Monday, September 13, 2010

I Want "Millionaire" Back

The past few years I've made a September pilgrimage to New York to attend a taping of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?"  Historically I've met up there with my friend Susan from Philadelphia, whom I hit it off with at my first "Millionaire" taping.

This year she decided to schedule her annual trip tomorrow. I can't go tomorrow for a couple of reasons. One, Wednesday is my designated day to call the unemployment office and start a claim. (The second reason will be the subject of tomorrow's blog.) So I was kinda bummed, but thinking about going on my own in the coming weeks. It's a fun trip. I like New York -- though I hate all the sports teams that play there. And I get a perverse pleasure out of setting my alarm for 4 a.m. once a year so I can catch the 5:30 Acela train in Providence that gets to New York in time to make the taping. There's something about reading a novel while taking the train through Rhode Island and Connecticut and into New York, hanging out at Penn Station, the bar across the street from Penn Station with the pretty waitresses, whose name escapes me right now, and taking in the taping of a game show that has an irresistible appeal to me.

Today I watched the season premiere of "Millionaire" on TV. They've shuffled the dollar values around, so you have no idea what amount of money you're playing for in the early questions. The hot seat is gone. Now the contestants have to stand at a table and talk to Meredith. The only surviving original lifeline is "Ask the Audience." A new lifeline is "Jump the Question," in which you can basically skip a question if you don't know the answer (you get two of these over the life of the game). And there are other changes that are just too complex and difficult to explain.

Here's the problem: I don't feel like I'm watching "Millionaire" anymore. It's morphed into a completely different game show. And it's not as fun. Now that I'm unemployed, do I bother spending $200 on train tickets and another $50 on food and parking in Providence and a beer or two at the bar in NYC, when I feel like I'm going to see a different and less interesting game show. Part of the appeal is the chance to audition. I suppose the advantage is that, you'll never really have to worry about missing the $100 question anymore, and since I am unemployed I should probably think about it as an opportunity. But it just doesn't seem fun anymore. And I've always been afraid of being on TV, worried that I'll humiliate myself somehow and it'll become the topic of ridicule at my class reunion.

What should I do?


  1. Oh, Phil, I would watch you on a gameshow (any gameshow)—I think you'd be terrific!

    And I've always wanted to be friends with a millionaire.

  2. I agree. You can do it, Phil! It sounds like a fun adventure, and you can live-blog about it!

  3. You are a prime candidate for Millionaire... I've been waiting to see you there for years...
    plus I promise not to ask you for anything when you win your million! :)

  4. you should definitely go... in fact, i should definitely go with you!!!!! can we go on a weekend? because if we must go during the week then i just wont be able to make it.
    and as for parking in providence, I can drop you off at the train station so that you don't have to pay for parking... let me know.