At one time or another, we’ve all shrieked at the TV when some bozo blows an easy question on a game show. Once indoor voices are resumed, we’re tempted to feel tremendous sympathy for these poor souls. It’s only natural to assume that intense pressure brought on by crowds, cameras, and cash has caused them to become a bundle of nerves and choke, right? Wrong.
I personally have been one of the aforementioned bozos, and that definitely wasn’t the way it went down. The crowds, cameras, and cash have the total opposite effect, with adrenaline turning you into a sort of coked-up trivia nerd with a God complex. All eyes are on you, so clearly you must have all the answers. You truly begin believe that you know things, even topics that you know NOTHING about. Case in point-During the lengthy preparation process, producers constantly remind you to take risks and “really go for it.” After you get a few correct answers under your belt, caution quickly goes out the window. Suddenly you feel like George Clooney in Ocean’s 11. You’re about to pull off the big con! You are about to succeed where many (thousands? millions?) have failed!
And that’s how you fail. Your brain has been lulled into a false sense of security, and inevitably you say “A” when you should have said “C,” or say “Jerry Seinfeld” when you should have said “Katie Couric.” What’s worse, you say it with such conviction. Before you know it, the crowds, cameras and cash are gone and you find yourself in a Chipotle wondering where it all went wrong. It’s a very common tale. The house always wins.
But hey, at least I had a decent run before my fall from grace. I honestly don’t know what the hell happened to these folks during their truly epic bombs.
8. Enbalming Fluid Bomb (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire)
The Struggle: Embalming fluid is used in cadavers, so all this Millionaire contestant has to do is identify which of the four items is a dead human body. This is apparently harder than it looks.
7. Wolf In Jeopardy
The Struggle: CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer doesn’t give particularly stupid answers during his time on Jeopardy. It’s quantity over quality as he distinguishes himself with a rapid succession of wrong responses. That result lands Wolf $4,600 in the hole…and that’s just the first round!
6. Word Salad (Wheel Of Fortune)
The Struggle: On top of being totally ridiculous, this woman’s unique response to an easy word-puzzle is oddly beautiful.
5. It’s A Family Name (Family Feud)
The Struggle: The contenstant is asked to say a man’s name that begins with the letter “K”. Drawing a blank, he goes with the next best thing: a fast food chain.
4. Beat By A Fifth Grader (Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?)
The Struggle: On a celebrity edition of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, American Idol songbird Kelly Picker goes head to head with an 11-year-old to determine which country has Budapest for a capital city. Not only is she bewildered by the name, but she believes that Europe is a country.
3. The Price Is Wrong (The Price Is Right)
The Struggle: The Showdown segment on The Price Is Right features contents trying to guess the value of their prize package WITHOUT going over the price. So maybe $250,000 for a living room set and two motorcycles isn’t the best bid.
2. First Question Fail (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire)
The Struggle: He was feeling good, too! We’ll be honest, our heart goes out to this dude who’s clearly jetlagged all to hell and blows it on the softball first question.
1. His Achilles Heel (Wheel Of Fortune)
The Struggle: Reading is hard. This college student just had to pronounce “Achilles,” which was literally spelled out in front of him. Instead of saying the name of the Greek warrior, he blurted out an other-wordly word of his own creation. Things keep going downhill from there.
[Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment]