The Modern Dating Game: The Butcher's Dilemma

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I would argue that The Newlywed Game, when it debuted in 1966 with Bob Eubanks at the helm, was the first great reality show.  While The Dating Game may have pre-dated the production, dating is, by definition, and series of lies and half truths.  That thirty minutes was a just a litany of sexual innuendoes and bad choices -- more akin to a 1960's The Office than The Real World.   The Newlywed Game, by contrast, revealed a brief glimpse behind the curtain of hundreds of ostensibly happy couples' lives. is still rife with clips from old shows, the contestants' clothing immediately transporting you back to an era before the Game Show Network, where husbands and wives inadvertently let intimate private information about how they "make whoopee"slip to a syndicated audience.  (At the time it was the closest our still somewhat moral culture came to a nud3 c3l3brity pic dump.)

Today's iteration of The Newlywed Game is hosted by Sherri Shepard.  Oh how the mighty have fallen.  In truth, the only information I have on this woman is from a series of video clips from her time on The View.  I believe one of those clips featured her speaking against evolution and not knowing the answer to the question, "Is the world flat?"  Pretty damning stuff.  She also didn't think anyone came before "the Christians," so at least we know which kind of crazy she is.  While she may never choose sides politically, she now doles out points to whichever recently married couple knows each other inside and out.

I only learned that Shepard's Newlywed Game existed a few days ago.  You see, when we moved to our new house, the wife and I also got DirectTV.  This isn't a brag, its a fact.  One of the perks of this new format is that we now get the Game Show Network, a station that was until recently reserved for vacation TV.  When I pressed Enter on the remote, expecting a bygone era episode straight outta syndication, I was taken aback to see the brash Sherri Shepard announcing from the podium where the understated Eubanks had made a name for himself.

"Ok," I says to myself, I says, "Ok. If The Feud can switch out hosts successfully, so can the Newlywed Game.  It's that great a game," I says to myself, "It's that great a game."

The clothes are even better in Hi-Def
And then came the question Sherri Shepard asked each of the wives about their husbands:

"Ladies.  Let's imagine you own a meat store. And your husband's meat just happens to be on sale today for $10 an inch.  If a customer came in and wanted to buy ALL of your husband's meat, how much money would you say she needs."

Ho. Ly. Shitballs.

I am not making this up.  That is practically verbatim. The Newlywed Game, which for year continued to use its catchphrase "making whoopee" far after the censors began allowing words like "sex" and "making love" on TV, was now concocting (pardon the pun) word problems to ask how long husbands' dongs are.  That is quite a shift.

I paused the television and began screaming for my wife to come join me to watch this hilarity unfold.  In truth, there were a number of humorous elements already occurring.  The first guffaw was in the four second pause after the question was read, in which the studio audience worked out the word problem and realized what the host was actually asking.  It went: question, silence, giggle, gasp, laughter.  Perfection.

The second major hit with the crowd was when Wife #1 answered loud and proud, "Sixty Dollars! We have a measuring tape at home."  Boom.  Nuff said.

Let's pause here to let all you couples at home that involve at least one male partner to think about how you would answer this question.  Not the number, mind you, but what transformation of that number you would calculate to get the number that you would announce on national TV.   When I posed this very question to the wife of a couple I met the following day, her answer was close to perfect.  She advised to,"Round up."  Another popular choice was the "+1" rule.  Think about what you would do.  I'll wait.

So the husbands come back and sit next to their new brides and my wife and I strap on our emotional seat belts for the rollar coaster about to be unleashed.  This time as Sherri begins to read the butcher's dilemma, the audience begins laughing immediately.  Too early.  Before she even gets to the, ahem, meat of the question.  The wives are already blushing and the husbands look like cartoon goldfish opening and closing their mouths in confused exasperation.

She repeats the question.  Then you watch the guys eyes.  Husband #2's eyes are going crazy. Side to side to side, it appears as if he's searching for the emergency exit.  As if somehow if he could just make eye contact with an escape route, he could then propel himself off the screen and back into anonymity.

They start with Couple #3.  The husband looks at his wife, looks at Sherri, then swallows as he switches his focus straight ahead and says, "70 bucks?" His wife holds up a sign that says "$80."

"Ok, ok," the husband cheers.  It's clear that the goal of this round, for him, is to survive -- points or no points.  He has escaped execution.  So Sherri refocuses the spotlight on a new fish to grill.  "Husband #1, same question."

Husband #1 sidelong glances at his wife for a moment and then states, matter-of-factly, "Sixty dollars."

"I told you, we measure!" chirps the wife over the audience applause. I get the feeling that the dick length question was one the couple had planned on during their preparation for the show. Which is weird.

And then there was one.  Couple #2. Mr. Shifty-eyes.

Husband #2 has not calmed since the original asking of the question.  He didn't want any part of this shit. I would go out on a limb and say the sweat on his palms could hydrate the Gobi.  He doesn't look at his wife.  He's in his head, and he might even be . . . doing math?  Whatever the equation, he reaches his answer, "I'd say six . . . diiiiii . . . five? dollars? Yah, $65." And then, breaking the charade, he continues, "I mean, that's an important half inch."

Husband #2 is dealing in half inches.  Whatever he was doing in his head it was neither the "round up" rule nor the "+1" rule.  Neither of these rules consider the usage of non-whole numbers.  Only men asked to reveal the length of their penis, in inches, to a nationwide audience, get into their own heads enough to consider responding with an answer including a Lincoln.  To belabor this point, I'll remind you that if Husband #2 could, through the heat of public embarrassment, remember he was attempting to win a game show, he certainly wouldn't be making his wife's job practically impossible to replicate by including fractions.  But at that moment, Husband #2 wasn't focusing on a game show, he was focusing on his penis.  And we all know that when all a guy is thinking about is his dick, nothing good ever happens.

Wife #1 looks at her husband incredulously as she lifts up her sign, "$70."  It's over. It's finally over. All that matters to these poor husbands is that it's over. I feel the exact same way and turn off the TV.

To Recap: On the formerly chaste Newlywed Game, the producers asked a question which didn't even attempt to hide the fact they were asking wives to state their husbands' penis length.  In response, one couple measured up to the task, one wife rounded up, and one wife "+1'd."  The couples' reactions may not have revealed the entirety of potential outcomes, but they were certainly more than just the tip. 

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