ABC’s Sunday Fun & Games

A couple weeks ago, I expressed how I’ve been wanting to appear on a game show ever since I could be considered legally allowed to do so. In light of becoming a “Bridesmaid” once again by Formally getting rejected by the “Match Game” people, I figured the best way to get over it is by watching the block of game-related programming America’s #1 Network (alphabetically) had in store for us this summer…especially since Early reports are claiming that it beat both the Olympic Trials AND the Finale of “Game of Thrones” in the ratings. So…what happened, and were the revivals in question faithful to the originals?


This is actually the 2nd summer that ABC is giving Steve Harvey; so going into it, the show is already an established hit. So what better way to capitalize on that success (as well as the Continued success of the show in Syndication) than to show a living, breathing example of “The Peter Principle” win it all for their charity? Somehow, with all the forces of nature conspiring to prevent it from happening, Kellie Pickler’s family somehow DECIMATED Lance Bass’ through a series of moments that would make the people in “Idiocracy” look like Rhodes Scholars. It all started at the top of the show with This moment…

Followed almost immediately by this moment of genius from Pickler’s sister, Caroline…

I guess you could say that’s “Typical” Feud, considering more often than not, they’re looking for outrageous answers anyway, so I can’t exactly fault them for that. From there though, things wound up going spectacularly downhill despite “Team Kellie” ultimately Blanking out the Bass family by a score of Way Too Many Points to Zero. This leads to the Cherry on top for this half of the episode (The ONLY half I watched, BTW…didn’t stick around to see Winston Zeddemore’s family Take on a Real Housewife of Atlanta). It’s Kellie’s turn to play “Fast Money” after her Sister-in-Law does surprisingly well. How does That go..

All due respect to the USO; but after such an undeserved win, the charity the Pickler family should’ve played for is the Krieger Mind-Brain Institute...and no, that’s not (just) an “Archer” joke. Insulting intelligence aside, it was still “Family Feud” and it was still faithful to the formula that makes it a success today; Steve Harvey played off the stupidity of others very well, the lights were bright, the answers were dumb, and if it got ABC good ratings, more power to them…what a shame TPTB probably saw THIS Clip one day and thought “Ratings Gold!”

A Friendly reminder, people like her can Vote…In Elections!


Moving on to something FAR more cerebral…


I always LOVED this game, though when I heard that Michael Strahan was going to be doing the duty as a host, I was a tad skeptical. I mean, yeah, he does well on FOX Sports, he’s doing good on GMA, and he’s smart enough to escape the clutches of Kelly Ripa & Michael Gelman, but can he be an emcee? Hell Yeah, he can be an emcee! Though granted, he was nowhere near Dick Clark caliber, Strahan actually did pretty well in moving the game along and bouncing off of the stars that showed up.


Now, unfortunately since ABC doesn’t seem to have any highlights posted from last night’s show, and I also don’t have a DVR with which to screen grab a couple clips, so it’s a little tricky to say just how good the show was in that context. However, The fandom in the game show community is probably one of the hardest ones to please, ESPECIALLY when it comes to reviving a classic. To which I say, just take a look at this promo:


Just based on this alone AND what I saw when it aired, they NAILED IT…NAILED…IT! The attitude, the ambience, the gameplay, the tension in the winner’s circle, the “Mystery 7” bonus is still in the front game (though there will be some complaints that there’s no 7-11 card in the game…oh well), the categories are still punny, the coo-coo still goes off for an illegal clue, the theme song is still the same (despite adding more hip-hop drums to it), THEY NAILED IT! Even the stars that appeared were into it. Sherri Shepherd & Anthony Anderson rocked it in the first half, Kathy Najimy & Donald Trump’s Worst Nightmare rocked it in the 2nd half, and I’m sure Dick Clark & game creator Bob Stewart were both smiling from beyond the grave over just how faithful an adaptation this was. And speaking of Rosie O’Donnell…


Obviously, I’m watching this one with a little bit of bias here, but I’m still watching it as a fan of all things retro. “Match Game” remains one of my favorite games, and it really surprised me that they would be bringing it back…with “Schweddy Balls” Baldwin at the helm, no less. This casting choice also brought a lot of skepticism; I mean, who in their right mind would even think of attempting to step in to the late Gene Rayburn’s shoes (Bert Convy, Ross Shaffer & Michael Berger notwithstanding)? Fortunately, Baldwin does just fine in the role of host…not “Rayburn” great, but not “Berger” bad. He’s perfectly serviceable, and given a few weeks time, I’m sure he’ll find the right rhythm. But Baldwin is Secondary to the show itself, the set & the music is a loving homage to the past (Orange shag carpeting & all) while still keeping an eye to the future. The stars on the panel is NEARLY identical to the type that the 70s would have, complete with a major-ish star in the first seat (“Unbrakable Kimmie Schmidt’s” Tituss Burgess), Rosie-O deservedly sitting in the “Brett Somers Seat”, a good looking woman in the 4th Seat (Debra Messing in this case), a Stylish, Richard Dawson-esque guy in the 5th seat (I guess JB Smoove sorta fits the description?), and another tasteful female in seat 6 (The flexible Sutton Foster). The only thing that sort of bugs me is that Michael Ian Black (though deservedly funny) is sitting in a spot once meant for Charles Nelson Reilly…which sort of makes me wonder if Mario Cantone was unavailable.

That aisde, the game pretty much acted like it picked up where it left off after getting canceled in 1982 (No, I refuse to count the “Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour” from 1983, or the 1990 & 1998 revivals, the show ended in 1982). Questions and answers were still salacious, the “Super Match” was still worth big money, and everybody seemed to have had a good time…and DAMN, do I wish I was a part of it. Otherwise, it looked fun & faithful to the classic, and I’m sure Gene Rayburn would’ve said _____________.


So altogether, ABC’s “Sunday Fun & Games” looks to be a hit out of the box, and hopefully this will inspire the American Broadcasting Company to give the green light to even more classics in the future……as long as they keep Kellie Pickler as FAR away from them as possible, I’ll be happy.



3 thoughts on “ABC’s Sunday Fun & Games

  1. Mark R. Meyer says:

    The whole block of programming was great. I was mostly worried about Match Game, but it really delivered. They have finally figured out that the salaciousness was secondary to the chemistry between the host, panelists, and contestants. Some people are bitching that the Donald Trump question was too political. In my opinion, he is the new “Howard Cosell” punchline and should be used that way all summer. Rosie surprised me in the Brett Sommers seat; she nailed it. Also, she may be the new Richard Dawson in terms of who the contestants trust in the head-to-head match.


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