Ellen DeGeneres Plays It Up in New Game Show “Game of Games”
Introduced as “the most outrageous way to win $100,000” NBC’s latest primetime game show is “Game of Games,” a series of wacky short form stunt-based competitions designed and hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres.
“I’ve always wanted to host a game show,” Ellen enthused in the show’s December sneak peak, which pulled in a notable 7.35 million viewers and was the second most-watched Big Four show that night. In the promos, she is featured walking through a bizarre and sure-to-be entertaining cadre of set pieces including a tuba full of toothpaste — a tube-a toothpaste, get it? Joined by referee/MC/hype man Twitch, “Game of Games” features Ellen cackling as contestants combat her concoctions. True to form, she dances, makes witty commentary, and is the all-around charismatic and occasionally devilish ringleader that audiences love.
In Tuesday night’s official premiere, the antics abound. Ellen touts a “big show” and it is, literally. The gigantic stage dwarfs DeGeneres, who appears tiny in some wide shots. But the arena-style space is requisite for the enormous platforms housing the devices that facilitate the feats of fortune each contestant must perform. In the evening’s first event, Ellen reveals a giant monster mouth a la Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Each contestant must stand inside the mouth and answer questions. The penalty for wrong answers? Pulling teeth. One contestant will be eaten when she pulls a bad tooth. The game capitalizes on a classic Ellen prank: the host is notorious for scaring celebrities on her daytime show. All the games are far more physically challenging than the typical game show fare. With free falls, bungee jumps, and surprise dunk tanks this show is closer to “American Ninja Warrior” than “Jeopardy!”. The questions themselves are a minefield, with just as many trick questions as real trivia. While the games are each different, the common denominator is often being punished for wrong answers with a giant drop from a huge height.
“Game of Games” is as good as it is goofy. Ellen’s own laughter at seeing contestants attempt to play her half-baked games is contagious. With the same quirky charm her talk show is known for, plus a whole lot more wacky physicality, viewers will want to play some of these games at their own parties — at least the ones that don’t require harnesses! Watch “Game of Games” Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.