Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Craving For "The Weakest Link"

Obviously, The Weakest Link is a 10/10 show for me. I'm not setting this post up like a traditional review, but more so like a looking back on the show in general. I named it the third best game show of the 2000's decade, because I also enjoy watching Jeopardy! and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and will stand by the fact that these two shows were very well constructed and either formed an empire or had an empire that grew larger (Jeopardy! removing their limits was genius and allowed for Ken Jennings to become the biggest game show celebrity, EVER!). However, The Weakest Link is an addicting game show that was a product that stood behind the demeanor of host Anne Robinson. For two years in America and twelve years in Great Britain, The Weakest Link was a noticeable game show on all accounts.

For those of you who don't know how the game is played, it goes like this. A group of contestants (nine in Great Britain, eight in America, six in America syndicated, the latter version should be forgotten) take part in a rapid fire game of answering general knowledge questions. The goal is to get consecutive answers correct in order to reach the prime target. The chain is broken with any incorrect answer, saying "bank" allows you to save the money you have, but forces you to start a new chain. Only money banked is carried forward. After each round, the players vote for who they think was the weakest link, and they are eliminated. This continues after each round until two remain. The final round is a best of five and the person with the most correct answers wins. In the event of a tie, sudden death is played until a winner is deemed. The game is winner take all, as everyone else leaves with nothing.

The best version of the show based off of quality is the British version. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show when it was on BBC America and have found a channel on YouTube that plays previous episodes of the show. The show remained Anne Robinson's show until she finally retired this year. Clearly, she was the star of the show. Anne Robinson was known for her mean, stern, and sharp demeanor, wearing black, and telling people when being voted off that, "You ARE The Weakest Link, Goodbye!" She also gave insults before the voting. Throughout the years, people began to warm up to her and admire her for her different personality that not many hosts hold.

I began watching the series when it came to America in 2001. I enjoyed the type of show that it was, the trivia, the voting, and banking, and how it was a vicious atmosphere. The show started with regular contestants, but then there were celebrity editions that were added to the mix. Unfortunately for the prime time show hosted by Anne Robinson, the show began to be overflowed with special editions by the second season. Not just celebrity editions, but also Anne lookalikes, Halloween, Christmas, a family edition, among others. I did happen to meet Fran Capo, who was a contestant on the record breakers episode, at a Bookfest. Unfortunately, the game show era that was high on the rise faded around the time of 9/11 and that, along with basketball games that overshadowed many episodes, put the series into cancellation.

The syndicated edition hosted by George Gray was an even bigger disaster. The show was half an hour, with less contestants, less time, and less money. It lasted two seasons, but George Gray was just highly sarcastic and abrasive, nothing like Anne Robinson. Another issue was the voting patterns. The game became a battle of the sexes, in which one gender would simply vote the other off the show. This show was never meant to be half an hour and was never meant to be hosted by someone other than Anne Robinson.

As for the show in Great Britain, everything was spread out successfully. The show had day time and prime time editions and in different studios as well. There was just the right amount of regular episodes, special episodes, and a ton of variety with special editions. There was a winners edition, a celebrity edition, a Doctor Who edition, a puppets edition, among several others. The questions were highly difficult, but more so during the beginning of the series than toward the end. The series was just an excellent pleasure and I find it to be highly addicting.

The series was bound to end sometime, but it is true that all good things must come to an end sometime. Another great thing about The Weakest Link is that it didn't fall victim to constant changing of the rules. Plenty of shows fell victim and made their reputation a bit sour, though it still left them with an overall positive legacy. I would definitely recommend the show and encourage people to check out the reruns and make the reruns that aren't in access available to the public. This series should NOT be overlooked. It's something really good! Check it or you will be a weak link! Goodbye!

1 comment:

  1. I did enjoy watching this show several years ago on GSN. When I saw a syndicated episode, I cringed and changed the channel.