YMMV / The Joker's Wild

  • Artifact Title: Many fans consider the first format of the 1990 version to be this, since the Joker only appeared in the third window and was no longer "wild" (instead tripling the dollar amounts in the first two windows). Though in fairness, the show was still very watchable in its own right (as was pointed out by Game Show Garbage), especially in comparison to the reboot of Joker's sister show Tic-Tac-Dough that same season.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Joker... Joker... [something arcane that's not a Joker]."
    • "Jack, I'll go off the board and take [something]."
    • "As we know, The Joker's Wild is a game of definitions."
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • If you were a young child during the original run, the devious rendering of the Devil's face (supposedly a caricature of Barry) kept you up at night quite a few times.
    • For the 1990s version, however, the Joker was the main source of Nightmare Fuel. However, it was a lot less scary in the September 1989 pilot.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Many fans disliked Bill Cullen's run on the show; while he's usually praised as game show host royalty, many felt that his laid-back style was a poor fit for Joker. He was also near the end of his career, and it was obvious that old age was slowing him down. (One anecdote says that on an episode where Jim Peck filled in for him, the producers actually had to stop tape and provide Peck with more questions because they had gotten so used to Cullen's slower style!)
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Much hatred for the 1990s maingame and bonus round (first word, first definition...); though admittedly the bonus round now offered a lot more, plus there weren't any Devils. The categories returned on January 7, 1991, but the measure came far too late to save the show...and the money-based format came back for the last three shows anyway to avoid straddling.
    • Further, the question values were $25/$50/$100 (half of what they'd been just five years earlier). The Jokers couldn't be used to go "off the board", as they hadn't let the contestants know what categories each game had on the reels (they had to be used for the full amount for whatever category was chosen). Spinning three Jokers gave that player $250 and the right to answer $100 questions in one of three categories hidden behind each Joker. Not like before.
  • What an Idiot:
    • One of the special categories added was "Fast Forward," (debuted May 16, 1975), which allowed contestants to answer as many questions as they wanted, each one worth the amount spun, and stop after any right answer. A miss forfeited all the money won on that turn. In one game, the champion had $250 and needed to tie or beat the challenger who had reached $500. The champion spun a Joker and two regular categories then, without thinking, asked for "(Regular Category) for $200". An amazed Barry told him that he just lost the game, when the contestant should've gone off the board with the Joker and taken the Fast Forward to build up $50 or $100 questions and possibly win the game.
    • The "Bid" category worked very similar to Bullseye; you decide in advance how many questions you want note , and if you answered them all correctly, you won the amount multiplied by however many questions you answered. (So if you spun it for $50, and wanted four questions, you could win $200.) Miss, and your opponent got the chance to finish the remaining questions for all the money. This category was used in one 1986 game where the champ was going for her fifth win and a car. The champ, leading $250-$400, picked Bid-Numbers for $100. All she needed was the minimum bid of two for the win...but she asked for three. Not only did this create extra work for her, but if she missed, there was enough money at stake for the challenger to win the game. Sure enough, she got the first two right and missed the third. Her challenger got the third one right, giving him $550 and denying the champ what should have been an easy car win.
    • In another game, the champ was trailing $500 to $50, spun Bid as a $50 single, and asked for six questions. Barry told him he had just lost the game, since he wouldn't be able to reach $500 even if he got them all right (he actually needed nine to tie, ten to win).