#159 - Strip Poker
We'd rather keep this show hidden in tons of clothing rather than expose its ugliness.


Syndication, later USA (1999 - 2001)
Text by: Robert Seidelman

TVtropes is a website that talks about certain devices and and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations.  One of the tropes they use is the Berzerk Button.  It's when a certain occurance in a show happens that just sends you from zero to pissed off.  I have three when it comes to game shows.  One of them is the Prisoner's Dilemma endgame, another one is torture in game shows and the one that gets set off tonight is the use of nudity to get a show over. 

I completely despise that notion to get a hollow game format over or to sell a show that wouldn't have even made it past the pilot stage.  You have Dueling for Playmates on the Playboy Channel and you had Everything Goes on what could be considered the precursor to the Spice Channel, and the already inducted Naked Jungle that the main gimmick was nudity.  The difference between those shows and Strip Poker was that they actually got the nudity part right in their horrible shows.  Strip poker doesn't even get that right, nor does it get hardly anything else right.

The host is Graham Elwood.  Most people either know him for his stand-up or hosting Cram in 2003.  I'm kinda glad he got the hosting gig and also redemption in Cram, because he comes off as pervy here.  Not only that, he also comes off as pretty bad.  Graham would often lose his place when it comes to the game, especially if the guys are winning and the women are pretty much in their bikinis.  He also wasn't the best question reader here.  He would get better on Cram as well as his April Fools hosting gig on Whammy!  However here, he had no direction and was a mess.

He is flanked by Jennifer Cole.  She would also go on to prove she was capable of more when she did Sex Wars with J.D. Roth.  Here, she was relegated to the Elaine Stewart in Gambit role of pretty dealer who basically did nothing but vamp with Graham and deal the cards. 

Ok, enough pussy footing around, let's get to the gameplay and it's vapid as hell.  Two teams, divided by gender are competing for cash and hoping to keep their clothing on.  The mechanic of the game is stud poker.  Two cards are shown face up and the first team is asked a question that the other gender should know, as it's in their expertise.  So the male team would be asked a question on Soap Operas and the female team would be asked a question on the NFL.  If they are right, they get $50 and a member of the other team has to take off an article of clothing.  If wrong, the other team gets a shot.  Correct, $50 and other team takes off clothing.  Wrong, Other team gets $50 and you take off an article of clothing.  Also, control of a card to put in their hand while the other card goes on the opponents hand.  This process repeats until the fifth question where the card is face down, like how stud poker works.  After the question, the full hands are revealed and the best hand wins $250 and the losing team has to take off an article of clothing. 

Where to start with that?  First of all, you have the hackneyed primary line of questioning about the opposite gender's supposed strong suits, which has never worked on a game show EVER!  All shows that use that logic have failed miserably.  Sex Wars failed after one season and The Smarter Sex was axed after two weeks in syndication, and this didn't last long either.  Then, you have the rule that if you blow the question first and the other team blows it, you still get the money.  You're being rewarded for being stupid, which should never happen.  If this was played like Double Dare where you could dare your opponents to answer and if successful, you still got the money otherwise, the whole team takes off an article of clothing.  Since they're playing stud poker, they didn't even get that right.  Playing stud, you get two cards to start, with one of them face down.  So, you should get the second card face down if you're going to go that route with the first question being for two cards, one face up and the other face down.  That way, you don't have an uneven ping-ponging of questioning.  The payouts are dinky as hell.  Yes, I know this show is normally played for the oggle factor, but even then it's tame.

While we're on that subject, with the show named Strip Poker, the object of the game is to basically get the other people naked.  Here, they can't even get that basic principal right of the game.  They have everyone wear at least 3 pairs of pants, 3 shits and a couple pairs of underwear for the guys.  For the girls, it's 3 shirts, Pants, shorts, shorter shorts, bikini shorts, underwear and about 2 bras.  Nobody gets completely naked, like in a real game of strip poker, but here we get a super-tame version of the show.  It's like they're not even trying.

After two hands of Strip Poker, we play a lightning round of questions.  Yes, they abandon one of their only hooks for a generic lightning round.  After Graham reads a question, one of the two contestants blows a whistle.  No, I'm not making this up.  They have to blow a whistle.  Not only that, they're the same type, so if there was a tie, they threw out the question and went to a new one.  That's just lazy.  You couldn't spring for a cheap set of buzzers ala Beat The Geeks?  Each question right is worth $100 and forces your opponent to strip.  If wrong, they get the $100 and you strip.  At the end, the losing team strips down to their underwear, but it's pointless since everyone just strips down at the end and dances while Graham Elwood says goodbye.  If they're going to be doing that, then what's the point of the game.  If they're going to just strip down to their underwear at the end, why bother doing the game in general, since that's what the losers have to do at the end.  Can't this show get one thing right? 

Well, no.  It didn't get anything right.  The logo sucked, the set was lazily done and it just made you uncomfortable just watching it.  Don't bother looking this up on Youtube, even though someone out there uploaded a lot of footage from it.  It's the very essence of the term "Game Show Garbage".

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