Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Wheel of Fortune?

It hard to imagine that I would ever be writing about a TV game show.  It is even harder for me to believe that if I ever wrote about a TV game show that it would be about the Wheel of Fortune.  Am I really this hard up for topics?  

I have never ever watched an entire Wheel of Fortune show from beginning to end.  I have never done that because Pat Sajak, the long standing host, irritates the holy heck out of me.  I do not know what it is about this fellow but the word smarmy comes to mind.  

Smarmy?  I do not believe I have ever typed that word before.  Did I use the right word?  I looked it up because I occasionally will use a word that I am not sure of the exact meaning and get it wrong.  I do believe I used the perfect word according to the urbandictionary.com which defines smarmy as “A certain attitude often accompanied by a squinty look and a superior smile that makes you instantly hate a person. Similar to snobby.”  Yep, that’s it.

I did not set out to write a slam piece on Pat Sajak.  He has done quite well without my support thank you very much.  His popularity was so high in the 1980s, he even hosted his own talk show in 1989.  People were thinking he would be the next Johnny Carson.  I did not see it that way at all and thought he would flop.  The show lasted fifteen months.  

The Wheel of Fortune was created by Merv Griffin in 1975.  Chuck Woolery was the first host.  Sajak became the second host in 1981 and has been hosting the show ever since.  He obviously has plenty of fans as he has made a very very nice living hosting this show for such a long run.  I read he is contracted through 2014.  Good for him.  The last time I saw a bit of the show in late 2011, Pat did seem a lot less smarmy to me.  He is now 65 years old and smarminess, as we all know,  is young man’s game.  So, either he has matured or I have become more tolerant..  I am going with the former.

Why is The Wheel of Fortune even a topic?  Just this week it came out that good old Pat admitted to having hosted the show drunk more than a few times in the early days.  For some reason, that made him more human to me.  The stories were like “Pat Sajak was drunk behind the ‘Wheel.’”  So, the topic came up in conversation.  Perhaps, it was the hosting tipsy that brought out his smarmy side.

You cannot talk about The Wheel of Fortune, the most popular syndicated game show in the US, without talking about Vanna White, the hostess of the show since 1983.  Her job all these years is to look pretty and to turn the letters.  Early on she physically rotated the triangular cylinders that revealed the letters.  Recently she touches TV screens that reveal the letters.  I never understood her role after the letters went electronic.  I always understood her popularity.   She will be 54 years old this year and she’s still got it.

I am probably just jealous of both of them for having landed and kept their lucrative and cushy gigs for thirty years.

Maybe I will watch an entire show sometime...


  1. Is there anything on The Price Is Right? Love the article.

  2. a few youtubes on WoF