March 07, 2007

Deepest, darkest America....

I found another little side-line job. It's called 'spending 6 hours at CBS and being a paid audience member of THE LARRY ELDER SHOW'.

That is what I did one fine Wednesday morning. I arrived at 8:30am and lined up with the other wierdoes who have nothing else to do. Actually, I had to send in my resume first because I was part of the "core group" of professional-looking girls that were put in the first two rows of the studio audience. Since we were *real* actresses, we were being paid more *real* cash for our trouble. Whereas, the others were merely *real* people. It was a relatively unspectacular event. The show was yawningly average, although - get this - they had a comedian/warm-up-the-house guy and a DJ there for us! To keep us motivated while we sat in our chairs for 1.5 hours with nothing going on. The DJ was about 75 years old and looked like Farmer Brown, but he had headphones and decks, so he must be cool, right? Snoop Grampy Gramps in da house! It was also a sweet little old lady in a hat's birthday and so the warm-up comedian took her onto the set and danced the swing with her. She was visibly thrilled to have been whisked on stage by a handsome young man and danced to within inches of her life.

What was really interesting, however, was not so much the crowd at my show, but rather...... the people who had turned up from all over the country for THE PRICE IS RIGHT. I had never heard of this show before but it's been on for decades. What is it? Well, it is a game show in which contestants are shown all sorts of consumer products - and it can be anything at all - and they have to name the item's price. Then they get big prizes.
I am trying to keep any form of judgement out of my tone as I tell you this. (Is it working?)

So, help me here... the biggest game show around is not one where people solve puzzles or answer general knowledge questions or sing songs, but one where you have to know consumer prices? Why? How many hours do you have to spend at Walmart, Target or The 99c Store (oops, not that one - 99c is the only price!) in order to prepare for this? Why would you want to do that while your friends are flexing their biceps to spin the Wheel of Fortune or preparing to be called weak links? I just don't get it. And "L'Amerique profonde" (deepest, darkest America) loves this programme! Is passionate about this game show. Whole families travel to LA from wherever in their RV's to camp on the pavement outside the CBS lot and hope they might be among the first idon'tknowhowmany people to be admitted as contestants.

There was a band of four young men from Missouri who had customised their outfits. Firstly, they were wearing denim dungarees and funny caps. Secondly, they had sewn pictures and letters on their denim dungarees spelling out THE PRICE IS RIGHT and their names. They had even practised a little dance number and sing-song jingle. They were rejected. I cannot imagine why.

Messages coming over the PA system directed at the Price Is Right people requested them to write their "LEGAL NAMES" on their entry forms. The announcer repeated this so many times, I was sure he was sitting in front of a pile of entries submitted by Chuck, Flipper, Billy-Bob and Moose. Maybe they didn't remember their legal names anymore? Maybe they wouldn't recognise them if they were announced over the PA? A stir and murmur went through the crowd as people repeated to each other, "Legal name? Is that what he jus' said? Wa'ssat?" It was scary. I wanted to take pictures, but I didn't have the courage. There were little old ladies wearing leopard-skin platforms that would have squished me. Awesome.

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