob debuted it back in the dark ages. I weep for what TPIR has become, but I guess I can't hold this aspect of my childhood in such high regard as the rest of the world has changed around me.
posted by deezil at 4:46 PM on June 30, 2013 [10 favorites]

Snoop wouldn't do the yodely game. But Plinko? Hell yeah.
posted by dobbs at 4:49 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also: I have a thing for Master Key and Penny Ante. Superball seemed great until I realized the difficulty made it unfit for television.

But for the love of all things good in the world: don't knock Plinko. Great visual, mental stimulus, plus the sound of plinking.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:51 PM on June 30, 2013

Bob Barker was the male Oprah.

I don't recall Bob Barker throwing a hissy fit and causing an international incident when the sales girl at Hermes in Paris was rude to him.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:57 PM on June 30, 2013

Pah! The Price is Right, longevity aside, will forever pale in comparison to the one true game show: Press Your Luck.

No Whammies!

Until looking for clips on YouTube, I had no idea that there was a new version of the show. Just from looking at it, and the horrible CG Whammies, I feel like my childhood has been tainted yet again.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:58 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

deezil, that is strangely compelling. I also have strong childhood memories of watching TPIR with my grandmother -- Mimi, not Memaw, in my case. But the circumstances were as different as they could be. She was agoraphobic and probably borderline. Watching TV, especially game shows, was all her connection with the outside world, so when I spent time with her, that was mine too. Since she was very doting, and I was just a kid, I only had a slight sense at first that something was wrong with the way Mimi watched TV and lived with it. It deepened as I grew older, of course, and she still watched TPIR, Press Your Luck and all the '80s and '90s hits in that same chair. In her last years, she actually watched the same ones over again on the Game Show Network, after having seen them the first time decades ago from that very vantage point.

Now TPIR fills me with unease. It's the '70s-early '80s vibe that I get, same as the eternal '70s-'80s decoration in Mimi's home. It makes me think of shut-ins across America, rotting behind drawn curtains, in front of TPIR.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:00 PM on June 30, 2013 [9 favorites]

i love the yodelling game, but the sound of the plinko chip, and the high modernism of the clear plastic on mdf updating of the small town games that were played at the trade show every year, i dont know, im one for the plinko.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:13 PM on June 30, 2013

It's proper name is CliffHangers, and it's how Bob Barker got into the Cult of 37 with the admonition that if the game was stopped, it'd take 37 hours to restart (which Carey has muffed more than once).
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:29 PM on June 30, 2013

It's basically not only an extended commercial for all kinds of products any good housewife (because when it was created, who was at home watching TV during the day?) should want, but it also TELLS YOU HOW MUCH THEY ALL COST...

I can't tell you how many home-sick-from-school days it took me to figure this out. But really, there was nothing else to do from the couch during the day before cable, VCRs and the Internet when you didn't feel well enough to read.
posted by DU at 5:35 PM on June 30, 2013

I'm partial to Cliff Hangers and the Clock Game. I always enjoyed the tension-filled interplay of the ticking of the clock, Bob's staccato "Higher! Lower!" and the nervous contestants stammering out a response. It was my favourite show to watch if I was home sick from school as a child, that and Phil Donahue.

I don't think I've seen a full episode of TPIR since about 1982.
posted by droplet at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2013

This made me LOL: "The chips slide down and bounce around, and Drew Carey engages in anti-intellectualism and magical thinking by cheering for the chip to move in a certain direction, which it cannot do because it is not sentient nor is it obedient nor does it speak English."

I worked in a newsroom where, by majority staff vote, they turned the CNN-blaring television to The Price Is Right every morning (at 10 a.m.? I don't know, before newspaperwomen should be awake anyway), and it made me CRAZY. And half the business office would come meandering out to watch and opine, which made me double-crazy. Anyway TPIR always transports me back to the newsroom, trying to edit things and make phone calls while Bob Barker is shouting at me and clearly overpaid ad space salesmen shout at the television. (BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TIME TO SHOUT AT THE TELEVISION IF THEY WERE SELLING ENOUGH ADS.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:37 PM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]

The clock game was definitely a stressful one, and thus one of my favorites. However, I once had a nightmare while camping that I was filling in for Bob and I had to do the clock game. I woke up to my sister informing me that I kept saying higher and lower over and over in an upset tone and then made the sound of the buzzer. In the dream I had felt it was my inadequacy as a host that led to the contestant losing.
posted by jenjenc at 5:43 PM on June 30, 2013 [7 favorites]

I stayed with my father's parents a lot when I was a kid. Weekday mornings before TPIR was the Today show, Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Afterwards were endless soaps and Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser on Fridays. In between were flashing lightbulbs, Barker's Beauties, new cars, Showcase Showdowns and that wonderful thin handheld mic (which the Internet tells me is a Sony ECM-51).

Thirty years later, I worked graveyard for a short time at CBS Television City, and one night after my lunch break I explored the facility. I finally got to spin the Big Wheel! No lights, no sounds, and no cheers, but it still felt awesome.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:55 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

It is just way too weird to watch this now. I haven't seen it since the 80s, probably, and it feels just the same. That creeps me out just a bit, and so does Drew Carey. He does not belong to this ethos!
posted by Glinn at 5:56 PM on June 30, 2013

that wonderful thin handheld mic

Oh yeah, that mic! I remember seeing other hosts with fat mics and thinking "why do these guys need SO MUCH electronics to do what Bob Barker does using a toothpick?" Kind of a precursor to the "SUVs are compensating for something" thing.
posted by DU at 6:10 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ok, why are none of you mentioning the giant fuzzy dice game where Bob Barker then fits them into slots after they are rolled on the plush maroon table, OR the "squeeze play" game.

It actually pains me to realize how many lunchtimes I spent watching this- why on earth would a 'home shopping show' be interesting to a ten year old?? Pre-cable years...

And also, I don't like Drew Carey on this, he is too casual. Bob Barker always "kept it classy". He wouldn't be saying "oh you know, the yodelling guy". No!
posted by bquarters at 6:23 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

the giant fuzzy dice game where Bob Barker then fits them into slots after they are rolled on the plush maroon table

Everyone has to stop making me want to watch this show again.
posted by DU at 6:37 PM on June 30, 2013 [4 favorites]

You mean this one?

It's all so homey and charming. Except for the commercials.
posted by droplet at 6:46 PM on June 30, 2013

posted by not_on_display at 6:55 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

In the early 70s there was also The Night Time Price is Right with Dennis James as the host. Am I the only one who remembers that?
posted by Daddy-O at 8:00 PM on June 30, 2013

Ten Chances may not be the best game on The Price is Right, but it did provide what may be the most hilarious scene in the history of the show.

Bob Barker probably still can't believe that happened.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 8:36 PM on June 30, 2013 [5 favorites]

I hope y'all saw that after I wrote this, the head of CBS Daytime tweeted me.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:30 AM on July 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

P.S. I believe the "37 hours to restart" thing comes from the Range Finder or whatever they call it, not Cliff Hangers. When you hit the button in Range Finder, you can't say "wait, I didn't want to stop it yet," so they have that bit about how they can't restart it for XX hours. I don't even know what would take 37 hours to restart on Cliff Hangers.

Yes, I care too much.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:32 AM on July 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Wow, someone else remembers The Tortellis!
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 AM on July 1, 2013

I don't even know what would take 37 hours to restart on Cliff Hangers.

After the little mountain climber falls off the cliff, he has to climb back up to the starting line, right?
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:48 AM on July 1, 2013

As a Price fanatic, it drives me crazy when people get the Showcase Showdown (with the Big Wheel) and the Showcases (with the crapload of prizes) confused.

I wonder how many people watch the show just to see the Hoverround and Wilford Brimley ("Do you have DIABEETUS?") commercials.

As for favorite games, anyone else have a fondness for the old Bonus Game?
posted by DRoll at 7:02 AM on July 1, 2013

My biggest problem with The Price is Right is, who ever pays retail? I'm like, people be over-payin'.
posted by Skwirl at 7:39 AM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Like many others around my age, I have strong childhood memories associated with The Price is Right. It was the best part of staying home from school. Cliff Hangers is a great game, but my other favorites are the Clock Game, the Grocery Game, Lucky 7, and of course the Money Game. ("El cheapo!")

I remember when Plinko debuted and what was most exciting about it was the $50,000 top prize. It seems like chump change now, but at the time that was almost twice as much money as our house cost. It seems fitting to have an all Plinko show for the 30th anniversary.

I recently watched TPiR for the first time since Bob retired and Drew took over. If your only exposure to Carey was in the first few months after the change, you should give it another chance. Carey is no Bob, but he's come into his own as host. As was noted by bquarters, Drew is much more casual and sarcastic, but that's in keeping with the times. I'm not sure I can put my finger on precisely what changed, but I think that more than anything else Carey has accepted his role as host. He doesn't even mind when the contestants call him Bob.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:51 AM on July 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

The games that ping the nostalgia button for me the hardest are the ones that are so delightfully tactile and analog. I can hear the plinks of Plinko and god, the muffled thumps from those fuzzy giant dice...
posted by misskaz at 8:03 AM on July 1, 2013

I have been watching TPIR since it came on in the seventies with Bob Barker (even the Bob Cummings edition predates me and NOTHING predates me.)

People like Plinko because there's a sliver of a chance that you'll win $50,000. Hell, even if you only get 20% of it right, it's still $10,000. Not bad.

But the best game is really Temptation. Because you are a guaranteed winner, if you JUST DON'T TRY FOR THE CAR!

I scream at the TV every time some yutz think's he's going to beat the odds and win the car.

Dude, there's a car in the Showcase and you have a much better chance of getting to it, IF YOU WIN YOUR GAME!

Okay, I'm done.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:39 PM on July 1, 2013

Alla y'all need an instant bargain courtesy Sale of the Century, the greatest shopping game show that didn't involve Bob Barker and a fatalistic mountain climber.
posted by Spatch at 1:13 AM on July 2, 2013

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