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El gran juego de la oca (The Great Game of the Goose)
was a mid-1990s Game Show
from Spain that preceded the Fear Factor
-type game/reality program by five or ten years (and wonderfully lacked many of the now-overused Reality TV Tropes
). One of the country's most popular offerings at the time, it was rebroadcast in Spanish-speaking countries around the world as well as the United States.
Four contestants played a giant board game
based on the actual children's "Game of the Goose" (basically a linear "Chutes and Ladders"), but anything that might have been oriented toward children ended there. One at a time, players rolled the electronic dice, earned money for each space they walked, and finally wagered some of their money on a prueba
(mission) they would then be required to perform. Completing a challenge won the wager, while a failed mission deducted it. As in the board game, there were also some shortcuts scattered throughout the board, especially the titular Oca
spaces. Also included were a few "punishment" spaces that affected any contestant that landed on them, just to make things interesting; the most notable were the ones that required the player to receive Body Paint
or a Traumatic Haircut
The player to successfully make it to space 63 by exact count won any money he or she had banked. During the first season, winning the game also earned the right to perform a final challenge outside the studio, sometimes even abroad, for a chance to win a car.
Lasted two seasons on Antena 3, then several years later resurfaced as El nuevo juego de la oca
("The New Game of the Goose") on Telecinco. The latter version was broadcast live and lasted less than one season before being pulled in favor of other programming.
- Bonus Round: La Reoca, in which a player had one week to complete a final mission outside the studio to win the car.
- Bonus Space: Every space on the board that was a multiple of 9, as well as #5 in the first season, was specially marked as an Oca (goose) space. Landing on one allowed you to move to the next Oca and roll again.
- There was also a Dado (die) space at #7 during the first season that allowed the player to take a shortcut to #20 and likewise roll again.
- Carried by the Host: Season 1 was hosted and directed by Spanish personality Emilio Aragón. When they changed the hosts (and nearly everyone else) for Season 2, the show lost popularity.
- Consolation Prize: None were mentioned until the tournament semifinals, where the losers had to complete a Reoca to win one. Losing tournament finalists each won a motorcycle.
- Home Game: Inverted; the board game was invented first.
- Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: Most frequently seen if a challenge is set up to end with a massive explosion and doesn't - it is usually set off anyway after everyone is at a safe distance just for ooh's and ahh's.
- Losing Horns: Used when a challenge was failed. Type B in Season 1, and Type A afterward.
- Mystery Box: Several challenges involved the contestant sticking his hand or head blindly into a container to retrieve objects, read a clue, or eat a piece of food using only his or her mouth. Naturally, these boxes often contained reptiles, bugs, and/or mice.
- The Announcer
- Game Show Host:
- Season 1: Emilio Aragón, Lydia Bosch, and Patricia Pérez.
- Season 2: Pepe Navarro, Eugenia Santana, and Ivonne Reyes.
- Season 3: Andrés Caparrós, Elsa Anka and Paloma Marín.
- Studio Audience: Unique, in that the audience members are scattered around the in-the-round set.
- Promotional Consideration: At least one challenge per episode was sponsored; some of them included Nintendo, Hyundai, Boskys cereal, and milk.
- Speed Round: If time ran short, the game went into tirada rápida mode, in which no more challenges were played and contestants simply rolled the dice until a winner was crowned.
- Whammy: The "Death" space (a skull and crossbones) near the end of the course. If you landed here you were sent back to start by the Grim Reaper, although you kept your money.
- The Ruleta Cruel space (literally means "Cruel Roulette"). You have to spin the wheel (or get onto a giant torture wheel; your head is the pointer), and whatever it lands on, you lose that percentage of money.
- Any other "punishment" space, as not going through with the "punishment" cleaned out the contestant's bankroll.
Tropes played with as part of specific challenges:
- Bankruptcy Barrel: On a couple of episodes, a contestant would be required to lie down on a large wheel which would then be spun. Along with spaces that awarded or took away money, as well as one that did nothing, three of them had a picture of a goose in a barrel - if the contestant's head landed on one of these, he or she had to get inside an actual barrel, strip completely naked, and finish the rest of the show wearing only the barrel.
- Body Paint: One of the "punishment" spaces, which featured a model wearing it and pretty much nothing else. If you landed here you spun the wheel and they painted the show's logo (a goose head) on whatever it landed on.
- Buried Alive
- Circling Birdies: Geese in particular, any time someone was slapped playing Beso y tortazo (a kiss was followed by Heart Symbols).
- Covered in Gunge
- Creepy Centipedes: Found on occasion in the tanks full of bugs the show featured.
- Damsel in Distress: Rescue her, or whatever she's chained to will explode.
- Death Trap: Many of the games were based on them, and could actually become such if the safety equipment malfunctioned or the contestant was stupid enough not to bail before running out of time.
- Eat That:
- The first season had a challenge called "Picante Picante". The contestant was strapped to a chair including around the forehead and asked five questions. For each question he or she answered correctly, the player was fed a sugar cube; failure to do so resulted in the contestant being fed a very spicy food, such as a hot pepper, instead.
- The second season featured the "Chinese Restaurant" at #19. This was a "punishment" space in which the contestant had to at least sample whatever was presented (a whole rat cooked in sweet and sour sauce, hair and all, in the finale).
- Incendiary Exponent: The goal of at least one or two challenges per episode was "put out the fire" or "set something on fire".
- Knife-Throwing Act: Italian knife thrower Alberto Murroni performed a demonstration with his Lovely Assistant Vesna Peracino Once an Episode in both the Italian and Spanish versions, after which the contestant was asked to wager on the outcome of a second demonstration.
- Lock and Key Puzzle
- Marilyn Maneuver: An entire challenge was based on this. The male contestant had to remember what color garter was on each dancer's leg as they performed the dance one by one.
- Mud Wrestling: The contestant had to complete a challenge in a mud pit while being hindered by a female mud wrestler.
- Nintendo Hard: Many, many of the challenges.
- The Nintendo-sponsored Super Mario Challenge was beaten by only one contestant in the entire first season. Coincidence?
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: One of the show's mainstay challenges was locking the contestant in a snake tunnel and forcing them to find the key to get out. Plenty of the other challenges featured reptiles of different kinds as well.
- Rewarding Vandalism
- Stuff Blowing Up
- Tar and Feathers: Used on contestants who landed on "death" in later episodes, with the tar obviously being replaced by a less hazardous substance.
- Timed Mission
- Time Bomb
- Traumatic Haircut: If you landed on the deranged barber's space, you WOULD get one, whether you were a man or a woman.
This show also provides examples of:
- Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Not only are you gambling tens of thousands of pesetas (and your dignity) with every challenge, some of them are potentially deadly.
- Affably Evil / Breakout Character: Flequi, the crazy barber in Season 1, full stop. He quickly and easily became the most popular character on the show, to a point where he was sent with the contestant on quite a few Bonus Round missions toward the end of the run. He was referred to as "the most feared and most beloved" person on the show.
- Catch Phrase: Many.
- "Prueba superada" for completed challenges, and "Prueba no superada" for failed ones.
- "De oca a oca y tiro porque me toca." Originating from the actual board game, it translates loosely into "From goose to goose, I roll because it's my turn" and is said when a contestant lands on an Oca and has been sent forward.
- "De dado a dado y tiro porque me ha tocado", a similar phrase from the original game when a player lands on the "dice" shortcut.
- Celebrity Edition: Done twice; one on New Year's Eve and one in the spring.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: Maxtor attempted it once, and the challenge was automatically awarded to the contestant.
- Colour Coded Characters: The contestants' outfits — red, yellow, green, and blue. Two each of the eight Oquettes represented a contestant's color as well; any time that contestant landed on a shortcut, those particular dancers escorted him or her to the end of it.
- Crapsaccharine World: The set is full of bright colors and cartoon geese painted everywhere, it's based on a children's board game, and the Oquettes sing happy songs throughout. When the game actually begins, however, you run into people who want to bodyslam you in mud, beat the crap out of you, lock you in cages with various creatures, blow you up inside cars, or cut all your hair off.
- Crowd Chant: "¡Fle-qui! ¡Fle-qui! ¡Fle-qui!"
- Done with some contestants' names as well - most in 3/4 time, interestingly - as well as "¡Torero!" any time a contestant did something particularly brave.
- Maxtor had a slow one with a drumbeat, during which he would come out and beat the tar out of some of the very ones chanting his name!
- Crowd Song: "Olé olé olé", among others. The theme song itself, during many of the Reocas.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pepe Navarro, the main host in Season 2.
- Don't Try This at Home: Natch. Even more so when freak show acts were brought on to perform.
- Expository Theme Tune: The lyrics are an invitation for you as the viewer to come play the game yourself if you are brave and "feel like Superman''.
- Everything's Better With Cows: A two-person cow appeared onstage whenever milk was the mission sponsor.
- Fanservice: Pretty much any supporting cast member, and particularly the following:
- The Oquettes (likely a Portmanteau of Oca and Rockettes), a squad of eight girls basically clad in lingerie that "sang" the show's songs, performed various dances, escorted contestants landing on shortcuts to their new spaces, and participated in some of the challenges;
- The Chicas Oca ("Goose Girls"), who usually just hung out around the pool in swimsuits (usually one-piece, oddly enough), but occasionally assisted with some of the challenges;
- The Chicos Oca ("Goose Guys"), who usually wore nothing but spandex shorts and helped put the props for challenges together.
- Fan Disservice: La fea besucona ("the ugly kissing lady") and her male counterpart el mimoso pringoso ("the greasy lover"). A Q&A game was played with these characters in which failure to answer a question about good manners resulted in one of the above violently kissing the contestant (la besucona kissed male contestants and vice versa); correct answers resulted in the host getting kissed instead.
- Fore Shadowing: The electronic dice are pre-programmed, so when someone gets three-quarters of the way around the board in one or two turns, it is almost guaranteed that they will be going back to start.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The American one, anyway, as censorship standards are much more relaxed in Spain. The model seated at the body paint space was always topless.
- Gratuitous English: Emilio, who is apparently bilingual as seen whenever non-Spanish speaking guests were featured, used it frequently. Pepe had his share of it too, frequently saying in English what number space a contestant was currently on.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: Especially when bugs or worms were featured. The crew had plenty of small cameras on long poles that they took great pleasure in putting about an inch away from whatever they were playing with.
- Kick the Dog: Part of Maxtor's act (see Scary Black Man below) as he came out was to have "extras" in the audience to beat up, some of which were wearing slings or were otherwise "handicapped".
- Minigame Game: Consisted of pruebas in three or four different forms: those that appeared every show and were assigned a specific space (the wall, chopping watermelons, and the "punishment" spaces, to name a few, although this did not mean they were actually played every episode); those that appeared regularly but were not assigned a space (most notably "Beso y tortazo", the "kiss or slap" game); those that appeared only a handful of times throughout the run; and those that were only played once.
- Recursive Import: The show originated in Italy as Il grande gioco dell' oca. The Spanish version was the first to use a barber (an idea of Emilio's). The next season in Italy, they had a barber.
- Rule of Three: You were asked three questions on the haircut space, the third of which was always impossible to answer.
- Running Gag: Many, but Alberto Murroni (the knife thrower) asking to close the stage gates (to avoid potentially dangerous wind interference) became one of the most recognizable.
- Sampling: The end of the Theme Tune and the cut-to-commercial music both sample the opening bar of "Stars and Stripes Forever".
- Scary Black Man / Proud Warrior Race Guy: Maxtor, who started beating the crap out of everyone immediately upon entering and against whom the contestant had to beat in a contest.
- A similar character named "Jimmy" appeared on occasion during the second season.
- Signature Sound Effect: TONS. Try finding a five second clip of the show where they are not playing some kind of sound effect, except for maybe the super dangerous challenges.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The song sung when a contestant lands on an Oca space is based on the melody of "Camptown Races".
- The Thunderdome: The cage near the end of the board. Aside from several separate challenges that took place in or involved the cage, if you landed on the space directly in front of its entrance, you had to enter the cage, strap yourself to a bungee cord, and retrieve a key from the backside of a girl who was also on a bungee cord. In all three seasons, the explanation of the challenge always clearly stated that there were no rules; the girl could do anything to stop you from taking the key.
- Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: Played with, in that the final question in the haircut game was always impossible.
- Unwinnable by Design: The aforementioned barber's space, as well as a challenge in which a contestant had to wager money that a professional magician would not successfully perform an everyday sleight-of-hand trick.