Saturday, December 15, 2007

MIKE & MERV: Part 2

Game day. We spent all morning and afternoon in a sealed-off room of the studio waiting to tape “Merv Griffin’s Crosswords”. You know how I feel about waiting. After technical difficulties, they fell behind schedule and they couldn’t even guarantee that all of us were going to get on the show. I took off work hoping to win big bucks and instead it was costing me a day’s pay. Too bad he was illin’, 'cause I would’ve giffen Merv Griffin's face a biffin' and who cares iffin I was forgiffin.

Still, one benefit of going later was that we waiting contestants got to see others’ episodes being taped via closed circuit. It became clear that there was a lot of luck involved. And you couldn’t win that much money anyway. Still, I was determined to emerge victorious. If I ever got to play.

So when they finally brought me down for my chance, I had my game face on. Which isn’t entirely TV-friendly, I know. TV shows just want their cast to have fun and loosen up, but I was focused. Plus I was friggin’ freezin’. Friggin’ AC refrigeratin’ the lights & camera. So when it was time for action for Merv Griffin I seemed to stiffen, but I was driven. Now it’s time to be relivin’…

Here's the first segment, with my commentary below…

0:07: I cut my last name out for the sake of anonymity on this blog. Though probably anyone reading this knows plenty about me. Like where I live, and that saying I’m “from New York” is more interesting for a Hollywood show than giving a shout out to Santa Monica. And that I don’t always give such a forced dorky smile. Usually I just glower.

0:18: I never heard of Ty Treadway before this show. I think he was some soap opera guy. And I don’t know if that’s his real name, but it sounds cool. Maybe I shouldn’t have cut out my full, real name: Michael Motorcross.

0:30: Okay, this is the only bit of friendly banter we had to endure. Since I talked about the marathon during my interview, for my TV soundbite I said I was training again. I have been running a lot, and am about 20 lbs. thinner than when this was taped, but I don’t think I’ll do this year’s LA Marathon. Also, I meant to say “…but I find it gives me good stamina…” or “helps build stamina” or “I’m better at putting words in puzzles than actually saying them aloud”.

1:23: First question. I knew the answer, but I was just getting warmed up.

1:52: I thought I’d had heard angry people exclaim, “Jesus wept!” but maybe not. Notice Ty mentioned it was from the New Testament. Notice I pointed out that my answer rhymed with the correct one. VERSE, CURSE… for a hundred buck purse, this rhyming Jew coulda had it worse.

2:07: Starting to get warmed up, though I nearly tripped up on the spelling.

2:20: Since Nancy beat me to the buzzer on this one, let me take a moment to comment on the dollar-worth of these clues. $50, $100… in the next round, they’re doubled, but we’re still talking chump change compared to most other game shows. And I’m not even talking those million-dollar primetime things hosted by schticky ‘80s comedians. Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak wouldn’t stiff you like this…

2:42: Now I’m starting to get on a roll. I may be showing genuine crossword puzzle knowledge, but my reactions to the Getaway ads are pretty forced. The deal with these prizes is that they’re all within 10 hours driving time of LA. Some of the destinations seemed kinda lame (e.g., Pismo Beach), but Indian Wells is near Palm Springs. And a few days there wouldn’t be too bad…

3:20: Gulp. I’m not worried about gambling money for the Extra question. But I was thinking in terms of words and now I gotta think in terms of numbers. Plus the dollar amounts were to the right, and the host was to the left and I didn’t want my whopping $200 to go down the drain…

3:48: INANER. Good crossword puzzle word.

4:20: Here’s the deal with the spoilers: Three people stand behind the first two players. If any of ‘em buzz in and get the answer right (and the first two players fail to buzz in or get the answer wrong) they switch places and the spoiler steals their podium – cash and prizes and all. In some episodes, a spoiler stole the podium at the last second and made it to the final round. In others, the spoilers switched back and forth several times. Would I hold my spot? Or lose it and BOOMERANG back later? The pressure was on.

Stay tuned for Part 3...


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