Review: “Let’s Make A Deal” Pretty Good, But CBS Picked the Wrong Game Show
By now I’m guessing a good deal of you have seen CBS’s revival of the classic game show Let’s Make A Deal starring Wayne Brady. I finally saw it online a bit ago and it left me with mix feelings. If you know of the classic version at all then you know this. It’s the same exact show, where people trade supposedly useless or hidden items for what may be behind a door, curtain, or box. Prizes can range from cash, cars, camels, and more. At the end of the show host Wayne Brady goes through the day’s biggest dealers and asks if they want to trade away what they’ve won during the show for a chance at the Big Deal which is in excess of $20,000 generally it seems. Only one person can be selected and that person takes home whatever is behind one of the three big doors.
Starting with the positives: Wayne Brady and co-host Johnathan Magnum did fantastic together. They had a great chemistry together which is needed. It didn’t seem like a typical game show because of this. It seemed like a Las Vegas stage show which is pretty appropriate since that’s where it tapes and it fits with the feel. The set was really great and kept a classic look while updating it to 2009. The prizes were fine overall, contestants were fine, games were fine.
I do have to comment on something a ton of people complained about, though. In the classic version, two Dealers got a chance at the Big Deal. In this version, only one does. Is there a reason people are complaining about it so much because I don’t see it. I think it’s a bit hypocritical for some of the people who complain about the Price is Right fans freaking out about really dumb stuff to complain that they aren’t doing this exactly how the classic version did. It’s extremely obvious they are doing this from a budgetary standpoint and it makes sense. Otherwise odds are they’d be giving away a $20K+ Big Deal plus $8K-$10K to the other player. That’s a lot for the budget. Is there some actual reason a lot of people are complaining or is this another case of, “I want this revived specifically as it was in the 70s,” because if this is the biggest problem for a lot of you, they did a fantastic job with the show.
I only saw two real issues with the actual show. One of them was the money being tossed around. I really can’t believe it’s 2009 and we’re tempting people with around $300-$1,000; which is basically the same amount they had in the 70′s. I’m not asking to be trading $10,000 constantly but come on. It made it seem like a joke. Also the show stretched unbelievably long in that hour. Half way through the show I was pretty bored and fast forwarding to anything that looked remotely interesting. I get CBS’s logic with the 60 minute Let’s Make A Deal but it just didn’t work out that well. But overall the mechanics of the show were as good as I could have hoped for.
Like I said, the mechanics were fine but something just felt really off with the show. Let’s Make A Deal didn’t seem like a big deal or anything special. The similarities to The Price is Right are bound to be drawn. I know this came first but I couldn’t help but think Deal or No Deal constantly as well. I kept thinking, “People are tossing away $30,000 like nothing on Deal or No Deal and they are trying to draw out tension in trading away $300 on Let’s Make a Deal? No thanks.” We’ve had the two elements of this shown driven into our skulls endlessly already. Again I know LMAD came first but I just couldn’t help but think this was nothing that great.
It’s why I truly think CBS flat out chose the wrong game show for the daytime slot. Watching this today made it unbelievably evident it should have been The $1,000,000 Pyramid instead. This isn’t favoritism talking. I mean Deal or No Deal is on so many times a day and The Price is Right is on right around the same time as this new show. It felt like nothing that I need to be around to watch, and that is going to hurt the show in the long run. There was nothing here that made me want to make sure I was around for the next show. I’ll be watching when I can but it was just, “Eh,” for lack of a better grunt. Pyramid is different enough from everything else on television right now to get a bit more attention and it becomes appointment television during the big money finals. To repeat: I’m well aware that CBS chose this because it was the easiest to abuse at the hour time slot and the whole product placement, but it was just the wrong decision.
So there we have it. I’ll keep watching if I’m around because I really want to see new daytime game shows but they did nothing to really impress me. It felt like the same old, same old. We’ve seen this before and we see it for hours on end each day already. In the end it just felt like a really missed opportunity for CBS to really get some more attention. I wish Let’s Make A Deal all the luck in the world and I want it to succeed very badly. Like I said, it’s a good show and they did just about everything they could correct with a few minor exceptions. But it just felt like nothing special and irrelevant at this time. Am I alone in thinking this? Pretty good show all-in-all but just left a neutral feeling on me.