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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 also happened to be the last first-run episode.
    • 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.
  • Catch Phrase: "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.
  • 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.


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