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Series: Whammy

Third version of Bill Carruthers' Game Show Second Chance, which became famous in its second iteration, Press Your Luck. Whammy!, a revival of the latter, was hosted by Todd Newton on GSN from 2002-03.

The main difference between this and its predecessors was that Round 1 gave each contestant $1,000 and the opportunity to press or "freeze" before each of their spins. After each contestant had a turn, more Whammies were added to the board, and hitting a Whammy eliminated you from the rest of the round.

Round 2 was the Question Round, containing contestant interviews and five questions, while Round 3 was just like normal Press.

Season 2 added a "Big Bank" to the game, which began at $3,000; every time a player hit a Whammy, his/her winnings were added to the total. Hitting a Big Bank space gave that player a chance to win the entire bonus by correctly answering a question.

Whammy! ended after 26 weeks in a move by GSN to branch out past game shows into other fields, such as video games, although repeats have aired for most of the period since. Since 2003, all franchise-related merchandise, foreign versions, video games, etc. have been adaptations of this or Press Your Luck.

Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Space: "$x00 + One Spin" spaces, as before. There were none in Round 1, due to the format above. The board also had Pick-A-Prize (which usually had about 10-12 choices at any given time) and returning favorite $2,000 Or Lose-A-Whammy.
  • Consolation Prize: An Argus digital camera in Season 1, a Croton watch with a Whammy on it in Season 2.
  • Covered in Gunge: The occasional result of a Double Whammy.
  • Extra Turn: The "$x00 + One Spin" spaces.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: One-and-done, which didn't really work out too well when people were the "big winner" with less than $3,000. The only contestant to win with $0 was invited back on a later episode, while 12 contestants were invited back for the very last week of shows.
  • Golden Snitch: The Big Bank. (See below.)
  • Personnel:
  • Progressive Jackpot: The Big Bank, which started at $3,000 and grew by whatever was lost to the Whammy. If a player landed on a Big Bank space, s/he was asked one question. Answering it correctly (and it had to be exact) broke the Bank, which was usually enough to put them far ahead of everyone else.
  • Promotional Consideration
  • Undesirable Prize: Which could also be called GEM Car. Did anyone actually want that thing?
    • Same could be said for a lot of the prizes. Who wanted a $300 year's supply of M&Ms when that was also the lowest cash amount on the board? The "His & Hers Roller Skates" were also a prime example, as well as every prize worth $300 or less on this list all 100+ of them.
  • Whammy: Same as before, but in 3-D.

This show provides examples of:

  • April Fools' Day: In 2003, Graham Elwood guest-hosted as part of GSN's April Fools' Day host switcharound. For each of the first three spins in Round 1, the space landed on was turned into a "Newton" (represented by Todd making a face resembling that of the Big Tongue Whammy from Press), which awarded the contestant an outlandish (and fake) prize before saying "April Fool's!" and giving them another turn.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Mostly the above, but on the last day of taping then-Fremantle employee Mandel Ilagan (probably best known for creating Half Off for The Price Is Right) hosted the final rehearsal game, giving the rules from memory.
  • Catch Phrase: "Big Bucks, no Whammies!"
  • Double Unlock: Winning the car required contestants to collect both "pieces" ("Gem" and "Car" in Season 1, two halves of a key in Season 2) and win the game. In Season 1, hitting a Whammy after getting "Gem" or both pieces took the car out of consideration; this was fixed with the Big Bank.
  • Downer Ending: One episode had a contestant rack up over $25,000 with one passed spin left (meaning she had to take it). She hit a Double Whammy with that last spin and lost the game, but that memorable loss led to her return for the Tournament of Losers episode.
  • Foregone Victory: At least once, two contestants Whammied-Out (eliminated themselves from the game), leaving one player to use their remaining spins playing against the house, as had been the case on Press (and, presumably, Chance before it). On that contestant's final spin, instead of the board showing an image of her versus the person in 2nd/1st place, it showed the image of the Whammy to indicate that she was indeed playing against the house and could still lose.
  • Four Is Death: As before, getting four Whammies knocked you out of the game.
  • Inflation Negation: Premiered 16 years after Press Your Luck ended, but retained the same nominal values in Square #4 despite inflation going up about 63% in America during that span. Justified, in that a cable network would probably have a smaller budget than CBS.
  • Limited Animation: Averted, with rather impressive 3-D CGI Whammies (most notably the Tarzan Whammy, which smacked into the screen quite realistically).
  • Luck-Based Mission: Even going so far as to say it was "Larson-proof".
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Ed and Janie, Michael Larson's opponents when he broke the bank on Press, were invited back to play Whammy! against his brother James, since Michael had died in 1999. note 
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed / Shout-Out: Among the many new Whammys were expies of George Foreman, Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart, Steve Irwin, Britney Spears, Ozzy Osbourne, Anne Robinson, Judge Judy, Harry Potter, and *NSYNC.
  • No Indoor Voice: Todd freakin' Newton. Justified, in that he actually had a likable personality and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself rather than simply being the loud-voiced, robotic, only-here-for-the-paycheck, pretty-boy kind of emcee that became so common in the aughties (such as Ty Treadway).
  • Non-Indicative Name: The "Double Whammy" only added one Whammy to the player's total. The "Double" came from the Whammy animation ending end with the player covered in something be it confetti, Silly String, or something else.
  • Obvious Beta: The pilots had a "Whammy Guard", awarded to a player for earning the maximum 12 spins in the Question Round, that negated the next Whammy hit.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The Big Bank, which made the car much more likely to be won. Kind of hard to miss the display below the contestants...
    • The show also had any player that hit a Whammy in the first round be eliminated from the rest of the round. This is to address a rare but serious problem from Press Your Luck where it was possible for a player to get 4 Whammies in the first round and be unable to play in the second round because of it.
  • Opening Narration:
    • Season 1 (2002): "The game with big bucks and Whammies is back, bigger and better than ever! It's time to play Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck!"
    • Season 2 (2003): "The game with big bucks and Whammies is even bigger and better than ever! It's time to press your luck and play Whammy!"
  • Out of Order: The Tournament Of Losers/Tournament Of Champions, the last five episodes taped, were not the last to air in first-run.
  • Product Placement: One Whammy dove into a bowl of M&Ms.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Again, the Whammies.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Round 3 had 11 Whammies for most of the run, up from nine in Round 2 on Press and three Devils on Chance. For the record, there was no spike between Chance and Press, as both had the same chance of hitting the villain (3/18 = 9/54 = 1/6).
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle: Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck.
  • Take That: One Whammy mocked Enron!
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs:invoked Early GSN commercials for the series began with "This is your Whammy" (the rollerskating Whammy from Press that slips and hits his head), followed by "This is your Whammy on the all-new Press Your Luck" (clips from both of the 2002 pilots).
  • Transpacific Equivalent: The Philippines got Whammy! Push Your Luck, which ran on the GMA Network from 2007-08. Hosted by Paolo Bediones and Rufa Mae Quinto, the show was virtually identical to the American Whammy!
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Big Bank. Although a decent idea (the Whammy's bank account), it was marred by some incredibly-hard questions (including one where the contestant's guess was The Godfather and the answer was The Godfather Part 2) and the fact that it pretty much brought the excitement to a halt.

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