Amanda here. Dad's turning over the blog to me to post another essay I wrote a few years ago in a creative writing class. Our assignment was to write about an obsession we have, and I immediately knew my essay had to be about The Price Is Right. This essay has nothing whatsoever to do with Catherine, or James Neville, except that I'm sure they, too, must have loved The Price is Right, because who DOESN'T love The Price Is Right??? Also, while I couldn't find a way to work this into the essay, you can go here for a complete listing of all the pricing games ever played on TPIR. Ever. Complete with history and pictures and trivia about each game. You're welcome.
I am a lifelong fan of The Price Is Right. It’s true I’ve never been on the show, but don’t think I don’t fantasize about it. Often. I think it may be the only good reason to go to Los Angeles. I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t aware of the TPIR. Every holiday and sick day was spent in front of the television, taking guesses at the current cost of a Buick Skylark, or baking soda. When I asked my mother why this was, she responded that her mom watched TPIR with her when she was a child, a sort of non-response that made it sound as if she believed the act of passing on an appreciation for The Price Is Right was a key part of motherhood.
The Golf Game was usually my favorite; I’ve always been a big putt-putt fan, plus I liked the way Bob Barker always took a shot first. Something about that made him more human; clearly skilled but also fallible, since he seemed to only make the shot about half the time. Occasionally my favorite was the Dice Game, I liked the intertwining of luck and strategy. Obviously anytime there was a car at stake, you could count on a good time; Lucky 7’s and Any Number were two of the best. And who doesn’t love Plinko! It’s really just slot-machine randomness, but the way we all leaned left or right on our couches, nudging our heads, trying to steer the big, round disc into the $10,000 slot created suspense and tension of the variety not usually found on TV game shows. And oh, the disappointment when Barker’s Beauties brought out the “Guess-which-one-is-cheaper” Game (though I always knew my disappointment was secondary to that of the contestant who drew that short straw).
When Drew Carey took over, I was worried. But they did a masterful job of weaving the old in with the new, keeping just enough of the 1970s colors and kitschy props and replacing just enough tired ideas and technology. I still watch at every opportunity, and in fact once spent a full year of unemployment watching every day, reminding myself of the lessons TPIR taught me long ago: pay attention to the costs of everyday life; when given the opportunity, run down the aisle with exuberance; and if you lose, at least you got to play.
Jimmy LeDuke (I'd love to hear from you...feel free to comment below, or click HERE to send me an e-mail.)