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Series / Russian Roulette

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A GSN Game Show in which four contestants competed in a last-player-standing quiz contest. Each player stands on one of the six trap doors on the circular floor. A player who misses a multiple-choice question must play Russian Roulette, by pulling a lever to spin the "Drop Zones", to stay in the game.

The first question had one Drop Zone, indicated by a red border; each question after that added a Drop Zone until five were in play. Any contestant standing in a Drop Zone fell three feet (five feet in season 1) through the floor and out of the game. The last contestant in the game advanced to the Bonus Round for a chance to win up to $100,000.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: A bit different, depending on the season. In either case, the player had :60 to complete the round, with a drop zone opening every ten seconds, and victory awarding $10,000.
    • Season 1: Five "killer" questions (word jumbles, math problems and general-knowledge questions) were read, and the player had to say "My answer is..." before each answer. Each right answer was worth $500.
    • Season 2. Ten multiple-choice questions (each with three choices), worth $300 apiece. The player no longer had to say "My answer is..." before each answer. Also see Obvious Rule Patch.
  • Deadly Game: The game was named after and the premise was built around one.
  • Eject the Loser: Hence, the drop zones.
  • Let's Just See What WOULD Have Happened: If a player won the $10,000, he could play one more round of Russian Roulette with the drop zones that had opened for a chance at $90,000 more, with a drop losing the $10,000. Even if he declined, they would pull the handle anyway (with the player off the drop zone) to see what would have happened.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: Burton Richardson. Yes, really.
    • Game Show Host: Mark L. Walberg. Todd Newton hosted on April Fool's Day 2003, which was one of the series’ last first-run episodes. The show bowed shortly after its first anniversary.
    • Studio Audience

This show provides examples of:

  • Any Last Words?: Upon answering a question incorrectly, the player has a chance to say these before playing Russian Roulette.
  • Born Lucky: Ned "Car Wax and Shark" Peterson.
  • Catchphrase: "Watch your step."
  • The Cameo: The Whammy was in the Studio Audience during the April Fool's 2003 show.
    • With Todd Newton of Whammy! hosting. Mark L. Walberg and Kennedy from Friend or Foe were in the audience as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mark. L. Walberg.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The bonus round changed from answering five "killer" questions to answering ten multiple-choice questions, with the timer starting after Mark read the first question. They also no longer had to say "My answer is" before each answer.
  • Opening Narration: "Four strangers. One goal: to win a head-to-head competition for the chance of $100,000. One wrong answer could be their last... this is Russian Roulette. From [place], [occupation] [name]; from [place], [occupation] [name]; from [place], [occupation] [name]; from [place], [occupation] [name]. Now here's our host, Mark... L. ... Walberg..."
  • Point-and-Laugh Show: Being liked wasn't enough to keep the studio audience from shouting "Drop, drop, drop, drop!" as watching this was in large part what they had come there for.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: A contestant named Karen had control of a question about sclerotherapy and admitted that she knew the answer before the choices were given. She assumed that another female contestant, Jennifer, didn't know that it was used to treat varicose veins. Jennifer answered the question incorrectly. She admitted that she doesn't have varicose veins and nonchalantly implies that Karen's had them before.
    Mark: This may be a lot more fun than we anticipated!
  • Self-Deprecation: One contestant from north of the border admitted to being very fond of maple syrup.
  • Unwinnable by Design: There have been several instances where the contestant eliminated first drops without ever getting the opportunity to play.
  • Voice of Dramatic: This is arguably Burton Richardson's most awesome (and low-key) announcing work.