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Series / Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck

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Third version of Bill Carruthers' Game Show Second Chance, which became famous in its second iteration, Press Your Luck. Whammy!, a revival of the latter, was hosted by Todd Newton on GSN from 2002-03.

The main difference between this and its predecessors was that Round 1 gave each contestant $1,000 and the opportunity to press or "freeze" before each of their spins. After each contestant had a turn, more Whammies were added to the board, and hitting a Whammy eliminated you from the rest of the round.

Round 2 was the Question Round, containing contestant interviews and five questions, while Round 3 was just like normal Press.

Season 2 added a "Big Bank" to the game, which began at $3,000; every time a player hit a Whammy, his/her winnings were added to the total. Hitting a Big Bank space gave that player a chance to win the entire bonus by correctly answering a question.

Whammy! ended after 26 weeks in a move by GSN to branch out past game shows into other fields, such as video games, although repeats have aired for most of the period since. Since 2003, all franchise-related merchandise, foreign versions, video games, etc. have been adaptations of this or Press Your Luck.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Whammy's dog Fang and girlfriend Tammy Whammette are absent from the animations; the latter seems to have been replaced by an unnamed female Whammy with light-pink skin. There is also "Jan".
  • The Announcer: Gary Kroeger.
  • April Fools' Day: In 2003, Graham Elwood guest-hosted as part of GSN's April Fools' Day host switcharound. For each of the first three spins in Round 1, the space landed on was turned into a "Newton" (represented by Todd making a face resembling that of the Big Tongue Whammy from Press), which awarded the contestant an outlandish (and fake) prize before saying "April Fool's!" and giving them another turn.
  • Art Evolution: The Whammies in this version are CGI instead of hand-drawn from the original series (and the 2019 reboot), and the pop-up placards at the contestants' seats are 3-D instead of flat.
  • Ascended Glitch: The game board on the original Press Your Luck featured 18 screens with values that almost always changed at the same time, but would occasionally have half of the screens changing out of sync with the other half. Whammy actually implements - and even amplifies - this behavior in Round 2. Not only do each of the 18 screens change independently from each other, but their values also change at semi-random intervals.
  • Audience Participation: It was common for the audience to boo when the Whammies were added to the big board.
  • Balloon Belly: Happens to a hungry supermodel Whammy when she makes a meal out of a contestant's earnings.
  • Bonus Space: "$x00 + One Spin" spaces, as before. There were none in Round 1, due to the format above. The board also had Pick-A-Prize (which usually had about 10-12 choices at any given time) and returning favorite $2,000 Or Lose-A-Whammy.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bill, an anthropomorphic stack of dollar bills whom the Whammy would humiliate in some form or another in animations in season two.
  • Call-Back: Round 1's dollar values included $470 and $525, both of which were present on Press Your Luck.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Mostly the above, but on the last day of taping then-Fremantle employee Mandel Ilagan (probably best known for creating Half Off for The Price Is Right) hosted the final rehearsal game, giving the rules from memory.
  • Catchphrase:
  • Consolation Prize: An Argus digital camera in Season 1, a Croton watch with a Whammy on it in Season 2.
  • Covered in Gunge: The result of a Double Whammy, only present in the final Big Board round. Contestants who hit one of these were subjected to a physical element associated with the animation, such as being sprayed with water or having grass clippings dumped over their heads.
  • Crocodile Tears: One of the Whammies was obviously based on someone known for them:
    "Hi, this is Whammy Faye Baker here. I just wanted to thank you for your generous donations." *fake blubbering*
  • Double Unlock: Winning the car required contestants to collect both "pieces" ("GEM" and "CAR" in Season 1, two halves of a key in Season 2) and win the game. In Season 1, hitting a Whammy at any point in the game took the car out of consideration.note  Once the Big Bank was introduced, though, any car key halves went into it if a player hit a Whammy.
  • Downer Ending: One episode had a contestant rack up over $25,000 with one passed spin left (meaning she had to take it). She hit a Double Whammy with that last spin and lost the game, but that memorable loss led to her return for the Tournament of Losers episode.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: In one animation, the Whammy is a drill sergeant who forces the money to do push-ups for him, then just tackles him to steal all the money.
    "Drop and give me twenty! Hmm... actually, give me everything!"
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first two taped episodes lacked the $1,000 rule at the start of Round 1.
    • The first 12 taped episodes featured a smaller font for the Big Board, plus had different coloring on the contestant podium and no yellow background on the Whammy indicators that popped up in front of the players. Also, at least one of these episodes featured a regular Whammy that would later be repurposed for use as a Double Whammy.note 
  • Extra Turn: The "$x00 + One Spin" spaces.
  • Flawless Victory: In Season 1, winning the GEM car (or any prizes in Round 1), required the player to win the game without hitting a single Whammy along the way due to the rules regarding participation in Round 1. Although this happened with regular prizes, no GEM car was ever awarded. In fact, every single player who won the GEM card in Round 1 ended up hitting a Whammy later in the game, losing the card.
  • Foregone Victory: At least once, two contestants Whammied-Out (eliminated themselves from the game), leaving one player to use their remaining spins playing against the house, as had been the case on Press (and, presumably, Chance before it). On that contestant's final spin, instead of the board showing an image of her versus the person in 2nd/1st place, it showed the image of the Whammy to indicate that she was indeed playing against the house and could still lose.
  • Four Is Death: As always, four Whammies knocks you out of the game.
  • Game Show Appearance: During the series' run, husband-and-wife voice acting duo Sandy Fox and Lex Lang appeared within a year of each other.
  • Game Show Host: Todd Newton.
  • Game Show Winnings Cap: One-and-done, which didn't really work out too well when people were the "big winner" with less than $3,000. The only contestant to win with $0 due to her opponents Whammying-Out was invited back on a later episode, while 12 contestants were invited back for the very last week of shows.
  • Inflation Negation: Premiered 16 years after Press Your Luck ended, but retained the same nominal values in Square #4 despite inflation going up about 63% in America during that span. Justified, in that a cable channel the caliber of Game Show Network would most definitely have a smaller budget than CBS.
  • Living Currency: Some of the Whammy animations have the Whammy interact with a sentient stack of money named Bill, who would naturally play the Butt-Monkey to the Whammy's antics (such as him stealing bills out of the stack).
  • Luck-Based Mission: Even going so far as to say it was "Larson-proof".
  • Miserable Massage: One of the Whammy animations has the Whammy aggressively massage a stack of dollar bills until it explodes into bills.
    Whammy: Now just relax and I'll work on that knot. [beats on the stash until there's nothing left] There. No more knot!
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Ed Long and Janie Litras, Michael Larson's opponents when he broke the bank on Press, were invited back to play Whammy! against his brother James, since Michael had died in 1999.note 
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Several of the Whammy animations, both regular and Double, were call backs to those of the original Press Your Luck, most notably the "Lawnmower" Whammy.
    • One regular Whammy had the creature in a boxing ring dressed in "wrestler"-type clothing, including a yellow mask around his eyes, harking back to the original Whammy's appearance.
  • Nintendo Hard: This version of Press Your Luck is this trope due to new rules regarding participation plus additional Whammy squares and an even more random board pattern than the classic format.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Among the many new Whammies were expies of George Foreman, Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart, Steve Irwin, Britney Spears, Ozzy Osbourne, Anne Robinson, Judge Judy, Harry Potter, and *NSYNC.
  • No Indoor Voice: Todd freakin' Newton. Justified, in that he actually had a likable personality and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself rather than simply being the loud-voiced, robotic, only-here-for-the-paycheck, pretty-boy kind of emcee that became so common in the aughties (such as Ty Treadway).
  • Non-Indicative Name: The "Double Whammy" only added one Whammy to the player's total. The "Double" came from the Whammy animation ending with the player covered in stuff like snow, Silly String, or something else.
    • At least its onboard graphic showed just one Whammy with the "Double (Whammy)" text. The Filipino version's counterpart showed two Whammies side-by-side, which is more confusing.
  • Notzilla: One of the Double Whammies is "Whamzilla," a reptilian version of the Whammy who rampages across a city of money, complete with Godzilla's stock roar.
  • Obvious Beta: The pilots had a "Whammy Guard", awarded to a player for earning the maximum 12 spins in the Question Round, that negated the next Whammy hit.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • The Big Bank, which made the car much more likely to be won. Kind of hard to miss the display below the contestants... The only car given away in a regular game was won through the Big Bank, after several Whammies took the Key halves from other players.
    • The show also had any player that hit a Whammy in Round 1 be eliminated from the rest of the round. This is to address a rare but serious problem from Press Your Luck where it was possible for a player to Whammy-Out in Round 1 and be unable to play in Round 2 because of it (although this also made winning anything from Round 1, such as one half of the car, much more difficult).
  • Old School Introductory Rap: One of the Whammy animations has him turn into a stereotypical rapper: "Well I'm the rappin' Whammy and it ain't no joke, I'm cleanin' you out and leavin' you broke!"
  • Opening Narration:
    • Season 1 (2002): "The game with big bucks and Whammies is back, bigger and better than ever! It's time to play Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck!"
    • Season 2 (2003): "The game with big bucks and Whammies is even bigger and better than ever! It's time to press your luck and play Whammy!"
  • Pilot: Two of them were taped on February 13, 2002, and were respectively hosted by Peter Tomarken and Todd Newton. Clips from them made it to early GSN promos.
  • Player Elimination: Like in Press Your Luck, hitting a Whammy causes you to forfeit any earnings up to that point. If you hit four whammies, your score gets set to zero and you are out of the competition.
  • Press X to Die: One of the options presented by two Move 1 Space squares in Round 2 could have been a Double Whammy.
  • Product Placement:
    • One Double Whammy dove into a bowl of M&Ms; the resulting splash dumped a boatload of them on the player. A year’s supply of M&Ms also appeared on the board as a prize.
    • Two specific cars (a GEM Car and a Suzuki Aerio SX) were offered as prizes at different times during the show's run.
  • Progressive Jackpot: The Big Bank, which started at $3,000 and grew by whatever was lost to the Whammy. If a player landed on a Big Bank space, s/he was asked one question. Answering it correctly (and it had to be exact) broke the Bank, which was usually enough to put them far ahead of everyone else. In round 1, it was easier to hit, but there was less money in the bank due to the rules of that round. In round 2, the space is harder to hit, and guarded by a whammy and double whammy. Those whammies want to keep their big bank safe from harm.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Again, the Whammies.
  • Spelling Bee: One Whammy animation had the Whammy dressed as a little girl at a spelling bee.
    Announcer: Spell "loser."
    Whammy: [childlike voice] Loser....Y-O-U. [normal voice] Loser!
  • Stock Sound Effects: The "WHAMZILLA!" Whammy used authentic Godzilla sound effects, including the roar (a fusion of the classic Showa and early Heisei roars), and the iconic footstep sound from the original. Exactly how GSN got away with this is unknown, since Toho is veeeery protective of their properties. GSN is owned by Sony, which was involved with the franchise at the time, so that may explain it.
  • Take That!: One Double Whammy from season 2 mocked Enron! It had a Whammy in a blue business suit standing with a pile of bills and a box that says "Whamron" in his hands, and he says, "I better file these important financial documents!" He then "unwittingly" puts the cash and box into a shredder (with "Shred-O-Matic" written on it), which spews out the money from the top and over both the Whammy and the player (shards of green paper are dumped on the contestant).
  • That Came Out Wrong: "Mark if you could please remove your boxers so we can see the Whammy." Todd Newton immediately lampshaded this by saying "I mean that professionally."note 
  • Trademark Favorite Food: One of the Whammy animations has a Whammy that loves M&M's and dives into a bowl of them, then starts swimming; Todd actually joked on one instance "the Whammy that melts in your mouth, not in your hands". This Whammy would be used even if the contestant didn't earn the M&Ms supply in Round 1 as a plug-in.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs:invoked Early GSN commercials for the series began with "This is your Whammy" (the rollerskating Whammy from Press that slips and hits his head), followed by "This is your Whammy on the all-new Press Your Luck" (clips from both of the 2002 pilots).
  • Transpacific Equivalent: The Philippines got Whammy! Push Your Luck, which ran on the GMA Network from 2007-08. Hosted by Paolo Bediones and Rufa Mae Quinto, the show was virtually identical to the American version.
  • Twinkle Smile: The Whammy does this on the show logo.
  • Undesirable Prize:
    • The GEM Car. Did anyone actually want that thing?
    • Same could be said for a lot of the prizes. Who wanted a $300 year's supply of M&Ms when that was also the lowest cash amount on the board? The "His & Hers Roller Skates" were also a prime example, as well as every prize worth $300 or less on this list — all 100+ of them.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Big Bank. Although a decent idea ("Whammying the Whammy"), it was marred by some incredibly hard questions (including one where the contestant's guess was The Godfather and the answer was The Godfather Part 2) and the fact that it pretty much brought the excitement to a halt.
  • Visual Pun: The Double Whammy animations had the "W" symbol on the Whammy's chest divided into two - "double whammy", get it?
  • Vocal Evolution: The Whammies in this series have lower voices than the ones in the original series, which sounded like they were on helium.
  • Whammy: As in the original Press, hitting the Whammy space on the Big Board costs you all your money. He's also now a computer-animated character. In season 2 of this version, however, the Whammied money can be won back through the Big Bank.
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof: One Whammy animation lampooning Crocodile Hunter featured the Whammy commenting on and then fighting a feral crocodile-like stack of money.

Alternative Title(s): Whammy


Massage Whammy

The Whammy massages the stack of money so hard, it explodes into dollar bills.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / MiserableMassage

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