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Fast Friends

Producer: Jay Wolpert
Host: Bob Goen
Announcer: Bob Hilton
Taping Info: November 28, 1984
Other Pilots: Slate lists this as #2
Made it to Air: Nope

Jay Wolpert first obtained game show fame by winning a Fleming-era Tournament of Champions on Jeopardy!, one of the most erudite game shows ever created. He then went behind the scenes, first as a producer on The New Price is Right before creating the 1970s version of Double Dare. The erudition began to strip away, as he came back with Whew!, Pandemonium and this one called Fast Friends, which has more rules than the love child of Steve Jackson and Avalon Hill. A mustachioed Bob Goen is your host, while the theme and some musical cues are provided by, you guessed it, Frank Stallone.

The first round is devoted to each captain making friends by running around the stage. Each captain is staked with 30 seconds and wagers an amount of seconds on the chance that one of the 32 people on stage can answer a question given by Bob Goen. If the friend candidate answers correctly, the clock stops and he or she is added to the captain's team. The player is allowed to see question before giving a time to wager, and the clock does not start until Bob finishes reading the question. If the first friend candidate asked does not give the correct answer, the captain must ask somebody else, and that somebody else must be in a different row, of which there are eight (in four sets of two, each with two potential friends). Seconds wagered not used cannot be reclaimed. This took ten minutes of game time, and resulted with Johanna getting a full complement of four friends, while John was able to get three.

Now that each captain has their friends, the chairs on the stage and the people who were sitting in them have disappeared, except for the seven friends. The captains are asked a multiple-choice tossup question, except that it's not really a tossup question, since John locked in his buzzer before any choices were given, but was given the choices anyway. By answering the tossup correctly, he then gained control and decided to pass it to the other team. The other team was then asked multiple choice questions, one at a time, all of them being in the form of answer A, answer B or neither. If a player answered correctly, play simply continued. If they got one wrong, they were eliminated from the game. However, if the captain answered incorrectly, they could not be removed from the game. Instead, one of the friends was removed. Once all of the team members heard a question, control went to the other team. The round was near its end when one team was left with only their captain. At that point, he or she could be removed with an incorrect answer, which gave the game to the other team, or more specifically the captain. The friends on the winning team were given an extra $300 for their trouble, the losing captain got a VCR the size of a refrigerator and the winning captain got a motor scooter. This took twelve minutes of game time.

The bonus game, or The Foto Finish (their spelling, not mine) was played by the winning captain for a chance at $10,000. A question was asked and the player was given eight possible answers. His or her job was to eliminate the seven people who were not the answer, rather than just giving the correct answer and saving seven minutes. Maybe because you won a whopping $100 per correctly eliminated answer. In one of the worst questions ever done for this kind of format, the question was who provided the singing voice for Lauren Bacall in the 1944 movie To Have or Have Not. The player's choices included two people who weren't born yet (Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper) plus other unplausible choices as Jim Nabors and Luciano Pavarotti. Not shockingly, after having to endure eight cheesy tympani-addled reveals, she won the $10,000.

It is has been said that a good game show can be described in 25 words or less. As you have read, it takes at least 25 sentences to explain the rules. Nor is it a good sign if your show without commercials takes 29 minutes. There's nothing that can really be saved here even simplifying the byzantine rules don't hide a boring game, despite the frenzied excitement of the first round. And you can only take hearing the beginning of Frank Stallone's "Far From Over" so many times or having to hear Bette Midler's "You Gotta Have Friends" as a commercial outro.

This pilot has been viewed 9946 times since October 6, 2008 and was last modified on Dec 12, 2009 14:46 ET
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