Dude, Not Funny! / They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Extreme Gong removed the judges in favor of viewer phone calls (the show aired live with repeats censoring the phone numbers with a message basically saying "Please don't call, this is a repeat."), had a shoddy basement-like set, was generally crass, and took potshots at both alt.tv.game-shows (ATGS, a then-popular game show newsgroup) and the original Gong Show. The potshots were seen as the former by said newsgroup for several reasons:
- ATGS had, since about the show's debut, been criticizing it for being inferior in pretty much every aspect to the original 1976-80 series and 1988-89 revival, hence the latter half of this header. It didn't help that producer Scott Satin had called the show "excellent" and "superior" on ATGS. (In fairness, the show did once go out of its way to show the computer which tallied the phone-call votes after someone on ATGS wondered if the results were rigged.)
- After the first potshot (referring to the consolation prize as "hanging out with the other losers on alt.tv.game-shows"), said newsgroup didn't take it well. One member emailed Satin:
"He somewhat appologized [sic] and explained that it was just a joke. Claimed he did it because this group is so negative against EG. He said he didn't mean to offend me. Then I watched the show that night and the second dis [sic] of this group appeared showing he and GSN couldn't care less."
- Pretty much the last straw was a 1998 episode (possibly the aforementioned "second diss") where the midget dressed as a mailbox who read viewer mail (and got angry, making pretty much every "short" joke ever) said "Screw the old Gong Show!" because the principal cast was too tall (name-dropping Chuck Barris, Jaye P. Morgan, and Jamie Farr)...which in turn somehow made the whole show bad. Later, as host George Gray talked to the day's eye candy, the two name-dropped ATGS and near-outright called them a bunch of fat, humorless virgins who did nothing but sit at their computers all day and were never going to get any good-looking women. Cue massive Internet Backdraft. Even Robert Q. Seidelman, who inducted the series for Game Show Garbage in 2012 (over 14 years after said episode aired), felt offended by those remarks.
- Given all of this, the fact that Extreme Gong got another episode, let alone another season (albeit a much-improved one), is surprising.