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December 8th, 2001


The latest and greatest game show on USA is called, simply, (smush). I caught it for the first time last week and it’s not too shabby.

The concept is simple. Contestants are given a series of clues that lead to words or phrases, and they have to smush them together. For instance, a clue might be: Star of Malcolm X + A phrase repeated three times fast. The answer would be Denzel Washingtongue Twister. The first round of the game sticks to two clue smushes, but increase as rounds advance.

The next-to-final round is the most difficult. It involves making a chain of smushes between the final two players. Each part of the chain is worth more points, but when a player buzzes in, he or she has to recite the entire chain correctly. It gets tough when there are 7 or 8 mixed up words involved.

The final round is mildly disappointing; the last player is given a word or phrase, and clues for smushes that involve the word or phrase. For instance, a player was given the phrase “dot-com”, and the clue “A form of government that was popular in the Soviet Union.” The answer would be, of course, “dot-communism”. Do just five of those and you win $8,000.

On balance, (smush) isn’t overly difficult. It’s hosted by Ken Ober, former host of Remote Control, and takes place in what feels like the apartment of a well-to-do hep cat. There’s a bar, and a lot of people around – as if the game just broke out in the middle of a party. It’d be a very easy game to do at home, or at a party, I suppose.

The idea is good, and when I noticed it was a Jellyvision game I wasn’t overly surprised. It needs to be a little punchier, and Ober needs to bring out some of his classic sarcasm, to be a runaway hit. As it is now, it’s a nice diversion. Check it out. -pm

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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