Ever since Game Show Network rebranded into GSN in 2004, most of their material has been hit or miss…well, mainly miss but you get the general idea. Sure you could count the hits that GSN has had in new programming on your fingers, but to count the misses…wow, you’d need some time to do that. Although 2009 seems to be a banner year for GSN with hits such as GSN Live, GSN Radio, Catch 21(which just got renewed for Season 3), The Newlywed Game (which got renewed for Season 2), The return of High Stakes Poker (which gets Season 6 in 2010) and reruns of both the $25,000 Pyramid and $100,000 Pyramid. Sure they had two of their biggest failures this year in the 2009 Game Show Awards and Big Saturday Night, but one of their biggest failures comes from 2008. This show was hyped up to be the next big thing for GSN. It was supposed to be the second coming of Lingo, Even Buzzerblog‘s Alex Davis was singing massive amounts of praise before it even debuted. When it actually did debut, it would become one of the worst shows that GSN has ever put out. It was so bad that it was pulled 3 months after its debut. Ladies and Gentlemen, here is How Much Is Enough.
Now I’ll say this about How Much Is Enough, it was really really bad. It pretty much was the epitomy of everything that was wrong with the genre at that time. Mainly, there was no gameplay, there was faux tension up the wazoo, the contestants…well, they weren’t as bad as the contestants that you’d see on Deal or No Deal or Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader but neither one of them were memorable, the set seemed like your generic game show set at the time, i.e. Millionaire lighting, Changing colors in the background, among other things. Pretty much all the game boiled down to was press a button and win money. Now, you’d expect to have a horrible host, especially for a GSN show at this time, but you’d be surprised.
Here is your host: Corbin Bernsen. He’s famous for being on LA Law, various soap operas and being one of the most memorable contestants on both Celebrity Mole seasons. On this show though, he was really really good. He interacted well with the contestants, knew the rules, really tried to keep it interesting and knew how to build the drama. Unfortunately, the show itself was one of the most flimsy formats to hit the airwaves. So, major props to him for at least trying to make this show good.
Then we get to the actual game itself and the show just takes a major nosedive right here. We have a money clock with a maximum value of $1,000. It’ll start at $0 and go up to $1,000. Whenever the contestants feel like it, they’ll hit a button and win the money that was on the clock at that time. However, if you’re the last person to buzz in then you get nothing. If this bores you now, then don’t worry there’s only like 18 more minutes of this left as the money clocks get bigger, but back to the first money clock.
As you can see on the screen a locked in sign. That indicates how many people have locked in Only the people watching on TV get to see how many locked in, the people playing the game and the audience can not. So, yay us. After the tension that the clock brings, the clicking of people locking in their totals, and Corbin’s haunting voice telling us the amount of the clock and about strategy, the clock stops. So now we get to see who is the greediest of the group with a nice little graphic at the bottom of your screen.
So, Deena gets no money for being the last to lock in. How exciting. After that piece of excitement, we get to meet the players. Corbin once again shows he is a very capable emcee here by having great banter with the players and all of that jazz. So, now we get back to the game, but this time it’s a $2,000 Money Clock. The crowd cheers for the larger clock just as Richard Karn doubled the points on Family Feud. But, unlike the first money clock, the clock starts at $2,000 and counts down to $0. Also, if you’re the first person to buzz in, then you get nothing. So, it’s like the $1,000 money clock, except played backwards. Boy, nothing spells excitement and great gameplay like replaying Round 1, but only reversed.
Again, to lengthen the game a bit, and to create more faux drama, they now reveal each score one at a time. This also leads to more interaction between Corbin and the crew, which is always good. It’s at this time why I wished that Corbin should have hosted the revival of The Mole. So, after we find out who’s the greediest again, we take a break and come back for another round of button pressing. However, this time it’s for $3,000 and played like Round 1 all over again. At this time, I’m starting to fall asleep. Not even Corbin’s great hosting is keeping me interested. After it’s played like round 1 and artifically lengthened like Round 2, we get a carbon copy of Round 2 in Round 4 with a $4,000 money clock. After that break, we finally get our last round with a $5,000 Money Clock. Now it’s still played as before, but this time the first person to buzz in as well as the last person to buzz in gets nothing. So obviously there’d be two people that played it cautiously and two that played it greedily.
As you can see here, This does nothing more but to lengthen the game and create more faux drama for the show. After we find out who was the greediest and the most cautious, we get our two winners who move on to the final round with their banks. The others go home. After the final commercial break we get the bonus round with, you guessed it….
More button pressing and one last money clock. The way the last money clock is tabulated is they take the winners banks, and combine them to make one last money clock. Just what we need, another money clock. Not only that, they’ve ripped off Family Feud’s buzzer system for the setup for this final round. Well, this lasts until someone presses the button and wins the amount of money on the clock, while the other gets nothing. So, the clock keeps on going up to it’s max until….
Derrick presses the button. Thank you Derrick. He gets the money while the other person gets nothing. Well, that ends the show, mercifully.
There isn’t much to say afterwards. The show is just so boring and has no gameplay whatsoever. The drama is forced, and it’s just not a really good show. Corbin however, is a fantastic emcee and should have another job. However, this show should never see the light of day ever again.
Game Show Garbage can also be found at Robert Seidelman’s own site here
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