- 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 claimed the show was pre-taped and/or didn't consider the telephone votes at all.)
- After the first potshot (George Gray's regular joke of "And what do the losers get?" had the punchline of "They get to hang out with the other losers on alt.tv.game-shows!") in December 1998, 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 later that month, where "Minnie the Mailbox" (a 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 laid by 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. Even more surprising is that George Gray not only managed to shake off that trainwreck by hosting the syndication version of The Weakest Link, but went on to become the announcer of The Price Is Right!
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Gene-Gene the Dancing Machine.