#114 - Peer Pressure (aka Pressure 2)
Tryptophan sounds like a more apt title to me.


Syndication: (September 1997 - September 2000)

Games for kids are hard to do, but when you're faced with apathetic teenagers playing a game for peanuts, then it's an uphill climb.  When you have inexperienced producers creating a show that is supposed to take real life situations and make them seemingly care about them, it's really lame.  Also throw in a host who doesn't know what he's doing, an announcer who's so over the top that it's just pathetic, the lame plot device of a Magic 8 Ball, and the keyboardist from Singled Out, all in a set that looks like Stevie Wonder got his hands on Bob Ross's palette, and you have the recipe for one of the lamest shows in Kids Game Show History, Peer Pressure.

First things first, Let's talk about the host of the show.  His name is Nick Spano.  If I could make a list of the worst Kids game show hosts, Nick Spano would get the 3 spot, behind Skip Lackey and Phil Moore.  He tries so hard to be hip and cool and all of that nonsense, that he forgets that his main job is to keep the game moving and not sound like a total dumbass.  Not only that, in some cases, he berates the contestants and makes fun of them, which is equally lame.  In reality, he is a fake hipster who hardly keeps the game moving and sounds like a complete dumbass.  It should also be noted that before this show, he's known for starring in the Disney sitcom, Even Stevens.  Needless to say, his acting chops there of acting all hip and everything really didn't help him here.

Valerie Rae Miller is your co-host and she's just as loud as Nick.  Well, when she isn't reading prize copy.  Unlike Spano, Valerie does have experience hosting, but it was with Ryan Seacrest hosting the second season of Gladiators 2000.  While she learned not to be as hyper as she was on that show, she's still bad.  She also helps out with being the question reader for the Decision part of the show.  Even then, she's still annoying as hell.  Piano Boy Jon Urnst is on this show, but for no other reason than to play the theme song, which is just for bars of music looped over and over again. I wouldn't complain about the music, except for the fact it was just plain awful.  I'd rather listen to the Singing incarnation of the Shop til You Drop theme from JD Roberto's version on a constant loop than this.

Gameplay time, here's what happenes.  3 contestants from the age of 12-17 compete on a real life game board ala The Mad Dash or Video Villiage.  In order to move, the contestants have to correctly work their way through one of 4 categories of questions/stunts/whatever.  What you do is what comes up on the Magic 8 Ball.  Here's where it gets unfair, the number that comes with the event is random, save for two of them.  Conceivably, you can get low balled and your opponents can get high numbers of moves to earn.  It's just pathetic. They each take turns playing out various situations.  I'll explain them to you right now....

The first one is Decision.  Valerie rushes out and reads off a situation in which a moral decision with a yes or no answer.  It doesn't sound bad, but the horrible thing is that the answer is determined by the Studio Audience, or as the show calls it, The Peer Group.  So, you can get a good question, but then the answer from the peer group could ruin it.  The contestant must guess the answer that the majority of the Peer Group said.  Get it right and get the moves.  It seems really half-cocked at best. 

Next is Odd Job.  Sadly I'm not talking about the awesome James Bond character, but I'm referring to a really lame stunt you have to do, like having to dig through a couch to find $2.00 in change to give to Valerie, which is a lame subject at that.  Complete the task and get the moves.  It's generic and it's pathetic....

And on that note we have the Fast Track, which is just like the Odd-Job situation but harder and always worth 8 spaces.  Like for example, making a shot in Shuffleboard behind your back and legs.  These are just as bad as the odd-jobs and take up way too much time than need be.

Last one is the lone bright spot on the show, Temptation.  Only 2 spaces for this one, but Valerie will offer a prize, like Tower Records gift certificates, small TVs, boom boxes and other fun things.  Taking it sends you back 2 spaces, however rejecting it earns 2 spaces.  Not much to say about this one, save the prizes are dinky at best.

In the middle of the game, a pop quiz will happen.  Nick will ask a question and the contestants must race to the buzzers which are on two opposite ends of the set.  The contestant that buzzes in is the only one that gets to answer.  Right answer earns 3 spaces, wrong answer would penalize the contestant 3 moves.  Kinda harsh, but then again, they had to mess up almost everything on this show.  Anyways, the two players that had made the most progress on the board move on to the pressure cooker round and the loser....

Is forced to hand out Pizza or hot dogs or hamburgers to the peer group after the show.  It's really pathetic and more humiliating than anything else.  Now I know why this show sucked.  This is a big reason.

And finally the Pressure Cooker round.  Basically it's the same as the Decision situation.  The two players have one side of the Peer Group to themselves and have to correctly predict their response to a situation that Nick reads.  First to three correct responses wins.  This is just a lazy way to do an end game by recycling one of the weakest aspects of your show in the morality issues questions and making it the most important one.  The winner gets a slightly more expensive prize than the temptations, ala a Stereo System, TV/VCR combo among other things.

Oh Before I go, this show has teh absolute worst set for a kids game show.  The floor looks like someone puked on it, there are various objects everywhere, it looks like a really messed up teenagers bedroom.  I mean, game show sets are supposed to be visually interesting, like the Fun House set or even this show's partner show in syndication, Click.  It's like they just didn't try.

And to make matters worse, they got renewed for Season 2, but instead of fixing the show and making new episodes, they went the most pathetic route and re-edited the episodes from Season 1 to edit out all of the Magic 8-Ball parts and have the situation and moves pop up out of nowhere.  To make it seem even lamer, they ripped off VH1's Pop-up Video and attached lame facts about the show and everything else as well.  They did everything to make them look like new episodes, but it was just putting lipstick on a pig. 

To even further the banality, it even got a third season.  However, to pattern it with their new show Pressure 1, which will be talked about next week, they changed the name of the show to Pressure 2.  In order for it to make sense, they edited out the word Peer out of the show's opening and whenever they took it to break.  Yet, they didn't have the sense to blur the word Peer from the set itself.  It's now putting the dress and earrings on the pig.  Yay for idiocracy!

There are bad kids game shows, and then there's this show.  Aside from the Temptation part, the rest of teh show was utter garbage.  It's the pure essence of Game Show Garbage.  A Terrible host, a hackneyed format, a pathetic looking set and music score, and contestants who look like they'd rather be anywhere else.

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