Rob Seidelman: Hello everyone and welcome to another rousing edition of US Vs. UK. I’m Game Show Garbage’s Robert Q. Seidelman.
Chris Nelson: I’m TV editor and host of The TV Thing Chris Nelson
RS: And this edition of Us Vs. UK is wacky, fun, crazy, outrageous and that’s Disgusting!
CN: Fun Hoooouse, whole lotta fun, prizes to be won!
RS: It’s a really crazy show, with two great versions.
CN: And teenage twins that kept Fathers everywhere interested in what their kids were watching
RS: That’s right. And we got 5 categories to judge this thing on. Host, Gameplay, Presentation, Execution and Personal Preference.
CN: Now I’ve never really strenuously fought my corner in this column, but I will vehemently support Pat Sharp in our first category
RS: I’ll say this, Pat made Fun House in the UK. however, I will say some of the awesomeness got cut off in 1997.
CN: Patman, not only a great host, but a respected DJ and a mentor for my personal favourite DJ Chris Moyles. The show in general did suffer in the interests of ‘modernising’ I’ll concede
RS: But still, He did a great job, cared about the kids winning and didn’t fake it like most kids hosts do. I’m looking at you craptacular guys from The Word.
CN: JD Roth, first of all I must comment that how that name wasn’t used for an 80s-mid 90s WWF Jobber I’ll never know
RS: Or how Pat Sharp wasn’t used as a name for a WWF Jobber as well.
CN: That’s very true
RS: He could have been the brother of Iron Mike Sharp as Copper Pat Sharp
CN: Now I’m involved with booking for a local fed, I must create that duo.
RS: Sounds like fun. But back to JD Roth. JD before Fun House was a child actor and was on Star Search and was a finalist. He parlayed that into acting on The Equalizer, As The World Turns and Tales from the Darkside. On Fun House, he did a great job.
CN: A more varied career than Patman then. I watched a few clips on youtube of him and he seemed a good kids host. US kids shows do have a very different feeling to their UK counterparts though, much moreso than the grown up shows, which is odd to watch when you grew up on the other
RS: Oh yeah, however about 75 percent of them were utter crap, but JD Roth and Pat Sharp weren’t in that 75 Percentile. However, while Pat was great throughout, JD suffered from a bad move that Fun House did from Syndication to FOX, where the people at FOX wanted him to be a bit…loud. Sadly, that’s what happened.
CN: Oh yeah, I think I saw a clip of that. It looks like he has the producer behind the camera telling him to amp it up all the time
RS: To which the show suffered from it, and was cancelled after one season on FOX. However, to say that JD didn’t work again after that is a supreme reach. He hosted a ton of shows afterwards and produces the smash NBC Hit, The Biggest Loser.
CN: That’s a good thing. So often hosts and actors are thrown under the bus as scapegoats for a bad production decision, but I think the case of this contest it counts against him.
RS: Sadly it does. I think both of us can agree that Pat wins this round.
CN: I’m glad about that. I had my rioting gear all ready. UK leads 1:0
RS: The next segment is Gameplay. However, it’s going to be a tie, because both shows were the same.
CN: Yeah, although I suppose we could compare the viscoscity of the gunge.
RS: Even then, it’s still the same. But to summarize, Two teams of two kids, usually between the ages of 10-13, competed in a bunch of stunts that was fun to watch and also sloppy as all get out. While the UK show had 4 stunts, the US had 3 because the US had two more commercial breaks. Both of them had a grand prix race, which will be talked about more in presentation. And the fun house was done differently.
CN: Did the design of the house change over time in the US? Obviously that comes under presentation, but it effects the game also.
RS: Yeah. They added a Glop Clock in the FOX Season which added 15 seconds of time, and instead of just prizes in the Fun House, the US had Cash and Prizes. But the show still had the same 3 tags and tag out rule.
CN: UK kids shows tended to like prizes over money. Usually kids shows have a tiny budget here, so that’s a big factor
RS: The Power Prize thing is different though. If you found it in the US Version, you won it, but in the UK, you had to answer a 3 part question to earn the power prize, but then the cash wasn’t that big, at the very most, the cash won was about $500 or so. The average prize was $250-350
CN: That’s a lot to a kid. The prizes were probably comped to the production company in the UK too.
RS: And the prizes in the UK version were…lame.
CN: They were of their time certainly. Not Bullseye or Blankety Blank bad, but we’re not talking games consoles and stereos either.
RS: The US also had movie passes for a year.
CN: Now that’s a good prize, and a big money saver for parents
RS: Grand Prizes were trips to Florida, Hawaii, and other fun locales. But with the tie, it’s 2:1 to UK
RS: Let’s get to the presentation.
CN: Both shows looked fantastic.
RS: While Fun House US had the great 80s look, Fun House UK had the great 90s look.
CN: It was REALLY bright and vivid. I remember watching a later episode with a headache once and suffering for it.
RS: Damn Pyrotechnics. The major differences start at the Grand Prix Race.
CN: The US didn’t have the ‘power lap’ for one I believe?
RS: No, nor did they have the Go-Karts either.
CN: Ah yes, it was pushing wasn’t it?
RS: Pushing or somecases, outright running, or they were given bikes to use, so it had variety to it rather than just one set format.
CN: Which is a plus and keeps things fresher, But Go Karts on a kids show was still a huge ‘wow’ factor as a kid. Of all the kids shows, Fun House was one EVERYBODY wanted to be on, and the Go Karts were a major part of that.
RS: You mean aside from the twins?
CN: That was why Fathers wanted their kids to be on.
RS: Hahahah! Anyways, now let’s talk about the Fun House itself. Both were awesome in their own ways.
CN: Big time. It’s such a unique set in game shows
RS: The US Fun House had different names and objects in their house to grab their tags, and it even had a pool inside the house. In Season 1, Season 2 the pool was made bigger and it added a slide as well.
CN: Did the US version have the zip line into the ball pool?
RS: No, our House had a bit of climbing and digging through stuff to get the tags, like a big refridgerator and in Season 3, Toilets. So, our version had various things to do in the house.
CN: See the zip line was awesome, but the presence of a water element gives the US the edge here. I mean… that gives you everything
But then the UK had real Go-Karts. It’s a tough one.
RS: How about another tie…Wait, I know how to break the tie. Cheerleaders.
CN: That’s a tough call, but I’m going to lean towards the US.
RS: US had the sexier cheerleaders, so they get the point.
CN: As attractive as they’re presented to be, the Uk girls annoyed the hell out of me
RS: US 2 UK 2
CN: Execution then
RS: Hard to call here, both shows are still fondly remembered.
CN: And despite many attempts here, nobody has recreated the format or captured the same lightning in a bottle with it again
RS: Same thing here with the US, but the same production company made the even better Legends of the Hidden Temple.
CN: Even better? That’s a gutsy call my friend!
RS: Who didn’t want to run through Olmec’s Temple?
CN: This is a good point.
RS: However I must disqualify the UK here for one thing. When the great Pat Sharp couldn’t come to the taping, they had to get the overbearing Jeremy Kyle to host the show in his place.
CN: Woah woah woah… Kyle presented Fun House? My mind has just exploded
RS: He presented 6 shows, I would expect Challenge to repeat those shows soon.
CN: Nope, sorry, I read those words, and they make sense in that order, but my mind is just refusing to accept them.
RS: “Kyle also presented 6 episodes of the Children’s show, Fun House, whilst regular presenter Pat Sharp was on holiday.” According to his own website.
CN: This has just….wow. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached a landmark moment at MultiMediaMouth. I have been rendered speechless
RS: And sadly, he’s coming over here in September to do shows.
CN: Yeah, but that’s going to be his talk show/human zoo. Not Fun House….
RS: Which we already have tons of those here, so he’ll be cast away like we did so many things back in the day.
CN: I’m questioning everything I ever knew
RS: So, do you accept the DQing of Fun House UK because of their miscasting of hiring Jezza instead of someone with some decency in their careers?
CN: Yeah. Largely on the grounds I’m no longer competent of mind to defend it even if I wanted to.
RS: Ok, so US wins this round. US 3 UK 2. And for Personal Preference….It’s gotta be a tie.
CN: Absolutely. I think this is the first show we’ve done that we’ve both held the respective versions we grew up with dear.
RS: Both shows are great, fondly remembered, and they’re fun to look up on Youtube. So with the Final Score US 4 UK 3, the US Wins this round! And the UK has another reason to hate Jeremy Kyle.
CN: Seriously….nothing left in my head. Just a distant chiming echo and a tumbleweed rattling around.
RS: Just imagine how great this would have been if UK Fun House would have been if Bruce Forsyth subbed for Pat Sharp or even Matthew Kelly from You Bet. Or to make everything full circle, Bob Holness.
RS: Well, when someone mentions Jeremy Kyle, it’s time to end things here. For TV’s Chris Nelson, I’m Robert Q. Seidelman. Goodbye everyone and make sure you always throw envelopes at Jeremy Kyle’s Head.
So the US takes this round in a tight finish! We’ll have another edition soon. Send any feedback to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks for reading!