Volume 91, Issue 59

Wednesday, January 14, 1998



Game Plan

It can be said that game shows and talk shows often serve as an entertaining refuge in a procrastinating university student's life – reaching a pinnacle when one of Western's own was a big winner on The Price is Right. But in the politically correct scheme of things, it is hard to figure out why game shows would ever be watched by students in the '90s.

Universities are institutions of higher learning, supporting and promoting equality for all humanity. Game shows like The Price Is Right, on the other hand, are essentially sexist, racially deprived brain candy.

The typical game show plot (in the select few that still remain) portray a know-it-all, male chauvinist host and a brainless, Barbie-like model stroking some kind of product or pressing a magic button. Even Jeopardy, the only game show which appeals to some kind of higher intellect (and without the flashy sex-appeal), offers little answer to the category "gender and racial equality." We'll take "Why are there mostly white middle-class men on this show, Alex, for $1,000."

The roles played out on game shows are outdated and are no longer relevant to the changes society has undergone in the past decade. Has there ever been a female game show host? Could a man leave the same lasting effect that Vanna White has on her fans, who make her remain on Wheel of Fortune even though she is no longer needed to turn the letters? If today's society is no longer predominantly the nuclear-family, single-income, man-of-the-house model it was 40 years ago, then why do game shows continue to perpetuate the outdated stereotypes?

At least most of the game shows of the past have not survived into the '90s. These days it is the talk shows which dominate the airwaves during daytime television – for the reason that is precisely opposite of why game shows have lost their appeal.

Talk shows represent people from all aspects of society – with hosts and guests from all races, sexes, cultures and viewpoints. That is not to say talk shows are any more intellectual than game shows, but as trashy as they get, they do cater to a wider margin of the viewing audience. They don't solve problems, but they don't perpetuate any old ones either.

If game shows want to survive into the next millennium, they must take a lesson from their equally-unintelligent, but more representative counterparts – the talk shows: either change with the times – or it's game over.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998