Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bye bye, Bob.

Of late the nation has been mourning the retirement of Bob Barker, but I have been cheering. Why, you ask? Well, pull up a La-Z-Boy and I'll tell you....

It was summer 1998, and we, the BYU Writing Center tutors, were road trippin' to sunny Cali, golden tickets in hand. No, not the Chocolate Factory: The Price Is Right. The glitter! The kitsch! Only our ringleader was a fan of the show, but we were all American enough to know that we were on a pilgrimage to one of the greatest and oldest shrines to Consumerism. Truly a holy errand. Would we win a dinette set? A boat? Eternal youth? A "Hi, Mom" on national television? The possibilities were endless.

We lined up outside the studio on that hap-happy day in our specially-made t-shirts (see picture). Even the most jaded were all bounce and giggle as we got our name badges and were interviewed by the Enthusiasm Judges outside the door.

Judge: "Why do you want to be on the show?"

Normally Sullen Male Coworker: "Because, you know, it's just, like, an American institution! And I want to meet Bob Barker! Woo hoo!" [demonstrates his Price Is Right bounce-and-clap]

Of course, Normally Sullen Male Coworker was not ultimately chosen as a contestant because, despite his articulate enthusiasm, he lacked big bouncy bosoms.

We filed into the studio and..... was tiny. And dim. "This can't be right!" we muttered to each other, but sat down obediently anyway. After twenty minutes Rod Roddy appeared in his satin leprechaun jacket and tried to cheer us up.

"Are you excited to be here, folks?"

"Yay! We love you, Rod!"

"What was that?"

"We LOVE you, Rod!"

"Well, save some of that love for our host, Baaaawb Barker!"

The stage lit up, the crowd went wild, and I was transported to the dimestore Babylon of my childhood. Out stepped the good old boy of daytime TV, all white teeth and hair. I felt dizzy. Was this reality? The game proceeded like a hazy dream. Yadda yadda Barker's Beauties! Yadda yadda [insert racy comment here]! Yadda yadda come on down!

However, the trippy fun was interrupted as Bob threw a tantrum on Contestant Number Three, who had failed, like Contestants One and Two, to win anything.

"All right, folks, this is pathetic. In the entire history of The Price Is Right there have only been two shows in which no one has won a SINGLE THING. Did you hear me? Only TWO! If you don't start winning soon, we're going to have to scrap this show and retape, because America won't tune in to watch a bunch of LOSERS!"

He continued in this vein until we had all resolved to 1) locate the Hand of Opportunity and 2) bite down on it like rabid dogs. Again the cameras rolled.

"And our next contestant....Caitlin Andreason -- come on down!"

Our friend Caitlin gleefully trotted down the aisle and onto the stage to represent ol' BYU before the nation. We knew she would do us proud, as she was as intelligent and witty as she was buxom. The dirty old man looked her over and noticed her t-shirt.

"Ohhhh, dear," he said. "This shirt is a problem." He turned to the stage crew. "Hey, we're going to need our legal guy out here -- they've used our logo on their shirts. You didn't get permission, did you?"

Caitlin was looking a bit panicky.

"You know that's trademark infringement, don't you?"

"Um, I guess..."

Bob was clearly enjoying her distress. He refocused on her bosom and read the small print.

"Hmmm. Well, audience, it says here that the BYU Writing Center loves Bob Barker. I guess if they really love me, maybe we can let them off the hook....this time."

He smiled slyly and we exhaled in relief. I sent her a psychic postcard: "Grab the toupee and run!" but apparently she didn't receive it.

Bob must have felt our righteous indignation, because he behaved from that point on and Caitlin went on to win the first prize of the show -- a $300 china set with an ugly sailboat pattern. Not too exciting, you might say, but she saved the whole audience from the wrath of Bob and the lowest circle of Loser-dom.

And thus we see how a small band of Utah yokels can win out, in spite of a cranky old devil pickled in his own hair gel. How they can restore faith in The American Dream, The Free Lunch, The Fifteen Minutes. Come to think of it, with our Norman Rockwellian wholesomeness and our legendary pluck, perhaps we Mormons should hijack this all-American institution now that ol' Bobby has passed on to his shuffleboard days.


Vote Mitt Romney for New Host! He may waffle on core moral principles, and he may strap his dog to the top of the car, but he's never strapped his AUNT EDNA to the top of the car -- not even after she was completely dead. And no one's better at turning losers into piles of money.

Plus, that hair's got real potential.


Rachel C. said...


Genius, genius!!!!

I knew that Bob Barker was a regular S.O.B.!

wynne said...

But I can't imagine "Romney's Beauties," can you? No alliterative ring to it. Romney's Rutabagas? Romney's Wretches?

I did like that part in Happy Gilmore where Adam Sandler and Bob Barker got in a fight.

And Bob is a snob. See? The proof is in the rhyme-ability.

And how is it, through all the years I've known you, this story has never come up before?

Marie said...

Rachel -- Thank you very much -- you are too kind. (I think one "genius" comment is equal to at least five non-"genius" comments?)

Wynne -- Romney's Rutabagas for sure. A nice upstanding fellow like that would never have scantily-clad women on his show! Scantily clad vegetables, on the other hand...

Are you sure I've never told you this story? It's the one I pull out at gatherings when I feel that I'm boring people. And judging by the number of comments -- I guess I need a new anecdote.

Got any spares?

sharonsfriendjen said...

That is a great story, haha!! I haven't heard it before either. I am glad that you dusted it off and told it to your adoring fans.
Romney as the host? I will have to think about that one for awhile. haha!! Your right though he has the hair. :)

Anna Maria Junus said...

Great story!

You know, according to Craig Ferguson, Bob's a vampire.

Marie said...

Anna (Anna Maria?) -- I believe it! That's not comedy -- that's prophecy! I can just see him lying down in his sequined purple casket to wait for the darkness. If only you'd told me this ten years ago, I could have supplied Caitlin with a silver stake.

I wonder if his Beauties are vampires, too?

Jen -- I think I"m plumb out of vampire tales, now that you've heard this one. Be sure to bring your ghouly books or it'll just be Kumbaya and pyro games!

April said...

If I'd been in the audience and Barker had been a jerk like that, I'd instantly stop bouncing my bosoms. I'd make sure the camera panned over to me, where I'd be crossing my arms and sneering. The ancient jerkface.

But nice going on the ugly china cabinet!! :)

f*bomb. said...

My friend "good-game"d Bob and said that he had cut himself shaving and had on a band-aid, but you could barely even see it up close because the o-so-very-tan make-up was so thick. ew.

Bob Barker scares me almost more than clowns do.

wynne said...

OF COURSE his beauties are vampires! Isn't that what, coven? of vampires? Herd? Flock? Murder? is all about?

You have your lead vampire, Bob, and then all the minions he's sucked the life out of who now serve him...