US vs UK Volume 6: The Weakest Link

Robert Seidelman: Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of US Vs. UK. I am Game Show Garbage’s Robert Q. Seidelman.

Chris Nelson: And I am TV Editor of MultiMediaMouth and host of The TV Thing, Chris Nelson

RS: This time around we’re going to cover something more current than what we’ve normally done in the past.

CN: Looking at a show that leaves me deeply conflicted as a TV critic, The Weakest Link.

RS: With the show finishing up a great 11 year run on BBC Daytime, we will be comparing that one to our daytime version. Note the term daytime because both of our nighttime versions were similar.

CN: I’ll just explain from the off why I’m conflicted on the show.

RS: Please do.

CN: I think in itself, the show is great, it’s format works, it’s not overly gimmicked (although it relied too heavily on a gimmick which it exploited to get popular, which subsequently hurt it), but the twists on the conventional game show it introduced, the team element and the tension side of it has spawned several dreadful game shows that have chosen to focus on those elements and try and emulate them, rather than getting a solid format in the first place, leaving us with a generation of game shows lacking any real substance or interest beyond their window dressing. So show = good, influence = damaging

RS: It’s like the infatuation that Deal or no Deal made on TV. Look how many crappy clones we got out of that show that just threw in a quiz element. You had The Colour of Money, Set for the Rest of Your Life, High stakes.

CN: Absolutely.

RS: Yes, the UK weakest Link gave us the biggest piece of UK Garbage there was in Shafted.

CN: Which is my cue for THAT clip!

RS: And Yes, I will finally do the long awaited Robert Kilroy Silk induction in 2012.

CN: I have some background information to give you for that one, just around his political career pre-media career

RS: Good, I can use it. But back to the US Vs. UK thing. We have 5 categories that we judge on. Those being Host, Gameplay, Presentation, Impact and personal preference.

CN: So then…host….Do we really have to look at her twice?

RS: No because when the show moved to daytime over here, we got a new host.

CN: George Gray?

RS: That’s right.

George Gray

CN: I know very little of this man, but I’m going to make a huge snap judgment looking at a picture of him, and reading a brief description of him and say that he would annoy my teeth out of my gums!

RS: Well, he toned it down from what he did earlier on, but when you actually see him host the show, it’s a different story. He is a good fit for this show. He knows when to turn the snark on and in a good way, unlike some wrestling fans that we know, but we won’t go there.

CN: How did he compare to Anne Robinson then? Because when she was on form, and didn’t work the catty remarks too hard, she had fun with it and was good, but too often she seemed like she was phoning it in and reading generic insults off a card.

Anne Robinson

RS: No, and even he made some jabs at anne at the contestants expense. One of them being, “Who here is still waiting for some british lady to ask them questions?”

CN: I like that a lot. I warm to this man

RS: Also, he was a great question reader, even knowing when to speed up reading the quesitons when tehre was about 10 or so seconds left on the clock.

CN: Anne Robinson did struggle with that too. She never seemed to be aware of the timing on the round. So in a spectacular show of backtracking…I’m leaning towards Mr Gray here.

RS: Not only that, he showed a bit of a great personality than Anne. He had great chemistry with the contestants.

CN: So George Gray is taking this first round then?

RS: It should be noted that he’s the new announcer for the US version of The Price Is Right, so there ya go. George Gray beats the Watchdog Queen herself Anne Robinson. 1-0 USA

CN: US vs UK: We do controversy.

RS: So now we do the gameplay. It’s pretty much the same game, but there are different nuances.

CN: Do tell

RS: The UK version is an hour long and has 9 contestants. First round lasts for 2:40, minus 10 seconds after each elimination. The max on the daytime chain is 1,000 pounds. The US version is only a half hour long with 6 contestants. First round lasts for 1:45, minus 15 seconds for each elimination. The Max on the chain is $12,500. The other difference, due to time is that while the UK versions final round had 5 rounds questions, where the US had 3.

CN: I will say here that I am always in favour of longer shows, because you build up a connection to the contestant, positive or negative, so the final conclusion means more

RS: So, you’d go for the UK version.

CN: I’m torn, the bigger prize makes the US version tempting

RS: Ok, but here’s why I’m voting UK. When season 2 of the US link came about, they changed up the format and chain. The top value on the chain became $25,000 and there were only 4 rounds. And after the 4th round vote, the two left standing went to the head to head, so if you were one of the smartest there, odds are you were getting ko’ed.

CN: Ah, yes that is a disadvantage. UK it is then.

RS: Uk takes this one: Tie Score 1-1. Now we’re on to presentation. Graphics were the same, and the set were the same on both fronts.

CN: The music?

RS: Exactly the same. So we have some minor differences.

CN: Such as?

RS: In the US version, they wrote votes on telestrators and hit a button to show their votes. The US version had audience members in black shirts and it looked even more eerily fascinating.

CN: I always wondered why they didn’t use the telestrators on the UK daytime. They had them on the primetime, so it’s not like they weren’t around.

RS: And the Primetime verison had audience members. So, point to the US it seems.

CN: Very much so.

RS: Ok, so it’s 2-1 US. Now to Impact. I don’t think its’ that much of a challenge here for the UK version. UK version lasting 11 years, while the US version only 2 in daytime.

CN: It was MASSIVE here, it’s a shame it’s going down with such a whimper.

RS: The last episode is going to be all of Anne’s crushes. I.e. we’re going ot see lots of eye-candy for most of the female contingent. With that said, It played second banana here in daytime to the usual suspects in Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Family Feud. So, it’s going to have to go to the UK.

CN: I’m surprised any male would want to appear on a show with such a theme for fear of having their essence stolen.

RS: Right. So we’re back to a tie score in 2-2. Now we have the tiebreaker in personal preference.

CN: Which is where my conflict comes in. I’m going to go with…..the US one. I think my contempt has overrun my admiration for the UK version.

RS: As much as I like the UK version, that first season of US Daytime was must-watch. So, US gets the personal preference and the win with a 3-2 score.

CN: That has to be considered a shock

RS: Yeah, the shorter-lived version gets the win. And for the next US Vs. UK, We do Family Fortunes Part 2: the late 80s to the end of the 20th century.

CN:  So what happens here? One of us gets voted off?

RS: Not really, we just look at the camera and say Join us next time for US. Vs. UK. Goodbye. *Wink*

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