YMMV / The Hollywood Squares

  • Awesome Music / Ear Worm: This show has a tendency to hit both of these with their themes:
    • "Bob & Merrill's Theme", used from 1969 to 1979 and named after the show's creators, perfectly captured the show's zany atmosphere.
    • The Davidson-era theme; fairly mellow for an 80s game show theme. And like the Davidson-era run, overlooked and underrated.
    • "I loooooove Hollywood!" Yes, that's Whoopi singing. Also likely to stick in your head is that harmonica solo.
    • Let's not forget the H2 era theme. An actual song called "Square Biz" from singer Teena Marie, who came back to re-record the lyrics.
    • It's only fitting for a game show named "Hip Hop Squares" to have a theme you can dance to, though this one can be more divisive due to its nature as a Pitbull-esque hip hop/dance track.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: For at least one week of the Davidson run, John was absent and Shadoe Stevens subbed as host. Who subbed for him as announcer/bottom center square? Howard Stern, who, a year later, would parody the show multiple times on his Channel 9 show, including Homeless Howiewood Squares, where homeless people were contestants, and the stars were mainly made up of the Wack Pack, plus Jaye P. Morgan and GENE RAYBURN, who even occupied his lower left square from MG-HS.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "[Item] for the win." The majority of those who use this meme today likely aren't even aware of this series.
    • "You Fool!!!!"
    • Many of the more memorable zingers, especially from Paul Lynde, but one in particular is the one that gets (mis)quoted the most, even on the show:
      Peter Marshall: Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
      Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
  • Older Than They Think: Many think the catchphrase "_ gets the square" started on The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, but in fact it originated on the final season of the Marshall run.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • Ludia has a reputation for releasing sub-par game show video games, and the Hollywood Squares Wii game from 2010 doesn't help them. While they did a fine enough job replicating the set and format of Tom Bergeron's final season, that's where the good stuff ends. Bergeron's voice acting shows zero enthusiasm. There are only four actual celebrities in the entire game, and they only ever occupy the center square- and even more jarringly, they used video clips from the show to represent them.. The rest of the board is filled with generic people who don't tell a single joke, removing almost all of the humor for which the real show is known. The questions are really easy, and the bluffs are often head-slappingly stupid (J Lo's real name is Tom Hanks?). The only unlockable rewards are wardrobe items...which you won't even get to see most of the game, since your contestant avatar is rarely shown.
    • GameTek's 1988 NES game subverts this, having actual humor and questions of appropriate difficulty. It also loses points compared to the Ludia game for having zero actual celebrity likenesses, though the host is a caricature of John Davidson, and a four-character limit on contestant names (leading to such workarounds in the "high score" list as "KEV" and... "PHB"?).
  • Replacement Scrappy: John Davidson constantly tripped over his words, always forgot the "cat's game" rule, and was very often unable to rein in the panelists once they started getting goofy.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: This show is light-hearted, funny, freewheeling, and the themes are often catchy, funky and fun. Everybody loves some version of this show- Marshall, Davidson, Bergeron, even Hip-Hop Squares has fans. Just about the only one that's despised is The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour- see that page for why.
  • Tear Jerker: The day after Wally Cox's death from a heart attack, Peter Marshall opened the show by explaining that due to being taped in advance, episodes featuring Cox would still be seen for the next two weeks. He then added:
    Dear Lord, have no fear; Underdog is there.
    • The same thing happened in the 1990s version with the untimely passing of Florence Griffith Joyner.
      • And again with John Ritter.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks:
    • The Marshall version's move to Las Vegas for its final season. Besides supposed inferior lodgings (at least according to Paul Lynde), the show's budget was altered as well: No cash per game (each game won a prize, winner of more games won a trip), no Secret Square rounds at all, and the winner of each show would progress in a tournament for a $100,000 prize package ($20,000 cash, an RV, and an ACTUAL HOUSE).
    • The Davidson version is often criticized for John's ineptness (see above) and the panel's unruliness. Others still dislike the version for it being... a little too unusual, compared to its predecessor and successor incarnations (John occasionally singing the clues, whole rounds being done in the style of other game shows like Jeopardy!, etc.).
    • Some dislike the second Bergeron bonus round, otherwise known as "The Fastest 60 Seconds on Television", simply due to the contestant having to answer the question themselves, going against the show's main gameplay format of agreeing or disagreeing with answers the celebrity gave (though the celebrity was allowed to confer with the contestant). Bergeron himself is said to have hated it because it placed pressure on him to be as fast as possible with the questions within the time frame. However, it is notable for having a $60,000 win, out of a possible $100,000 maximum, under its belt.
    • The Henry Winkler-produced H2 seasons, though not without their fans, also have their fair share of detractors (with many considering this a case of Tough Act to Follow, as Whoopi Goldberg was one of the chief reasons the first four seasons were so popular).
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch showed up during the Marshall era, and notably stayed in character.
    • Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble also appeared in the Marshall era. Two actors wore body suits (similar to what one might find at Disneyland) and their voices were provided by different actors with microphones offstage.
    • Three other Muppets—Kermit the Frog, Elmo, and Bear in the Big Blue House—all showed up on the Bergeron version, also in character.
  • What an Idiot: More often than not, on later episodes of the Bergeron edition, contestants had to have the rules spelled out for them as much as possible, not getting that this was basic tic-tac-toe... which one contestant even admitted she didn't know how to play.
    • The third "You Fool!" question asked what 80-day record Phileas Fogg set that was beat by a journalist. Gilbert's answer was "Rowing the Atlantic". One may be inclined to think this is a stretch, but seeing this was one of the "YOU FOOL" questions...

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