Priced out

My plan was to win money or a car. If I won the car, I’d sell it. I’d use the cash for the wedding fund. Good plan, right? Sadly, it didn’t come to fruition.

I came home from The Price is Right seven hours later con un pedo en la mano[1]. Actually, I didn’t leave empty handed. I came home with a $25 gift certificate to Fantastic Sam’s and some stories about my day.

Needless to say, I was never called to “come on down!” to Contestants’ Row. All those people walked away with a decent door prize. Instead, I waited around for hours on uncomfortable benches, read more of Y: The Last Man and caught up with some grad school friends.

My friend Lucy asked me to fill a spot from someone who flaked from her 4-person reservation earlier in the week. I said sure. I like Lucy, she’s fun to hang out with and would make the day away from work worthwhile. I prepared the night before by briefly studying some prices in the Sunday newspaper mailers. That morning I got dressed in a UCLA t-shirt and hoodie since the show was for the back-to-school/colllege special.

Representing UCLA @ The Price Is Right

I didn’t have my heart set on being a contestant. If I was, I probably would have worn tiny shorts, a cutesy low-cute t-shirt, knee-high socks, big hair and gobs of makeup (think Hooters waitress). Or I could have relied on my personality and been more outgoing when it was time for the very brief group interview with the producers. By the time it was my group’s chance to chat with the producers, I’d already been waiting about 4 hours. I was tired, bored and couldn’t muster any excitement. I’m sure I sounded like the most boring education PhD student ever. I might have been better off I had said something like, “my dissertation is on the impact of watching The Price is Right on college students’ grades.” And then I’d say I’d found some positive correlations, especially for math grades and public speaking.

Anyway, the actual taping was entertaining and went by rather quickly. The set looks just like it did from the Bob Barker days, but now with a much thinner Drew Carey at the helm. We sat in the second row way up front, stage right. The contestants who competed for the big prizes on stage sat in front of us filling out prize forms and commiserating about lost cars and money. When we weren’t taping and being instructed on what to do (cheer loud, look pumped) and what not to do (take forever to come on down or make a guess on a price), loud pop music played pumping up the crowd.

Aside from watching the chosen contestants compete, the best part was the off-camera time with Carey. He was pretty entertaining and talked to the mainly college student crowd about his not-so-great college career (he was dismissed twice from Kent State for academic reasons and never graduated). He even gave advice to those who seemed interested in entertainment. He seemed kind of humble about his career. Naturally, he had great rapport with new announcer George Gray. I’m not surprised that Carey was my favorite part of the day since I enjoyed his eponymous series and Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

The back to school episode, also the final episode of season 39 (!), will debut on August 19th.


[1] My mom uses this phrase all the time. It literally means “with a fart in hand” but just think of it as being empty handed. The origin of this phrase is actually a cute story from my mom’s childhood. I need to double check the details with her and will post it later.


5 thoughts on “Priced out

  1. -k- says:

    “…tiny shorts, a cutesy low-cute t-shirt, knee-high socks, big hair and gobs of makeup (think Hooters waitress).”

    Is that how The Price is Right gets down these days? I had no idea. (My mental image is like, rollers and muumuus, or at least elastic waistbands.)

  2. Cool! I had a friend win the showcase showdown on that show when he was in college and had other friends try out for game shows and didn’t make it on, either. But the experience sounds cool, though!

  3. K,
    There was a group of about 4-5 women in a similar style. Only one of them went on the show. The other women were dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Pretty modest. I think the producers were strategic in picking one of that group since whenever their friend was onscreen as a contestant, they could pan back to her friends jumping up and down. Anyway, that woman got lucky that day.

    It can get boring waiting around. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone visiting LA for the first time. It kind of sucks up your day. I guess if you won something, it would all be worth it.

  4. That’s something I always wanted to do when I was younger. All bets were off when Drew took the helm. Glad it wasn’t super painful. I always imagined being really very bored at those shows. That’s an all day event.

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