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Series: El gran juego de la oca

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 or challenge) 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. All but one contestant successfully accomplished said challenge.

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.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • 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 two seasons, 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. The chemistry on set between himself and his two assistants, Lydia Bosch and Patricia Pérez, was cited as one of the main reasons the show had such a loyal following. When they changed the hosts (and nearly everyone else) for Season 2, the show lost popularity.
  • Consolation Prize: According to this article (obviously in Spanish), everybody took home whatever amount of money they ended up with. This could - and often did - result in a losing contestant taking home more money than the winner, although in the first season, the winner also received a trip to Cuba along with the chance to win a car. Also in the first season, contestants who lost in the semifinals had to complete a Reoca to win a trip to Brazil, while losing tournament finalists each won a motorcycle. How these were handled in the second season is unknown, as the Reoca was taken out altogether and only the winner of the finals received a car.
  • Covered in Gunge: Many of the challenges.
  • Home Game: Inverted and played straight. The board game was invented long before the TV show, then at least one board game was created based on the show's format, using "truth or dare" type challenges as the pruebas.
  • 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 (from day one in Italy).
  • 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.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer - albeit with a very limited role; the show's judge used the PA system more often.
    • 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.
    • The Barber: Flequi (see Breakout Character below). There is a reason he is listed here.
  • Promotional Consideration: At least one challenge per episode was sponsored; some of them included Nintendo, Hyundai, Boskys cereal, and milk.
  • Retired Game Show Element: Several.
    • A fixed space where one had to blindly chop watermelons rolling out of a tube with a machete mysteriously stopped being landed on after only three or four playings (although it was very briefly brought back in the third season).
    • Most of the sponsor specific challenges, although some of them were merely replaced by other sponsors. One in particular was a type of Bonus Space sponsored by a Spanish bank wherein if the contestant beat the challenge, his bank was doubled; if not, he lost no money.
    • Ruleta Cruel (see below) stopped being featured about halfway through the first season, until it was restructured and brought back in the second. By the time anyone landed on it later in the run, the game had already gone into...
  • Sudden Death: If time ran short, the game went into tirada rápida (Fast Roll) mode, in which no more challenges were played and contestants simply rolled the dice until a winner was crowned. On one or two episodes in the second and third seasons, no one reached #63 at all and the game was awarded to the player closest to it after one round of tirada rápida.
  • Whammy: La muerte, 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"). The contestant was required to spin the wheel (or get onto a giant torture wheel with his head as the pointer), and lost whatever percentage of money it landed on.
    • 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.
  • Beware the Superman: A couple of early episodes featured Calzoncillo Man, a clumsy, underwear-clad "superhero" who hijacked the show during someone's turn, created his own prueba for the contestant to perform, and then did things during the prueba to "help" the contestant (read: make the challenge hilariously impossible).
  • Body Paint: One of the "punishment" spaces, which featured a model wearing it and pretty much nothing else. Any contestant who landed here spun the wheel and the body painter applied the show's logo (a goose head) on whatever body part it landed on, cutting away whatever part of his or her clothes happened to be in the way.
  • Buried Alive
  • Circling Birdies: Geese in particular, any time someone was slapped playing Beso y tortazo (a kiss was followed by Heart Symbols).
  • 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.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Vroom Vroom, where the contestant was bolted to the top of a car and had to completely break all six windows with a wooden mallet while the driver drove back and forth around the set like a madman.
  • Eat That: Several of the challenges qualify, but a couple were recurring:
    • 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) to avoid losing all of his or her money. The restaurant was also featured at least once in the first season, with three dishes instead of one; each dish in this case leaned more toward Foreign Queasine than the downright bizarre and disgusting and cost the contestant 100,000 pesetas if not tried.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Occasionally some pruebas would feature a chimpanzee named Lulú.
  • Everythings Better With Llamas: Paca la alpaca, although not necessarily for the contestant that had to participate. The contestant was stuck in a cage with an alpaca and had to pull a certain number of ribbons of his or her color off its coat within the time limit; of course, the alpaca kicked and spit at the contestant the whole time.
  • Forced to Watch: One challenge featured a young contestant whose husband was brought on stage along with a voluptuous blonde woman; the contestant was then asked five questions, with each one incorrectly answered resulting in the other woman being allowed to smother the husband in kisses right in front of the contestant's face. (The husband's reaction to the sexy woman throughout the game, one of complete indifference, in and of itself qualifies as a Moment Of Awesome).
  • Hold the Line: Several challenges were endurance tests against the clock. One involved a goat licking honey off the contestant's feet, with the challenge being no change in facial expression whatsoever; another involved keeping one's heart rate under 100 beats per minute while receiving a striptease.
  • Hollywood Acid: This challenge, where the contestant had to unshackle himself before "acid" poured from above by a Scary Black Man ate through the layers of Styrofoam and reached him. (The "acid" was more than likely a harmless substance such as nail polish remover - acetone readily melts Styrofoam.) This mechanic was featured in several other challenges as well.
  • 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.
  • Level Ate: One prueba involved a contestant crawling through the layers of a giant birthday cake filled with icing, then coming out the top and lighting the candles.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: Variant where the contestant was placed in a perilous situation, such as being Buried Alive, with ten or twenty keys to try in one or two locks.
  • 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; a few bordered on if not plowed head first into Unwinnable territory.
    • The Nintendo-sponsored Super Mario Challenge was played up as being one of the most difficult challenges that week. Coincidence?
    • Averted with a couple others, such as one where the contestant was placed in a car and merely had to stick her hand out the window and touch a box suspended in the air while the car swung back and forth.
  • Painful Body Waxing: A mainstay throughout the show's existence. A male contestant was asked five questions; for each one he got right, he got a toenail painted. For each one he got wrong, part of his leg hair was waxed off (with the best reactions replayed in slow motion).
  • Pie in the Face: Turned Up to Eleven with a "sweet firing squad" game in which the contestant had to catch a number of pies catapulted at him with his face. The entire segment, including the aftermath, is one of the funniest things to ever happen on the show.
  • 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: Several challenges required the contestant to find things in breakables or to kick, punch or saw his way out of a building or car.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: At least Once an Episode.
  • Tar and Feathers: Used on contestants who landed on "death" in most episodes, with the tar obviously being replaced by a less hazardous substance.
  • Timed Mission: About 95 percent of the challenges.
  • 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.
  • Womb Level: Given a head start, the contestant had to escape from a narrow inflatable tunnel comprised of what could only be described as an intestine-like material coated in red goo before Maxtor got a hold of him.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Ponerse a 100 ("Keep Yourself at 100"). The contestant would have to endure a striptease from a person of the opposite gender for a minute and a half without his or her heart rate exceeding 100 beats per minute.

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.
  • The Brute / 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, although in more of an antagonist role rather than the contestant facing off against him head-to-head.
  • Butt Monkey: Some of the contestants seem to get this treatment by landing on a combination of punishment spaces and/or ridiculously hard challenges. The second season produced several particularly egregious examples; one of the finalists landed on Rizotín and then lost all of his money on the wheel on his last turn, therefore leaving with one of the worst haircuts ever handed out on the show and emptyhanded (though not without the money he won in his previous appearances).
  • Camera Abuse: Happened by accident occasionally when gunge went flying on set, and played with a couple of times when Maxtor hit a sheet of plate glass with a hammer directly in front of the camera to make it look like he was smashing the camera.
  • 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.
  • Christmas Episode: Featured Christmas decorations on set, several pruebas with a Christmas motif, the Oquettes dressed in Santa-esque outfits, the celebrity guest playing the part of Santa, numerous cast and crew members wearing Santa hats, and Flequi unveiling the final result of his "victim" via a Santa hat.
  • 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.
  • Dance Party Ending: Both the first and second season finales; see Awesome entry.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pepe Navarro, the main host in Season 2.
  • Dirty Old Man: One older male contestant in particular who got to play in each of the first two seasons was made to look like one by being given most of the "sexy" challenges; over the course of the two shows he received body paint to the butt, had to fix a model's terrible "plastic surgery" using only his mouth, and was given the challenge of hiding ten jewels anywhere, yes anywhere on his body, with the intent of keeping a female celebrity (who was allowed to remove his clothes and do anything else necessary) from finding them all in a certain amount of time. Made even more hilarious in that the Spanish nickname for "dirty old man" translates to "old green ass" or simple "old green"... guess what color he was given to play in on both episodes.
  • Don't Try This at Home: Natch. Even more so when freak show acts were brought on to perform.
  • Downer Ending: The single time a winner did not accomplish her Reoca and win the car (her mission was to get the owners of 600 Fiat 600's to assemble with their cars all in one place).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first episode featured several set pieces with incomplete or radically different paint jobs, plain-Jane rope lighting around the spaces, a missing dice bridge for the Dados shortcut, and no watermelon chopping block at space 31. Every special space on the board was otherwise hit (the body painter, Flequi, the snake tunnel, the "death" space, the Cruel Roulette, etc.), likely to demonstrate how they all worked; the hosts also more thoroughly explained the contestants' progress to them. The challenges not involving the special spaces were generally much simpler than later in the run.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Any time a contestant wound up with cero pesetas, either by wagering everything and failing a challenge or (in later seasons) refusing to participate in one.
    • Any time a contestant was given a number of things to accomplish (such as finding jewels in a giant styrofoam block) and failed to get even one.
    • Landing on Flequi and missing the first question.
    • One prueba involved being presented with a herd of 40 sheep and 10 goats, with the objective of putting only the ten goats inside the cage. One contestant accidentally let the whole herd in and was left to count down pretty much the entire final minute as the animals had decided they were through being moved around for the day.
    • Pretty much Jacqueline De La Vega's entire stint as a contestant.
    • One of the repeated pruebas from the third season involved swimming while carrying a flaming dish from one side of the pool to the other over slats in a floating bridge, without letting the fire go out by getting the dish's contents wet. One such playing resulted in the contestant extinguishing the fire about five seconds into the challenge.
  • 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 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Flequi. Really the only time he went into jerk mode is when someone landed on his space or openly mentioned not wanting to end up there; he otherwise generally rooted on the contestants, accompanied several of them on Reocas, and once even taunted Maxtor for losing to a contestant.
    • Averted the next season with the new barber Rizotín, as he was generally a sarcastic Jerkass throughout the whole episode.
  • 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".
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Maxtor again, as part of the above schtick.
  • Masquerade Ball: Played straight with the Carnaval (Mardi Gras) episode; everyone wore masks with goose bills attached to them.
  • 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.
  • Obstacle Exposition: Done in detail before every prueba.
  • The Pratfall: Happened so often (including once to Lydia) that the sound effects guy seemed to always have one finger on the "floop" button for whenever it happened.
  • Rearrange the Song: Done when the show was brought back as El nuevo juego de la oca.
  • 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".
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Natalia, an attractive young contestant who chose to give up all her money (which, in her defense, wasn't that much to begin with) rather than to submit her flowing blonde tresses to the whims of Rizotín. Came close when she participated a season earlier as well, when she was too afraid to attempt Paca la alpaca and just stood in the cage with it pretty much the whole time.
  • Shout-Out: Various challenges were themed around Double Impact, Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible and Aladdin, among others. A pitchfilm by the show's original creator Jocelyn Hattab for a current, updated version features set areas and challenges based on Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • 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. These ranged from the standard cartoon flips, whoops and bloops, to sound bites of the hosts saying things, to random words.
  • Tempting Fate: The sheer number of female contestants that mentioned at the beginning of the game either not wanting to land on Flequi or that they were indifferent to him altogether strangely ended up in his chair about 90 percent of the time. One in particular mentioned her grandparents putting out candles and praying to every saint in the Catholic faith that she wouldn't end up there... you probably already know the rest of the story. For male contestants, merely coming to the show with long hair was generally more than enough to guarantee their getting sent there.
  • 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.
  • Variable Mix: A rare non-video game example. Depending on the setting of a prueba (funny, happy, dangerous, underwater, gross, industrial, etc.), a musical track of that style was played accordingly. As the challenge progressed, the composers played additional accompaniment on their keyboards - sometimes depending on what the contestant did, but also ensuring that the same musical track rarely, if ever, sounded the same twice.

Minute to Win ItMinigame GameDouble Dare (1986)
The Gong ShowGame ShowGreed

alternative title(s): El Gran Juego De La Oca
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