Arts & Entertainment

May 17, 2000

I Wanna Be a Millionaire
   by stacy <>

I read an article at Salon (yes, I'm a huge Salon fan and I think everybody should read it everyday; the stuff you learn there is incredible) the other day that said all of network TV should be grateful for that Millionaire show. It's bringing all those viewers from the wastelands of cable back to the basics like ABC, CBS, and NBC in a way that hasn't been seen in about a decade. Nevermind that only ABC is reaping the immediate benefits of this juggernaut -- the other networks should be (and actually are!) grateful. As an observer of pop culture, I find this development interesting.

As a longtime trivia buff, I find the show itself interesting, too. When I was in high school and college, I planned on trying out for the respective Jeopardy! tournament and winning the car or whatever it is they give in those things. Nowadays, forget Jeopardy, it's all about WWTBAM (or Millionaire, whichever abbreviation you prefer). The people on Jeopardy are always so calm and collected. They don't lose their cool, even when they do something pretty stupid, like forget to put their answer in the form of a question. The Millionaire people are a lot more.. real. They sweat, and not just from the nifty stage lights. Regis doesn't get every single word right when he reads the questions and answers, unlike Alex Trebek, the quiz show snob. They asked him to be on Celebrity Millionaire, and he refused, apparently on the grounds that it's just too easy and would dirty his reputation a little (if you ask me, it probably involves a little envy, too).

I called the number to get on the show a couple of times. I wasn't even close to getting to Round 2. Those phone questions were tough, at least they were when I called. I heard they "adjusted" them a little in an attempt to get more women and minorities on the show. I'm a woman, so I should probably try again and see if the adjustments helped. I think those first questions were much tougher than most of the things on the show (they are in the form of the Fastest Finger questions, not simply multiple choice, so time counts too).

You're probably expecting me to complain about how easy the questions on the show are. You're wrong. I think some of them are easy, but it only takes one $500 or $1000 question that you don't have a clue on to make you realize you're not as smart as you think you are. Be honest, that's happened to anyone who watches which, according to Nielsen, probably includes you. (Note: the preceding statement is tragically Americentric and I apologize. No offense to international readers.)

I'll let you know if I get any closer to being on the show. I'd definitely mention PFFT! on the air, and you can all say, "I've been to that website! I read it religiously!"

Yeah, I know, I'll keep dreaming.

Published: May 17, 2000
Editor: stacy

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