For the Love of Game Shows – Technique

Game shows once held a special place in American pop culture. Beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, game shows like “Match Game” and “Family Feud” exploded in popularity. As the television became the center of the modern home, families gathered around the television to watch fun programs for the whole family.

Today, game shows have fallen out of favor with the American viewer; instead, they were replaced by reality television. While Steve Harvey’s occasional clip on Family Feud goes viral, it doesn’t attract the same “everyone’s gonna talk about it” type audience that Michael Jackson did on the Dating Game.

American popular culture has shifted from good, clean entertainment to over-dramatization. In entertainment, Americans craved extremes, and the networks had to, airing massive amounts of reality shows with increasingly ridiculous concepts to satisfy their audiences.

This Golden Age of Reality TV brought us some of the most important and cringe-worthy competition shows in entertainment, such as “American Idol” and “I Wanna Marry ‘Harry'” .

But these reality shows lack the wit and joy that were the hallmark of the original American game shows.

Where America falters, our allies pick up the slack. Internationally, game shows achieve much the same success as classic American shows and with far greater enduring power. What makes these shows so compelling over their American counterparts is their ability to embrace the weird and the fun. In the UK, ‘Taskmaster’ challenges a group of comedians and TV personalities to compete against each other by performing silly tasks such as hiding a pineapple on their person or doing the most interesting thing with a rubber duck. .

Or, the Korean competition show, King of Masked Singer, which spawned several Masked Singer spin-off programs internationally, is a prime example of a silly concept. Compared to its spin-offs, the original is untouchable. Rather than delving into the fun of dressing up celebrities in funny costumes and guessing who they are based on their singing voices, the American Masked Singer dives into serious matters. Namely, the show digs into its contestants’ tragic pasts or offers a redemption arc for publicly despised notables, including politicians.

A major pitfall of American competitions and game shows is the inclusion of political figures. The Masked Singer included former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and its next season is set to feature former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Dancing with the Stars received backlash for featuring former press secretary Sean Spicer in 2019.

Politicians should not be treated like celebrities. They should be held accountable for their actions, not sing “Baby Got Back” in a bear costume on TV.

The heightened seriousness of the American game shows also creates a darker, more stressful energy in the series, where the international game shows are much lighter. American competitions also fail in the overuse of concepts.

Whenever a popular show airs on American television, multiple spinoffs and carbon copy shows are sure to follow.

For example, “The Masked Singer” inspired “The Masked Dancer”, “Survivor” is similar to “Naked and Afraid”, and “The Amazing Race” and “World’s Toughest Race” are essentially the same show.

Not to mention the plethora of talent scouting shows that began popping up in the early 2000s and continue to dominate primetime television to this day.

In contrast, the UK manages to offer a variety of contests without beating a dead cash cow. Shows like “Taskmaster,” “I Literally Just Told You,” and “Big Fat Quiz of the Year” are quirky and fun and don’t have 100 spin-offs or identical shows airing at once.

The biggest flaw of the American game show is the networks. In a market where hundreds of TV channels and streaming services compete for audiences’ attention, greed takes over and ruins a perfectly fun time.

If only American networks were willing to give up lining their pockets in exchange for good audience enjoyment, then maybe American viewers could get a half-decent game show.

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