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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve

Can you believe that today is the final day of 2011?  This whole year has been one that seems to have flown by, hasn’t it?

So, how was 2011 for all of you?  Good?  Bad?  Indifferent?

Well, I’ll tell you, 2011 for me was a year that was sort of like a boomerang year.  You know how sometimes you have a day that starts off bad, gets better midway through, and then ends terribly?  That was 2011 for me in a nutshell.

The year 2011 began on a really terrible note.  I had to have emergency surgery earlier in the year, which caused me to have my gall bladder removed.  It was a very complicated surgery which required the doctor to remove part of my liver in order to remove the gall bladder.  I realize that had I let it go, it would have eventually killed me, so in one sense, I am lucky that I ended up surviving.  Of course, having a twelve-inch scar across your chest that will likely end up remaining for the rest of your life is a permanent reminder of the fact that you almost died, so how could you forget such a moment?  Although the painful two month recovery afterwards certainly was no picnic.

2011 ended on a sad note as well for me in my personal life, as I had to say goodbye to somebody who provided happiness, great advice, friendship, and joy for a little over a decade.  It’s never easy to have to say farewell to someone you love, and let’s just say that Pierette’s influence on my life will never be completely lost.

2011 began on a rough patch medically.  2011 ended on a tragic note in a more personal manner. 

But, what about the middle months of the year? 

For me, the middle of the year was absolutely fantastic.  Certainly, it wasn’t all perfection, but it was definitely a high point.  I reconnected with some old friends from my high school years (probably some of the only friends from high school), and I met some talented, creative, writer friends who have actually helped me become a better writer through their commentary, constructive criticism, and compassion.

(How’s that for alliteration at its finest?)

And of course, 2011 was also a big year for this site.  It was on May 24 of this year that the first post on ‘A Pop Culture Addict’s Guide To Life’ was posted.  Two hundred and twenty-five entries later, the blog is still going strong, and I have to say that none of this would have been possible without the feedback and support that I have gotten from all of you.  To say that I want a career in writing is probably an understatement.  I want to make a career out of writing, and my dream one day is to make a living doing the very thing that I love to do best.  Knowing that everyone who reads this blog has given me so much support in this venture gives me the hope that my dream to make it big in the writing community can come true.  So, for that, I wish to thank you all for helping me confirm it.

So, what should I talk about for the last day of 2011?  For a while, I struggled with what I wanted to make the New Years Eve topic all about.  There were dozens of possibilities out there.  And given that New Years Eve falls on a Saturday this year, it would almost have to be expected that I end up doing a blog entry on an animated series, right?


Fear not, boys and girls.  The Saturday Morning cartoon feature will return next week.  But since today is a day that is meant for looking back on what the year brought forth, I wanted to feature a once-a-year program that did exactly that. 

It was a show that for years was an annual tradition for me.  Until recently, I never missed it, because it was the show that had the hottest entertainment of the year, sandwiched in a three hour long program.

And although a new host has taken control of the show for the last few years, it continues the tradition that began in the early 1970s by a man once dubbed ‘America’s Oldest Teenager’.

The show was also our ticket to the huge New Years Eve celebrations that go on every year in New York City’s Times Square.  When I was younger, I used to think that going down to Times Square on New Years Eve was something that I had to do in order to get the real New Years Eve experience.  Now that I am a little older, I’m realizing that the experience looks too claustrophobic for me to really enjoy it.  So to have this show take us down to Times Square so we could watch the ball drop on New Years Eve from the comfort of our own homes was much appreciated.  It was like we were magically a part of that huge party. 

That show, of course, is Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve, an annual tradition that has aired on ABC since December 31, 1974, but began two years prior to that on NBC.

For the first thirty-one years of its lifespan, the program was hosted by radio and television personality, Dick Clark.  In 2004, however, Clark suffered a stroke, and Regis Philbin stepped in as host for the 2004/05 broadcast.  Since December 31, 2005, the program has been hosted by American Idol host, Ryan Seacrest.  Every year, at 11:59 pm, the countdown begins to the New Year, and the host of the program counts down as the ball drops.  At the stroke of midnight, the new year begins, and we can count on one tradition occurring around that time.  Since the program began in 1972, we can count on Dick Clark giving his wife a New Years Eve kiss.  Even after suffering his stroke, Clark continues to make appearances on the show, and like clockwork, we still see him kissing his wife every January 1, just after midnight.

Just take a look at one of these ball drops just to see what I mean.  This is the one from 1994.

Hard to believe that clip aired eighteen years ago today.  Yikes!

But, that’s how much of a thrill it was.  Certainly, as an adult, you’ve seen one ball, you’ve seen them all.  But as a child who normally wasn’t allowed to stay up past midnight, New Years Eve was the perfect excuse to break the rules.  For many years as a child, I can remember going out to the store the night before with my parents, stocking up on snacks such as popcorn, chips and dip, pumpernickel loaves with spinach dip, and Cherry Coke or Crystal Pepsi (or whatever the novelty soda was that year).  Then we would eat said snacks and drinks while we stayed up to watch the various performances of the Rockin’ New Years Eve parties. 

Granted, other networks would air New Years Eve specials as part of their holiday programming, and all of them tried to compete with each other by getting as many musical groups as possible to perform.  But my family always tuned into Rockin’ New Years Eve because it was just better.  It just seemed as though the ABC special (particularly during the years in which Dick Clark hosted) had more artists to choose from, as well as a wider selection of musical genres.  One year, they might have had Mariah Carey.  The next, they’d have Brooks And Dunn.  It seemed for a while, every year got better and better. 

Take the first year that I was allowed to stay up late to watch my first Rockin’ New Years Eve special.  And thanks to YouTube, I now know when it was.  It was Rockin’ New Years Eve 1989, and the only thing that I remember about that year (aside from it being the first one I ever watched) was that Richard Marx was one of the performers.  It made sense, being that 1989 was a huge year for Marx in his singing/songwriting career.  Here’s a clip of that performance below.

Check out that mullet, by the way.  And, yes, I too sported a mullet in 1989.  Don’t judge me, as I bet most of you men had that same hairstyle had you been around in ’89 too!

Of course, Dick Clark probably had a lot of experience with booking these music acts for the show.  He was after all the host of American Bandstand for several years.

And here’s some trivia for you.  The first Rockin’ New Years Eve aired in 1972, to ring in the year 1973.  The musical guests for that year?  Three Dog Night, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Helen Reddy, and Al Green, just to name a few.

Over the years, hundreds of artists would take part in the special.  From The Pointer Sisters to the Spice Girls.  From Blondie to Ke$ha.  From Linda Ronstadt to Carrie Underwood, and everyone in between, there was something for everyone.

And the show has consistently been the highest rated program of all the New Years specials over the last few years.  So even after 40 years, the program is still going strong.

Although, one could argue that the show has really only been on the air for 39 years.

See, back in 1999, everyone was all about everything millennium themed.  When they weren’t building underground bunkers for the supposed Y2K disaster, they were wearing those tacky plastic glasses that were shaped like the number 2000.  Granted, the year 2000 was a big year for me, as it was the year I graduated high school, but other than that, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  Heck, I had to go to work at my part-time job back then shortly after midnight on January 1, 2000, so that wasn’t a great New Years Day at all!

But ABC was very much affected by the millennium bug.  So much so that the decision was made to devote the whole day’s programming of December 31, 1999 to the welcoming of the new millennium.  The event was known as ABC 2000 Today, and it was hosted by the late ABC news anchor Peter Jennings.  The special showed various places all over the world ringing in the year 2000, as well as kept us updated on whether there were exploding bank machines and airplanes plummeting from the skies (there weren’t) as fears of the Y2K bug were later proven to be misguided.

However, as a result of this 24-hour long coverage, the Rockin’ New Years Eve special for 2000 was cancelled indefinitely.  Although Dick Clark did do the countdown for that year (which only East Coast viewers in Canada and the U.S.A. got to see), there was technically no special for that year.  It was brought back to much fanfare for 2001 though.

But whether it was 39 or 40 years, ABC is marking the event with a special retrospective program before Rockin’ New Years Eve 2012 kicks off, showcasing all of the highlights of the specials gone by.  It’s slated to air on most ABC affiliates at 8 pm and will run for two hours.  I’m posting this entry as early as possible so you are all aware of it because I think it might be fun to look back on the show, and see if we can remember where we were when the show originally aired.

Although it’s been years since I’ve watched the show now (partly because I find Dick Clark to be irreplaceable as host, and partly because I haven’t been overly impressed with 2000s music), I may end up tuning into this retrospective special, as there are several New Years Eve parties that I wasn’t alive to witness, and it would be neat to see how much the parties have changed over the last four decades.

And, who knows?  Maybe I’ll even give the Rockin’ New Years Eve special another go-round...even with Seacrest at the helm.

I hope all of you enjoy the final day of 2011, and that you party responsibly.  Don’t overdo it, don’t drink and drive, and make sure everyone is safe at your get-togethers.

And have a happy new year!  I’ll be back on the first day of 2012 where there will be some changes to the blog. 

But that’ll have to wait until next year.  ;)

Friday, December 30, 2011

TGIF: Silver Spoons

Have you ever heard of the expression ‘born with a silver spoon in their mouth’?

Quite the expression, isn’t it?

The expression is best used to describe somebody who was born into a life of privilege and wealth.  Someone who has not known a life of poverty or hardship.

But do you know how the phrase was coined?

If we take a look back at the time period in which the Korean Joseon Dynasty, silver spoons were used as a way to detect poison in various substances.  Because silver is a metal with high reactivity, if it makes contact with other elements, such as sulphur for example, the silver will tarnish.  This made it very easy for people to tell whether their food had been tampered with via poison.  As one of the most common poisons used during that time was arsenic sulphide, the silver spoons were necessary to prevent assassination attempts on the nobility of the dynasty.

Kind of a rather morbid way to look as that expression, but it does make sense, doesn’t it?

Of course, in a less morbid fashion, silver spoons are a symbol of high class, as many people who lived during the Middle Ages would have them as a sign that they were doing well in life.

So, now that you know a little bit about the use of silver spoons in the historical sense, I ask you this question...have you ever known anyone who acted or lived as if they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths?

I know in my life and times, I’ve known a couple of people who certainly seem to fit that description.  And while I’ll readily admit that the thought of poisoning their food never once came to me, I’m sorry to say that my experiences with these people weren’t exactly the most positive.

As someone who isn’t normally a braggart by nature, sometimes when I hear people blabbing on and on over how much they have, how they have the latest gadgets, wear the most expensive clothing items...well, it annoys me, to tell you the truth.

Believe me, it isn’t jealousy.  It isn’t jealousy at all.  I just don’t understand why telling people how much you have, and how you can afford anything that money can buy is all that important.  If it were, I suppose I should find it in my heart to worship the very ground that Kim Kardashian and her siblings walk on, I guess.

I suppose that I find it difficult to understand how the other half lives because I’ve never been on that other half.  They say that some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouths.  In my case, I think even a tin spoon is too valuable for my situation. 

Well, okay, maybe my financial situation isn’t that dire.

But you know something?  Rich or poor, we’re all human, and we all have our problems that link us together.

Even those of us who are snacking in a different bracket than everybody else.

And I can’t think of a better example of this to showcase than today’s TGIF blog post.

Have you ever heard of a program called Silver Spoons?  Don’t worry if you haven’t.  Sometimes the show is hard to find considering that it was first released almost thirty years ago.

The show’s history was not unlike other shows that aired during the wonderful decade known as the 1980s.  Debuting September 25, 1982 on NBC, Silver Spoons ran for four seasons on that network until May of 1986 when it was cancelled alongside Punky Brewster. 

But Silver Spoons and Punky Brewster managed to find new life in syndication, and in the case of Silver Spoons, it ran for one final season in syndication, ending for good in 1987.

The sitcom is probably best known for its young star, a young Ricky Schroeder.  Some of you who may not have been old enough to remember Silver Spoons might remember Ricky Schroeder from his other high-profile role on the ABC dramatic series NYPD Blue.  But back when Ricky was a pre-teen, he ended up getting lots of recognition (as well as thousands of fan letters from pre-teen girls of the program) from his role as Ricky Stratton.

The series was produced by Embassy Television and was created by Martin Cohen, Howard Leeds, and Ben Starr.  These three men also worked on other sitcoms of the 1980s, including ‘The Facts of Life’ and ‘Who’s The Boss?’. 

The sitcom’s premise is made immediately known right from the pilot episode.  In that episode, Ricky Stratton is about to meet his father for the very first time since he was born.  You would think that the father-son reunion would be incredibly touching, and that Ricky would naturally have a lot of questions for him.  Questions such as, ‘who are you?’ or ‘where have you been?’.

What Ricky finds out is that his father apparently lives a life of luxury.  Upon setting foot at the front steps of the mansion belonging to his father, Ricky is excited to meet him.  He wants nothing more than to finally reunite with him and get to know him better.

But what Ricky doesn’t count on is that his father is more or less a 10-year-old boy trapped in the body of a 40-year-old man.

I’ve managed to find the first part of the pilot episode of Silver Spoons, which probably best introduces the main characters of the show.  Get a load of the pop culture references inside this clip while you’re at it!

Go ahead and click HERE to watch the video.  Go on.  I’ll wait.

Have you finished watching it yet?  Great!  Let’s continue.

So, judging by the fact that we’re introduced to Edward Stratton III (Joel Higgins) through him riding on a toy train track, dancing along to the Pac-Man theme music each time he plays the game, and the fact that he seemingly has a traffic light on his wall like Mister Rogers did in his neighbourhood house, it’s clear that he is a man who doesn’t like the responsibilities that come from adulthood.

I mean, the guy basically ignored all warnings from financial institutions and lawyers and seemed genuinely shocked that his cash flow was pretty much non-existent.  No more Pac-Man for him.

And then there’s the whole idea of Ricky suddenly walking back into Edward’s life, which stuns Edward immensely.  He isn’t even aware of the fact that he even had a son.  But then, Edward doesn’t seem aware of a lot of things.

The fact that Edward seemed oblivious to the fact that he was broke was just one of the many adult responsibilities that he ignored.  Of course, this wasn’t the only one.  Did you see the woman who made an appearance in the clip I posted?  That woman was Kate Summers (Erin Gray), who was probably the most level-headed person in the whole show.  She worked as Edward’s personal assistant, and more often than not, ended up being the person who encouraged Edward to face up to his responsibilities.  She also seems to have a bit of a crush on her employee, but it doesn’t seem to go noticed for quite some time, much to her frustration.

At any rate, Edward seems to be reluctant at first to accept Ricky into his life as his son.  Having had shirked off his responsibilities onto other people his whole life, the last thing he wanted was to bring his son into his messed-up life.  But when Ricky tells Edward about how his mother remarried, and how she sent him off to military school, he seems to have a change of heart and decides to let Ricky stay for a bit.  But, it becomes painfully clear to Ricky that the more he gets to know Edward, the more he realizes just how not ready he is to grow up and face the truth.

You know, I think it’s time to post part two of this pilot episode right HERE.

Because in part two, we see some conflict resolution happening.

Let’s begin with the case of the missing money.  Turns out that Edward wasn’t quite as big the louse he was with the company books.  In fact, Edward seemed to want to do the responsible thing by donating money to charities.  It was just unfortunate that the ‘charities’ he donated to were completely fraudulent.  One of Edward’s associates was stealing every penny, dime, and dollar away from Edward until he had nothing left.  And he would’ve gotten away with it too...

...if it wasn’t for Edward’s newly-found meddling kid of his.

After overhearing the business associate’s nasty plans, a clever Ricky manages to pull one over on him, and outs his criminal activity to Edward once and for all (although Edward’s obliviousness to it all was incredibly frustrating to watch).  At any rate, the business associate presumably gets his pink slip, and a grateful Edward wastes no time in thanking Ricky for everything he did.  Ricky seemed quite pleased with it too, for he thought that by saving his father’s fortune, it would help him see that he could be an asset, and that Edward would change his mind about letting him stay.

But, unfortunately, he asks Kate to drive Ricky back to the military school where he came from.  When a shocked and saddened Kate asks why, he blames himself for being a terrible son and a rotten husband to Ricky’s mother (it is later revealed that the two of them got married and lasted a week before pulling off a Britney Spears like annulment).  He feels as though if he lets Ricky stay, he’ll only end up hurting him more than he already had.

The thing is, he didn’t realize that he was also hurting himself by letting Ricky go again.

Which is why the last scene, where Edward disguises himself as a monster in hopes of scaring everyone else away to bring Ricky back to his home, was quite touching.  It was true what Edward said, you know.  Edward could sense that Ricky was miserable at the military school, and that all he wanted to be was just a regular, happy child.  Certainly with his child-like manner, and his having every possible toy ever made up to 1982, Edward could provide that for Ricky.

But having Ricky with him would also help Edward learn a few things about himself.  While it was true that Edward may have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had everything handed to him, he didn’t have to continue living that way.  With Ricky in his life, Edward knew pretty quickly that he would have to get his act together.  After all, he was a parent now, and he had to assume the responsibility of acting as one, no matter what.  But having the proper and mature Ricky as a son also contributed to Edward finding that mature side of his personality and developing it further.

By the end of the series, both Edward and Ricky ended up becoming well-rounded men.  Edward grew a little more serious, while Ricky discovered his playful side.

And they also discovered something else.  That they had a father and son relationship that most would be honoured to have.

So, if you’re looking for a comedy that has heart, humour, and all the 1980s references you can think of, I recommend Silver Spoons.  And, it’s a show that people of all economic backgrounds can enjoy!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday Night At The Arcade: Crash Bandicoot

This is a very big day for me in my own personal life and times, as this is the first blog entry that I will be doing from my brand new laptop computer!

I know that for some of you out there, this may not seem as though this is that big of a deal, but for me, this is the first time that I have even owned a laptop computer.  Prior to Christmas Day 2011, I did all my blog entries the old-fashioned way, which was through a desktop computer.  But now, I can literally take my computer anywhere I want wherever I want.  Heck, I could head on down to Starbucks right now to type out a blog entry while sipping on an overpriced chocolate-banana smoothie!

Of course, I’m not doing that.  I’m in my bedroom, typing away, reflecting on just how much I really was tied down before I got this laptop.  I even got a really cool plastic surface with a cup holder so I can type away without my laptop heating up to the point that my furniture catches on fire.  Believe me, we WOULDN’T want that.

Certainly as someone who is entering the laptop world for the first time, it’ll take a bit of getting used to, but I think that after a while, it will eventually become second nature for me.  At least I started the laptop revolution before 2012 got here, so I can truly ring in the new year with a new computer.

And, well, let’s just say that when 2012 gets here, there are going to be some changes to the Pop Culture Addict’s Guide To Life blog.  Some changes will be minor, but others will be major.  The fun all begins January 1, 2012, so you have a few days to adjust.

But just to preview some of the upcoming changes that will be happening to the blog, I’ll state this.  Today is Thursday Night At The Arcade. 

And, as of now, the December 29 entry will be the LAST Thursday Night Arcade posting for a while.

The reason for the change is partly due to the fact that my Thursday entries are typically my lowest viewed blogs.  I suppose the audience for video games is somewhat small compared to those who watch television or listen to music.  But mostly, I’ve decided to drop the feature because I’m running out of games to talk about.  My tastes in video games is quite narrow, and frankly, I’m running out of ideas to keep the feature going on a full-time basis next year. 

Of course, that’s not to say that I’ll be dropping the feature altogether.  In fact, I’ve got some ideas on how I can bring it back on an occasional basis.  But, I’ll have more details for you once 2011 becomes another page in the world history books.

But today’s blog posting is somewhat linked to the whole idea of change, and how one video game company revolutionized the video game industry by creating their own mascot for a brand new game console.

In 1995, Sony had tossed their hat into the highly competitive video gaming market by coming up with their own console.  That console would become the first edition of the Sony PlayStation.  Since 1995, Sony has become a force in the gaming world, and the Sony PlayStation managed to sell millions of consoles.  Within a matter of years, the Sony PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 would also manage to sell a huge amount of consoles and games all over the world.  Today, Sony is just as big of a power player in the world of video games, and is right up there in sales alongside the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s XBOX 360.

But when Sony was first starting out, they lacked one thing that their biggest competitors had. 

Sony lacked a mascot.

Back in 1995, Sega and Nintendo were the two heavyweights in the world of video gaming, and both of them had representatives that one could easily associate with the company.

Sega, for instance, had a cash cow in the form of Sonic the Hedgehog.  Since 1991, Sonic managed to make the company millions of dollars through the little blue hedgehog.  Nintendo had double the success, as they had success with both the Super Mario games and the Adventures of Zelda games featuring yet another Nintendo mascot, Link.

Even lesser known consoles like the Turbo Grafx 16 had a cute little caveman character named Bonk.

So when Sony was designing their PlavyStation console, Sony knew that they needed a character to represent the company, and hopefully with much marketing and fun games, they could have a character that would help generate the same exposure and sales that other companies received with their mascots.

Enter Crash Bandicoot.

The little red Eastern Barred Bandicoot first appeared in the Sony PlayStation game ‘Crash Bandicoot’, released on August 31, 1996.  Since then, he has appeared in no less than eighteen video games total, and has sold more than 50 million units worldwide.  A very impressive total, wouldn’t you say?

The background behind the creation of Crash Bandicoot actually began two years prior to his first game appearance.  In 1994, Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin were in the process of a cross-country move from Massachusetts to California.  Naturally, a trip that long was going to have a lot of downtime in between, so both of them used the opportunity to plan out a new kind of video game.  The early sketches they had come up with were jokingly referred to as ‘Sonic’s Ass Game’, as the player would be forced to look at the backside of the protagonist through much of the game.

All kidding aside, the two men had a meeting with a representative of Universal Interactive Studios, Mark Cerny, who agreed to help the two men produce their game.  Production of the game began in September 1994, through video game company, Naughty Dog.

Over the course of the next year, the development of the game took place, and artists were brought in to design the main character of the game.  Artists Joe Pearson and Charles Zembillas were brought in to design the main protagonist.  Zembillas would also be responsible for the design of another Sony PlayStation mainstay, Spyro the Dragon, in 1998.

It’s interesting to note though that when Crash Bandicoot was created, his original name WASN’T Crash.  He wasn’t a bandicoot either.  Instead, he was known as ‘Willy the Wombat’.

So, I ask you this question.  Would YOU play a video game with the cutesy name of Willy the Wombat?  It may have some appeal, but it seemed to me to be a little bit too cutesy-pooh for my personal tastes.

But, the name Willy least until the level development phase began.

By August 1995, three full levels had been completed, and a demo was prepared for submission for Sony Computer Entertainment.  It was discovered that during the demonstration that the levels were quite empty in certain places because at the time, the Sony PlayStation’s technology didn’t allow for the game to display many enemies on screen at a given time.   It was also discovered that the various puzzles that were scattered throughout the game were way too easy for players to solve.  Something had to be done to amp up the difficulty level of the game, and to find a way to fill up the vast emptiness of the levels.

Jason Rubin, however, came up with a tentative solution.  What if he created boxes that had a variety of symbols on the sides of them?  Ones that could be used to trigger puzzles that were planned for the video game?

The idea was for the boxes to be positioned in such a way that they could fill in the empty spaces of the game.  And the purpose of these boxes would be used to challenge the game even further.

Thus, the Crash Bandicoot crates were created.  In January 1996, the first crate was ‘built’.  And when the main character was used to smash the crates, the sound of the destruction was used to rename the main character from Willy the Wombat to Crash Bandicoot!

Now you know how Crash Bandicoot came to be!

And, Crash Bandicoot was definitely a fun and challenging game to play.  I owned both Crash Bandicoot and Crash Bandicoot 2, and I enjoyed them both.

And just to give you some perspective on how challenging the first game really ended up becoming, I’ll alert you to this.  I can fully beat the sequel to the game, but I’ve never beaten the original.  I know some of you hardcore games are probably coming up with comments telling me how much I’ve been pwned, but I’m telling you, I find the first Crash Bandicoot game to be tough!  Just have a look at the video I’ve included with this blog entry to see what I mean!

Here’s the thing with Crash Bandicoot though.  If you really dissect it, you’ll find that the game isn’t much more different than that of a Super Mario game or Sonic the Hedgehog game.

Take the items you have to collect for example,  In Mario, it’s golden coins.  For Sonic, it’s golden rings.  In Crash Bandicoot, you have to collect Wumpa Fruits...none of which are gold in colour.

Or, take the idea of bonus challenges that one has to unlock throughout the game.  Certainly Mario has warp whistles and keyholes to access secret levels.  Sonic has those Chaos Emeralds.

And Crash Bandicoot has coloured gems and pink crystals that he has to collect to be able to fully complete the game.  And some of these gems were NOT easy to find.  Sometimes you’d have to go through a level without breaking a single crate.  Sometimes, you had to locate a secret exit.  Sometimes, you had to beat the level within a certain time limit.

I’ll tell you, getting that yellow gem in Crash Bandicoot 2 was definitely a hair-pulling experience.

Something else the three games have in common?  There’s always someone you have to save.  Sonic has to save the forest creatures from Dr. Robotnik.  I’ve lost count of how many times Mario has had to rescue that stupid Princess Peach.  And in the first game, Crash has to rescue his girlfriend, Tawna from the evil Doctor Neo Cortex, who in turn serves Doctor Nitrus Brio (N. Brio).

Crash also seems to have a lot of mini bosses that Crash is forced to defeat in order to get close to the real baddies of the game.  He has to beat a demented kangaroo named Ripper Roo, a gangster wannabe named Pinstripe, a hybrid of a dingo and crocodile named Dingodile, and several other baddies.

And why wouldn’t Crash want revenge?  It was because of Cortex and N.Brio that Crash ended up becoming who he was.  The evil doctors experiments mutated Crash into the creature he became, as well as several of the other jungle creatures within the area.  Crash was supposed to have been used as a puppet for the evil doings of the mad Doctors, but at the last moment, he was rejected, as he was deemed unworthy by them.  His girlfriend, Tawna, is slated to be the next victim of their plots, so is it any wonder why Crash may harbour a little bit of resentment towards them?

At any rate, I wanted to end the Thursday Night At The Arcade feature with a bang...ah, erm...crash, so to speak, and I figure that this was a great way to do exactly that.

I hope you enjoyed the look back on these video games over the last year, and I’m sorry to see this feature go.  But as this entry is about embracing change, and moving ahead towards the new year, I felt that it was time to let this go.

But fear not.  You may see video games still being featured on other days of the week.  And I’ve got plans for Thursdays for the new year already set in place.  So, stay tuned to this blog, as many more changes are sure to come.

And maybe by the time 2012 arrives, I’ll have gotten more comfortable with the laptop.  J

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Across The Pond and Beyond - Spice Girls

Isn't it amazing how some trends in pop culture seem to explode in popularity, spend a couple of years at the top of the list for trends and fads, and then the following year, it dies a cold and painful death?

A sort of a flash in the pan, so to speak.

We've all seen it happen before loads of times in our lives. Success is something that we all strive for, and if we're lucky enough, we experience it and enjoy it. But, success can be fleeting, and can disappear as quickly as it came. Some people manage to avoid the one-trick-pony aspect of their success, but for every one of those, there seems to be ten flashes in the pan.

For every Madonna and Cher, there's a Jimmy Ray, Macarena, Disco Duck, and Xanadu. Movies, dance crazes and one-hit-wonders that were talked about for six months or so, but after a while were quickly forgotten about.

(Although, I do know quite a few people who have a cult-like interest in Xanadu, so what do I know, right?)

But this blog topic for today isn't about Xanadu. Instead, it's about a group of five British lasses who formed a group in the mid-1990s and took over the world by storm for a few years. With several songs topping the charts in both Britain and the United States, as well as a movie release and several dolls based on the girls, it seemed as though Girl Power had successfully taken over the world.  But just as quickly as it all began, the phenomenon screeched to a halt, and their popularity took a nosedive.

However, if there's one thing that we can take from the case study of this girl group, its that sometimes everything old can become new again. And approximately one decade since they hit it big, they reformed the group and made just as much of an impression the second time around.

Of course, I'm talking about the Spice Girls, the Across The Pond And Beyond for today.

Those of you who grew up during the Spice Girls heyday period between 1996 and 1999 probably know all about the impact the girlish quintet had in the world of pop culture. How could you ignore it? They were everywhere! In CD stores, in movie theaters, on subway posters, in Pepsi commercials, in videos...they wasn't a whole lot of places one could go where they could escape the Spice Girls.

When the Spice Girls were in their heyday, I was in high school. I believe I was in the tenth grade when the Spice Girls made their way into Canada, and for the next two years, it seemed as though everybody had gotten Spice Girls fever. During that whole year of 1997, you couldn't find a radio station on air that DIDN'T play a Spice Girls song unless it was one of those specialty stations. It was absolutely insane just how much this group of five dominated the scene.

And to think that it all started with this song.

ARTIST: Spice Girls
SONG: Wannabe
ALBUM: Spice
DATE RELEASED: June 7, 1996

It was a standard pop hit, written in less than a half hour. A song that somehow managed to make a word out of the nonsense term zigahzig-ha. It was a song that was about a simple subject...friendship between girls. Even the video accompanying the song was simple. It showed the group dancing through a hotel's lobby and banquet hall causing all sorts of commotion, made even more interesting by the fact that the whole video was shot in one take. Timing was EVERYTHING in the video shoot.

And somehow it all worked out. The song ended up becoming a number one hit in thirty-one countries between 1996 and 1997, and won an award for Best Dance Video for the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. It was also nominated for Best British Video at the 1997 Brit Awards, and as of 2011 holds the record for the best-selling single by a female group, with six million copies of 'Wannabe' sold. That's more records than any single by Bananarama, The Bangles, The Go-Go's, and Destiny's Child.

While I don't doubt the success of the single 'Wannabe' and several other singles that the Spice Girls released between 1996 and 1999, I for one wasn't into the whole Spice Girls scene. I wouldn't go out of my way to say that I hated them, but I think after the overexposure of the group combined with the fact that their songs were played almost ad nauseum over the course of my entire high school life, I grew tired of them fairly quickly. In fact, I'll admit to liking one and only one song of theirs. The rest of them range from mediocre to blah. I'll post the Spice Girls song I like best at the end of this blog entry.

To tell you the truth, while I wasn't a huge fan of the group when they were together, I will say that after the band split up in the early 2000s, they really seemed to shine as solo artists...well, at least some of them did, anyway.

And, just who were the Spice Girls? I'll introduce you to them all. In fact, if you click on the names of each of the girls, it'll take you to a link to one of their solo projects, as at some point, all five Spice Girls released solo albums. I'll let you be the judge as to which ones you like best, but in this case, I'll arrange this list via my own personal preferences from best to worst. Of course, this is merely my opinion, and I'm sure some of you will agree or disagree. But that's cool with me.

So, let's meet the Spice Girls, starting with the Spice Girl who I feel has bar none the best vocal abilities out of the five.

You know, I actually think that it was a shame that Mel C was given such a background role in the group. In most songs, we saw that Geri and Mel B (and to a lesser extent Emma) were the ones who mainly sang on the Spice Girls records, but Mel C mostly ended up singing the background vocals along with Victoria. I personally think that Mel C had the best voice of them all. I think that had she gotten the chance to carry a song on her own, it would have been a hit.

The example that I posted for her was the 1999 duet that she did with Bryan Adams, 'When You're Gone'. But really, you should check out her other solo work on YouTube or other music sites, because she has got one hell of a singing voice. I also think that just based on how she presented herself in interviews, that she would probably be the Spice Girl that I would most likely hang around with in the real world. Certainly her look was unconventional as compared to the more glamourous looking girls, but that's what made her stand out in my opinion.

Like Mel C, I also felt that Emma got somewhat of a raw deal in the group. And like Mel C, I think Emma also had a fantastic singing voice. The example I posted in Emma's profile was her 2001 hit 'What Took You So Long', but she's had quite a few singles to her credit as a solo artist, and now makes her living as a radio presenter in England. The youngest member of the Spice Girls, Emma often used to dress in babydoll dresses and would put her hair in Angelica Pickles style pigtails, especially in the earliest stages of the group. But as time passed, Baby grew up, and ended up becoming one stunning lady.

You know, I don't doubt that Posh Spice was good-looking. She was a fox. And, I don't doubt her power of celebrity (likely inherited from the fact that she married international soccer star David Beckham several years ago). And you know what, her solo songs while hit or miss with me do have a good beat, and in the case of the example I posted with her 2003 hit 'Let Your Head Go', a funny video.

But as successful as Victoria Beckham has been, she seemed to me at least to be a little on the cool side. Not quite as personable as Mel C or Emma. So, that's why she's in the middle of the pack.  I'm sure that if I ever met her in person, she would end up being very nice...but the odds of that happening are slim to nil, so let's not go there.  :D

Geri Halliwell...the Union Jack dress wearing red-head who ended up being one of the most heard vocalists on the various singles that the Spice Girls released.  She was also the one who ended up ditching the band first, resigning from the band in a well publicized press conference on May 31, 1998. That move would be the beginning of the end for the Spice Girls, as the band would end up going their separate ways after a lukewarm response to the band's first album as a quartet just two and a half years later.

Now, you'd think that because of the fact that Geri's leaving the band was the first nail in the Spice Girls coffin, I'd rank her higher. But, I can't. If you click on the solo example that I posted for Geri's profile (1999's 'Look At Me'), it's not exactly a song that I particularly like. I hate saying this, but a lot of Geri's songs were mostly forgettable. With cover versions of 'It's Raining Men', and original songs with some rather questionable and juvenile lyrics, Geri should have gotten (and deserved) much better.

I know that I have Mel B as the Spice Girl I like the least, and honestly I don't really think that's fair, as I'd probably have a tie between Geri and Mel B. To be fair, she was the first one that had a solo release, with a 1998 duet she did with Missy 'Misdemeanor' Elliot (which is the example I've provided up above). And, I will say that while Cameo's version of 'Word Up' was far superior, Mel B did a surprisingly good job with it.

Really, the main problem that I had with Mel B was the fact that she was a bit too in-your-face, and I felt that especially during the band's hey day, she acted in interviews as if she was constantly on all the time, almost making a point to out-speak and out-talk the other band members. It was even reported that Mel B. and Geri used to do a lot of feuding when the band was touring together. But, I don't dislike her. With recent stints on Dancing With The Stars, and her hosting the television program 'Dance Your Ass Off', her star may end up on the rise again.

So, as you can see, all five members of the Spice Girls had their own successes as solo artists (and some missteps over the years). But when the band reunited for a brief period in 2007 and 2008, the response was overwhelmingly positive, with some of their scheduled shows selling out in less than forty seconds, and had another hit single in late 2007 with 'Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)'.

Proof positive that one should never say never when it comes to making career choices.

Now, here's a little bit of trivia that you might not know about the Spice Girls.

Did you know that the Spice Girls were originally named 'Touch'? That was the name that was given to the group when it was formed in 1994.

Did you know that the group was managed by Simon Fuller, the man behind reality television juggernauts American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance?

Did you know that of the five members that would make up the Spice Girls, only three of them were around from the very beginning? When auditions went on, Mel B, Mel C, and Victoria were some of the first people to audition. Geri missed the first round of tryouts, but was included in the second, and Emma was brought on board to replace another member of the band who was let go from the band due to her not having the drive or motivation to be there.

Did you know that when Geri left the band, she still made an appearance in a single released after the fact? It's true. Although to be fair, the Spice Girls appeared in the form of claymation like fairies in the single 'Viva Forever'.

Did you know that Geri's Union Jack dress was sold at auction to the tune of £41,320? It was sold to the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada, and ended up netting Geri a world record by Guinness for the most expensive piece of pop star clothing.

Did you know that the Spice Girls made a movie called 'Spice World', released in 1997? Although the film did well at the box office, it was a critical disaster, and the Spice Girls ended up winning a Golden Raspberry Award in 1999 for Worst Actresses (an award well deserved as far as I'm concerned, as I couldn't even sit through the movie without changing the channel when it aired recently).

Did you know that there are plans in the works to come up with a Spice Girls musical? If all goes to plan, the musical (tentatively titled 'Viva Forever') could open in London sometime in 2012. Let's hope that the musical is received better than the film was.

And, well, there's more information about the Spice Girls that I could talk about, but I think I'll let you look around yourselves.

In the meantime, I promised you that I would post a video of a Spice Girls song that I actually like, and I'm a man of my word. This song (from the movie Spice World) is one that I can actually tolerate, and showcases Mel C's wonderful voice quite nicely.

From early 1998, here's the Spice Girls video for 'Too Much'.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Price Is Right: Breaking the Barker's Beauties

I've talked about how one of the things on my own personal bucket list is to be a contestant on a game show. That will not change until the day that it happens for me. I don't know what it is, but just being on a game show where you can have the chance to win cash and prizes just gives me a rush. I even enjoy playing electronic versions of game shows. I even have a couple of game show themed games for the Nintendo DS that I play fairly often.

I don't know. Maybe it all stems down from childhood memories of watching game shows in my youth. I still remember being a young boy loving the show 'Press Your Luck' just because of the cartoon Whammies that would pop up each time a contestant lost! There's just something about game shows that I find absolutely captivating.

Seeing the joy that contestants get over winning a car. Seeing said contestants chasing the frightened game show hosts all over the soundstage when they win the said car. That was just spontaneous fun! It was also kind of fun to watch the various bloopers that would pop up on game shows, and I think I remember those more than the actual winners of the game shows.

But you know, some of the most fascinating stories I like hearing about in regards to game shows are the behind the scenes stories that are told. Game show scandals involving contestants. Behind the scenes firings. Hosts getting involved in some unflattering situations. I love hearing about stuff like that.

Sigh...just call me a sick puppy, I suppose.

Anyway, for today's blog entry, I'm focusing on a show that is currently in its 40th year on CBS. Since 1972, the show has given away millions of dollars in cash and prizes, and has been fondly remembered for its pricing games, big wheel, and showcase showdowns. However, it also has a much less happy history, particularly with the women who modeled everything from evening gowns to minivans. The sordid behind the scenes tales from the various spokesmodels of this game show almost seemed just as entertaining as the contestants who appeared on the show.

Yes, The Price Is Right has had one of those runs that have been filled with lots of fun and excitement. And, yes, even some instances of accidental wardrobe malfuctions...

...but the show's also had a lot of behind the scenes turmoil, most of which involve the revolving door of ladies that have served as the show's models over its 40 year history.

This is a blog entry that I like to call...Breaking the Barker's Beauties.

Of course, everyone knows that the reason they were originally called Barker's Beauties was because of the show's most well-known host, Bob Barker, who hosted the show from 1972-2007. I say most well-known as opposed to original because Bob Barker WASN'T the first host. The Price Is Right actually debuted on NBC in the mid-1950s and was hosted by legendary game show host, Bill Cullen until the show was put on hiatus in the fall of 1965. It was revived by CBS seven years later, when Barker became the host for the next 35 years.

In 2007, Barker retired, and in stepped Drew Carey, who has hosted the show ever since.

During both Barker's and Carey's tenures as hosts of the long-running game show, there have been at least 25 women who have served as spokesmodels for the game show. During Barker's years at host, they were known as Barker's Beauties, but by the time Carey took over, they were simply known as 'The Price Is Right Models'.

Now, some of these models have come and gone without much fanfare, such as Anitra Ford and Chantal Dubay. Others have become television stars, or married television stars, as in the case with Gena Lee Nolin, Claudia Jordan or Nikki Ziering (though Nikki's marriage to Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills 90210 didn't last).

But looking over the vast history of The Price Is Right, it's amazing to read about all the scandals that have taken place over the years in regards to the models of the show. Some of them were fired for inane reasons, while others were involved in scandals involving producers, court cases, and even with the host of the program! A few of these models were only on air for a few years, but some had been on the show for two, almost three decades!

So, I thought that I would talk about some of the former Barker's Beauties of the program, why they left, and in some cases, the aftermath that followed. I'll do my best to remain impartial as I describe each case, but keep in mind that sometimes my feelings may come shining through. You have been warned.

For now, let's kick off the discussion, with the most recent model to be served her walking papers.


If you're a fan of the show and have been watching shows as recently as a couple of years ago, you may have heard of the model that Drew Carey affectionately dubbed 'Lucky Lanisha'. Lanisha Cole was given that nickname because it seemed that more contestants won their pricing games when she was the model featured than any other model. Of course, this was merely coincidental, but whatever the case, Lanisha Cole took it in stride.

That was until 2010, when Lanisha quit her job at The Price Is Right. Why did she quit? She claims that she was sexually harassed on the job by executive producer Michael G. Richards, and producer Adam Sandler.

NOTE: I'm not talking about Cosmo Kramer or Happy Gilmour when I say these names...entirely different people altogether.

Anyway, the lawsuit is still being processed as of this writing, but as TIME magazine wrote back in 2010, Cole filed the lawsuit on September 7, 2010, at the beginning of the show's 39th season. Cole, who began working on the show in 2003, said that things went smoothly until 2009, when Richards began dating one of the other models on the program (conflict of interest, anyone?). She claimed that he showed more favourtism towards his new squeeze, and started to treat her badly. He gave her trouble for breaking rules that Cole had never knew existed. As for Sandler, Cole has stated that one time, he burst into the model's dressing room while she was getting changed, and verbally berated her in front of all the other models for not wearing a microphone.

As of right now, nothing has been settled in court, and to most people, it seems like a he said/she said story. But Cole wasn't the first model to launch a lawsuit against the production team of Richards/Sandler. That same year, model Brandi Sherwood-Cochran (who worked on the show from 2002-2009), filed a lawsuit of her own, claiming similar allegations as Cole, plus an additional claim that she was terminated from her job because she had gotten pregnant. Again, no word on either lawsuit reaching a settlement is known...but given that two former models have launched lawsuits against the current production team, it certainly got tongues wagging. But, the legal troubles that Richards/Sandler are facing were pocket change compared to the ones faced by the host that preceded Drew Carey.


In 1975, a new model came onto the scene in the form of Dian Parkinson. Parkinson was no stranger to the world of modeling, having competed in several national and international beauty pageants during the 1960s (most notably winning the first runner-up title in the 1965 Miss World contest). Dian certainly made an impact on the show during her eighteen year stay on the program, and her sunkissed blonde look combined with massive sex appeal made her one of the more popular models of the whole show.

But then in 1993, Dian Parkinson left the show, with Barker explaining that she had left the program to pursue other ventures. The then 49-year-old Parkinson was promptly replaced with then 22-year-old Gena Lee Nolin. It was rumoured that the reason that she had left the program was due to her feud with other long-standing Barker Beauty Janice Pennington. While it was true that producers very rarely had Dian presenting with Janice just before she quit, that wasn't the reason why Dian left.

As the same TIME magazine article I cited in regards to Lanisha Cole's departure stated, the ugly truth surrounding Dian's departure from the show was revealed in 1994. That year, Dian had filed a lawsuit against Bob Barker as well as the show itself to the tune of eight million dollars in damages. Why? Dian claimed that Barker had made sexual advances on her, and that he forced her to have sex with him or else she would end up losing her job.

Although I was only thirteen at the time all of this went on, I remember being incredibly shocked by the news. Up until this point, my opinion of Bob Barker had been nothing but good. To me, he was the silver haired man who gave people cars, and who cared about controlling the pet population. The last thing that I (and probably millions of others) wanted to believe was that Bob was capable of such behaviour.

So imagine all of our shock when Barker eventually admitted that yes, he and Dian did in fact have a consensual sexual relationship for a year and a half. Mind you, technically Barker was single (his wife had died thirteen years prior to the lawsuit being filed), but still...the idea of the host of a game show doing it with one of the models. Instant red flag. Doesn't really matter whether it was consensual at all. The writing was on the wall, and the truth damaged both the reputations of Barker and Parkinson for a long time after that.

Of course, Barker kept his hosting gig for another thirteen years, and eventually, Dian Parkinson was forced to drop the lawsuit. But the aftermath of the lawsuit leads into the next model scandal...and by the end of it all, three models would end up on the unemployment line.


This is one case in which I am unable to continue my impartial stance. I'm just gonna come out and say it. I loved Holly Hallstrom. She remains my favourite Price Is Right model of all time, and I'll come right out and say it. Her dismissal from the program in 1995 was a travesty and should have never happened.

Why did I enjoy Holly so much? Well, aside from the fact that she always had a smile on her face and was probably one of the most fun-loving models that the show ever had, she was also the most unpredictable model as you never knew how a segment would end when she was a part of it. A lot of the times, she would get into situations where the gods of fate plotted against her. Sometimes, she'd hold up a price tag upside down. Sometimes the props she used would end up turning against her. Sometimes she'd have a wardrobe malfunction.

And for the love of God, don't let Holly ANYWHERE near kitchen appliances...

...and yet she STILL looked cute despite all those mishaps.

From 1977 to 1995 (barring a brief hiatus in 1983), Holly Hallstrom made audiences laugh in delight, and it's no wonder that years after her departure from the show, people still look back on her time there fondly.

But then in 1995, things started to go terribly wrong for Holly.

In July of that year, shortly before the show began taping its twenty-fourth season, Hallstrom was let go from her job after nearly nineteen years. Around that time, it was widely reported that the reason for the dismissal was weight related. It was reported on the television show Hard Copy that Hallstrom had been given prescription medication for health issues earlier in the year, and as a result of this medicine, she had gained fourteen pounds over the first half of 1995. Have you ever wondered why Holly was often placed behind huge cars and boats during Showcase Showdown segments? It was rumoured that her weight gain was the reason for it, although that has not been confirmed as true, so definitely don't quote me on it.

Now, if this were the real reason for her dismissal, shame on Bob Barker and the Price Is Right! Fourteen pounds. Big whoop. She still looked amazingly beautiful no matter what size she was. And, most people loved Holly's personality regardless of what dress size she wore.

But as more and more details were made public as to the real reason why Hallstrom was let go, it seemed to further damage the reputation of Bob Barker, and kicked off one of the ugliest court cases in the history of television production.

(Most of the following information comes from the words of Hallstrom herself, in a 2005 interview she did with then Showbiz Tonight host, Brooke Anderson, as well as an interview posted on

As Holly said herself in that interview, the reason that she had given initially for her dismissal...the one about her gaining weight was a minor issue. But the real reason she was let go was linked to the whole Dian Parkinson scandal of the mid-1990s. At the time of the scandal, Hallstrom wanted to remain neutral in the conflict between Barker and Parkinson, but according to Hallstrom, Barker refused to let Hallstrom take on the stance of neutrality. Hallstrom claimed that if she didn't testify against Dian in the court battle, Barker would have her fired from the program. Needless to say, Holly stuck to her guns, and she ended up taping her final appearance on The Price Is Right in the summer of 1995.

Of course, Holly couldn't very well say that this was the very reason why she was would simply be her word against his. But having proof from other staff members who worked on the show saying that Barker had wanted her gone for some time, and that the weight gain was his way of making sure that she would seek out early retirement, Holly decided to fight back.

She hosted a press conference in the fall of 1995, telling every media outlet possible that she was let go from the show because of her weight gain. Barker countered her claims by suing her for slander. Holly countersued citing that she was wrongfully fired. The battle lasted for well over five years. During the battle, Holly ended up losing her home and actually spent some time living out of her car. So, why did she continue fighting after she had lost so much?

She fought to prove a point. She wasn't going to be bullied or strongarmed into doing something that she didn't feel was right.

Can't say I blame her in this case. Not knowing what really happened behind closed doors, I can't really say who is lying, and who is telling the truth...but if everything happened the way that Holly said it did (and I believe that most of what she had said was true), then all it does is colour Bob Barker in a really bad light.

Eventually, Holly ended up having the slander suit that Barker issued against her dropped, and in 2005, ended up reaching a court settlement. But the damage had already been done.

While I'm sure that the last thing Holly wanted to see was for anyone else to lose their jobs over her personal battle with Bob Barker, ultimately, the battle caused two more models to lose their jobs with The Price Is Right as well, ironically enough for the same reason Holly ended up losing hers. Former models Kathleen Bradley and Janice Pennington testified on Holly's behalf in her lawsuit against Bob Barker, as well as three other staff members. In 2000, shortly after their testimonies, all five lost their jobs. Sounds kind of convenient, doesn't it?

For Pennington, she had been a fixture of the CBS version since day one. She had celebrated twenty-eight years as a model on the show, and when she was let go, she didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. Mind you, at the time she was let go, Janice was almost sixty years old, so some had the opinion that she had retired from the program due to her age. And we probably will never know what the real story is through Janice's point of view, because she had a hush clause, preventing her from saying anything about her former boss. 

For Bradley, however, she had no such clause. And when she was let go after a decade on the program, she wasted no time in telling media outlets that she believed that she was fired in retaliation for standing by Holly...just as Holly was let go for refusing to take sides in the Barker vs. Pennington feud.

Sounds just like a soap opera, doesn't it? Much more fascinating than a standard game of Plinko, wouldn't you say?

Truth be told, I was blown away by the behind the scenes drama that took place at The Price Is Right. Some of it may have been hearsay, but some of the tension that occurred was well-documented. It's impossible for all of us to know what really went on as none of us were there...but regardless of whether these events happened the way the parties said they had, it's certainly left a tarnished spot on the otherwise shining game show.

Despite all this though, I still do enjoy watching The Price Is Right. It's a fun show to watch, and it is filled with lots of fun and excitement. Maybe now that Drew Carey is at the helm of the hosting duties, the show will end up moving ahead from all of the drama that plagued it midway through its run.

Only time will tell, I suppose.