October 11, 2010

Wheel of Misfortune

Every night, Beloved Spouse and I watch Wheel of Fortune. Every night for the past twenty-mumble-mumble years. I prefer Jeopardy but it is on during the day, and I swear when we do play it on a rare vacation day, he gets the plum categories.

Today's categories were NBA, Libraries, White People from Indiana, Moustache Grooming, and All Mahler All The Time. I didn't have a chance.

Even the final answer:

"Pooped on home plate prior to the 1990 World Series."

And the answer is "Who is Schottzie, big ugly dog belonging to then Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott."

But tonight and every night it is Wheel of Fortune. The beautiful colors sweep across the TV screen to open the show and the little Wise Ass known as Pat Sajak steps out with Madame Curie, known as Vanna White.

Vanna always wears a Bob Mackie-esque gown (think Carol Burnett on her old show) and enters in a flourish to the excited applause of the studio audience.

(Usually during the introductions, my impatient husband wants to answer some questions so he flips the channel to Millionaire and then complains about how the format has been changed.)

Back to Wheel. The category is "Philadelphia" and tonight's first puzzle is XXXXXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXXXXX.

Before anyone guesses it, Beloved Spouse yells out "Declaration of Independence."

Now this just ticks me off, and I steam a little bit inside, thinking of some manipulative ways for revenge. (Maybe I'll put a Plastic # 2 bottle in the Glass recycling bin! That'll teach him!)

After some commercials for constipation products, Depends, erectile dysfunction and incontinence drugs, Pat introduces the contestants.

I hate this part.

Hello, Pat, my name is Sadie, and I'm married to my wonderful husband Irving for thirteen and a half years and we're here with our awesome children, Whitney, Sidney, and Kelsey. My hobby is rescuing baby kittens and I work for a large unnamed company that processes dairy products.

And Pat says "Awesome" and Vanna nods with delight.

Now just how freakin' cheezy is that?

How about a real contestant who is a real person?

Hello, Pat, my name is Betty and I've been divorced from my alcoholic, worthless, lazy husband Norbert for ten years, and that sonnovabitch left me with these two worthless children, Norbert Junior and Norabeth. Both of them couldn't be here today because they are both doing community service for pot possession. I've been unemployed for six years, long before being unemployed was popular.

And Pat says, "Awesome" and Vanna nods with delight.

Moving on. Beloved Spouse solves more puzzles. The category is Before and After and the screen reads XXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXX, and before I can register that it is three words, Husband shouts out "Robert Lincoln Logs!"

Of course that is correct, but it takes the contestants eight more minutes to figure it out, and Sadie the Married Lady, wins the Prize Puzzle. She is delighted to learn that she will tour Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois to visit all of Robert Todd Lincoln's father's homeland.

"This prize package, which includes a week at the Dale, Indiana Ritz Carlton, is worth eight thousand, four hundred, and sixty two dollars," says Pat and the contestant jumps up in delight.

So the winner is eventually chosen and taken to the small wheel. Pat introduces her lovely and awesome family.

Who do you have with you tonight? The family stands proudly, looking like Total Dinks, in awe of the entire process. Now this, we could do. We have been standing proudly and looking like total dinks in our family for generations.

Now two things happen at the end that really make me go crazy. No matter the sex of the contestant, Pat guides them from the small wheel to the big board. For a female, he takes her hand. I've watched this show hundreds if not thousands of times. Who the frick cannot figure out how to go from the small wheel to the big board? It's not as if the place isn't well lighted.

Sometimes I fantasize about what I would do to Pat Sajak if he took my hand, leading me to the big board. (Right here is enough evidence to convict, mind you, or at least lock me up for a good long time.)

The final thing that makes me crazy is the inane banner between Pat and Vanna at the very end of the show, when you know the producers are yelling at them, "Kill some time." Vanna usually has a picture of her children at Vail, while Pat makes a comment that is so snarky, you just know he is thinking, "I get paid for doing this" to quote the old Steve Martin song.