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YMMV / Family Feud

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Ray Combs: This last Bullseye question is worth $5,000, here we go... we asked 100 people: 'Besides 'Main' Pages, name another section of TV Tropes." [contestant buzzes in] Trope-tan?
Trope-tan: "Your Mileage May Vary"?
Ray Combs: Is "Your Mileage May Vary" the number-one answer? [clang] BULLSEYE!

  • Acceptable Targets: The Harvey era just loves making fun of certain people in its questions. Married and/or slacking men and the elderly seem to be the most common. For some time, questions were phrased in anti-LGBT manner, as well.
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  • Adaptation Displacement: Zig-zagged like crazy. Although the current version has been running since 1999 (compared to the nine-year run of the original), it's also on its fourth host and might be seen as separate runs in the eyes of some viewers. However, even most non-fans would probably recognize the names Richard Dawson and Ray Combs in association with the Feud.
  • Author's Saving Throw: For the 2021 season of Celebrity, if the episode has one game spread out over the full hour, any potential Sudden Death round plays out like a normal round, rather than only needing the top answer, in order to cut down on the padding explained below.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Steve Harvey. Depending on who you ask, he is either the best thing to happen to Feud since Ray Combs or the worst. Some fans consider his reactions to off-the wall answers as hilarious and justified while others believe they come across as mean-spirited and downright insulting. His version in general is exceptionally divisive, particularly for its use of adult content.
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  • Broken Base: Fandom opinion is sharply divided over the merits of the hosts (aside from maybe the near-universally disliked Louie Anderson with Richard Karn not that far behind). Among the most heated debates are between Dawson and Combs with Harvey being thrown into the mix since he started hosting.
  • Critical Research Failure: When ABC's official website announced the celebrities appearing on the 2015 run of Celebrity Family Feud, one of the shows advertised was "NFL American League stars vs. NFL National League stars". The National Football League is divided into conferences, not leagues.
  • Dork Age: Oy.
    • Though its appeal varies from person to person, most fans agree the 1992 addition of the Bullseye round was the slow start of this for the Ray Combs era. This and the unnecessary hour-long changes to the daytime show led Family Feud Challenge to go into repeats for much of 1993 before finally being cancelled. A year later, Executive Meddling caused Combs to be ousted from New Family Feud in favor of the return of an aged and not-quite-as-sharp Richard Dawson, coinciding with an overhaul of the set and theme song and a retool of the Bullseye round, the "Bankroll" round, with decreased payoffs. For the longest time the 1994-95 season of Feud was frequently cited as the worst Feud season ever, and the syndicated version finally ended its seven-season run in 1995.
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    • Then there's the 1999 Retool. The familiar set and theme song were tossed out entirely in favor of a new, "hipper" set and generic party theme, and as host, Louie Anderson was near-universally loathed more or less from the get-go. Combined with the changes made to his version mentioned in They Changed It, Now It Sucks! below and it's a grand wonder it lasted beyond a single season. Richard Karn's run removed the format changes and even brought back the Combs theme for a while, before viewers began to grow bored with Karn and his inability to be comedic or even interesting, although unlike Louie Anderson he at least tried. John O'Hurley's run on the show signaled the beginning of the end of this particular Dork Age (despite his shows eventually growing just as boring as Karn's, though at least O'Hurley was funny), and Steve Harvey finally put an end to it altogether.
    • Some fans will argue that under Harvey, the current version either never came out of its Dork Age or dragged even further into one. Shortly after he began hosting, the producers discovered the popularity of his Wild Takes whenever a contestant gave a lurid answer. As a result, the writers began to enforce this, making the questions Hotter and Sexier to encourage such reactions.
  • Fair for Its Day: Richard Dawson's habit of kissing all the women, already a controversial topic in the days of his original versionnote , would most definitely be considered sexual harassment by today's standards.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
    • It's "Survey said", not "Survey says,"; both O'Hurley and Harvey are guilty of this. Also, it's only ever said in Fast Money, never in the main game, which Ricki Lake was guilty of during the relevant episode of Game$how Marathon.
    • Family Feud Challenge was the one-hour CBS edition from 1992-93. New Family Feud (note the lack of "the") was the half-hour 1992-94 syndicated run. Do not get them mixed up.
    • New Family Feud isn't the official title of either the prior four seasons (1988–92) hosted by Combs, the 1994-95 season hosted by Dawson, or any subsequent versions. This didn't stop GSN from referring to Richard Karn's version as such when they acquired it (nor did the fact that he had been replaced by John O'Hurley by that point).
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Fans who prefer Richard Dawson and/or Ray Combs like to pretend that the current version (at least under host Steve Harvey, who began in 2010) doesn't exist. Interestingly, with the seventeenth season having begun in Fall 2015, the entire run of the current version has surpassed Dawson and Combs' total number of years combined.
  • First Installment Wins: Richard Dawson's original version is the one most people think of when referring to the show pre-Steve Harvey, and Dawson himself is still often cited by fans as the best host. Ray Combs often gets this as well.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Whenever "suicide" was suggested as an answer on the Combs version, Combs would shake his head and urge young viewers not to kill themselves before seeing if it made the survey. If only Combs had taken his own advice...
    • A 2015 celebrity edition asked "Name something that can be inflated or deflated." to Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. At the time the Patriots had been accused using deflated footballs during NFL post-season games and right in the middle of it was superstar quarterback Tom Brady. Almost one year to the day after the episode aired, Brady's four-game suspension which he had successfully appealed for the 2015 season was reinstated for the following year.
    • In the 1987 pilot, one of the Survey questions was to name something people often make fun of president Ronald Reagan for. "Memory" was on the board, and it got less funny when Reagan announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 1994.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Ray Combs was blamed for the show's low ratings come 1994, and was essentially told by the company that he was being replaced by his predecessor, Richard Dawson. Combs' firing from Feud was the event which sent his entire life crumbling, and while he tried to recover with a talk show and Family Challenge, nothing worked and he committed suicide in 1996. It didn't help that Ray's final Feud had one of the worst Fast Money rounds ever, with 77 points scored by the first player and zero by the second. While not directly stated as his finale, a few of Ray's comments make it clear that it is.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • One question from 1980 asked "Name something about a person that would prevent him from being elected president." to which the number three answer was "Divorced". Later that year, the U.S. elected its first president to have been divorced: Ronald Reagan.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The show's return to using the classic theme song in 2008 generated mixed reactions, with some saying it seems anachronistic on the current version, most feeling that the 1994 theme song (or even the party theme from 1999) would've made a better choice.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Among game show fans, Steve Harvey's version. GSN's repeated airings of this version and the fact that it relies on Hotter and Sexier humor is likely one of the reasons.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Karn's Catch Phrases "I'M DOUBLING/TRIPLING THE POINTS!", "YOU'VE SWEPT THE BOARD!", and "THE [name] FAMILY HAVE DRAWN FIRST BLOOD!" were very popular on game show forums for a while, though not necessarily for any positive reasons.
    • The "Strike" and "Ding!" noises are used quite a bit in game show parodies.
    • Giving "naked grandma" as an answer in the comments for YouTube clips.
    • "Good answer! Good answer!"
    • Name something that gets passed around...
    • Steve Harvey's reactions to contestants giving oddball answers deserves mention.
    • One survey about "another way people would say 'mother'" ran dry very quickly, with the contestants saying whatever two-syllable words sounding roughly like 'mama' they could come up with, and Steve saw the pattern immediately, not just mocking them but repeating it in increasingly incredulous tones, like 'nana' and even 'nani'. The fact that Steve had stumbled into a Big "WHAT?!" in Japanese was not lost on more culturally-savvy viewers.
    • "YES! KILL!" Explanation 
  • More Popular Spin-Off: Family Feud is based on the Audience Match portion of Match Game. It overshadowed Match Game in the ratings, although that was partly because CBS shifted the latter's timeslot around several times in a short timespan.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: That same music cue plays once the game is over on the Dawson and Combs versions.
  • Nausea Fuel: A few Harvey-era questions have fallen victim to this. The third question of the May 4, 2015 episode has one such instance - "If there was a KFC for cannibals, what parts would people order buckets of?"
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • While many Harvey questions invoke Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male, some have gone as far as discussing murder. An egregious example from a 2016 episode is listed below.
    • This question: "After you murder someone, name something you should get rid of." To make matters worse, one contestant answered "The witnesses."
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: One contestant answered "peanut butter" as an answer to "Name something that you squeeze." It was something so absurd at the time it was laughed at and got zero points. Many years later, squeezable peanut butter did exist, such as Skippy Squeeze Sticks.
  • Older Than They Think: Most people think the Fast Money time limit extension from 15/20 seconds to 20/25 seconds started on the current version back in 1999, but it had in fact been in place for Richard Dawson's return season back in 1994. Said season also debuted the look of the main game board, including an eight-slot maximum, as seen on the current version (albeit modified) from 1999-2008.
  • Padding:
    • Ever notice how many times the contestants bleat "Good answer!" no matter how idiotic the response might be?
    • Richard Dawson's opening monologues. One of the reasons for the change to a $400 goal and the addition of a fourth Single round during the 1984-85 season was said to be so that Dawson wouldn't have time for them.
    • Some episodes of ABC's Celebrity edition starting in 2020 consist of one game stretched over an hour, with no rule changes. Many of those episodes go almost 20 minutes before finishing the first round.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Kathy Najimy was a contestant along with her family on a 1981 syndicated episode. 25 years later, in 2006, she and most of her team returned to play the game on the finale of Game$how Marathon.
    • Voice actress Grey DeLisle was a contestant on a 1989 episode, even showing off her voice skills!
    • In 2015, the family of prominent video game streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins made an appearance on the syndicated version. In his introduction, Tyler noted that he was a professional video game streamer and top Halo player — a concept that left Steve a little confused. They did well on their run, staying on for 4 episodes and winning $40,000. Two years later, he would attain celebrity status as a Fortnite streamer, becoming the top personality on Twitch (until he defected for a competing service in 2019). The family would ultimately make a return appearance in 2019, this time on Celebrity Family Feud, going up against the family of JuJu Smith-Schuster (one of the participants in an all-star stream, alongside Drake and Travis Scott, that netted Ninja the largest concurrent viewership for a non-tournament stream in Twitch history).
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Louie Anderson, who was hated mainly for his gravelly, nasal voice and seemingly bored demeanor.
    • Richard Karn. While he showed promise once he got over his first-time jitters and initially considered a marked improvement (in part because, unlike Louie, he seemed to show genuine interest in hosting the show), he became obsessed with his Catch Phrases and somehow lost what little ad-libbing ability he'd initially shown.
    • As far as announcers go, Joey Fatone, who replaced Burton Richardson when Steve Harvey began hosting, and Rubin Ervin, who replaced Fatone in 2015. Past announcers would mention the families at the beginning of each show and read the fee plugs (or closed captioning since 1999). Not only do both not announce the families, the show uses the same two pre-recorded clips of their voices on every single episode: one to introduce Harvey and another to vamp for closed captioning ads. With the diminished role, Feud has no need for an announcer so why they insist on crediting Fatone or Ervin is anyone's guess. It's made even worse when Steve Harvey says his name at the start of the show anyway. Even more baffling, Burton came back for the 2015 Celebrity version on ABC, although this might have something to do with the actual show being taped in Harvey's hometown of Atlanta at the time, as opposed to LA or Universal Studios Florida. After Ervin became announcer, two pre-recorded voice clips of him are still used in every episode even with him serving as audience-warm up. This hasn't stopped even with the show moving back to LA in 2017 due to Harvey getting a talk show there.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Sudden Death from 2003 onward where the entire game hinges on getting the number one-answer. With point values already tripled, it more or less boils down to "don't screw up if you ring in too early".
    • The Combs, Dawson '94, Karn and O'Hurley runs had special weeks where teams of divorced couples played against each other. These turn off fans who believe they encourage a mean-spirited atmosphere, especially with the consolation prize in Fast Money turning into a reward for the other team ($5,000 on the Karn era, $10,000 for O'Hurley) if lost. Perhaps ironically, the Harvey version doesn't do them.
    • Harvey provides host-induced examples in the Face-Off.
      • If a contestant who rang in doesn't provide the number one answer, past hosts would always prompt the other contestant with something along the lines if "X answer(s) will beat that." Harvey sometimes doesn't do this, so a contestant can run out of time to answer without warning. This has resulted in a higher rate of buzz outs on his run than on previous versions. It's most noticeable on Celebrity Family Feud since contestants on that version take more time to come up with answers.
      • What's worse is when Harvey doesn't verbally prompt the contestant who buzzed in. This has lead to situations where a contestant who beat an opponent gets buzzed out because Harvey or a judge didn't specify who rang in first.
    • Fast Money:
      • No questions are more hated by the fan base than those involving numerical answers, such as those beginning with "On a scale of one to ten..." and "At what [age/time] do[es]...", which have appeared in all versions, most frequently in the Steve Harvey era. With a wide range of answers, fans accuse these of being budget-savers since number one answers to those rarely top 30 points. On a few occasions, contestants have guessed numbers outside of the "1-10" range despite such answers never getting any points in the surveys.
      • Since 1999, getting all the number one answers never adds up to more than 200 points. While this is more or less enforced so that the second contestant is required to play, it also makes an already hard bonus round even harder.
  • Second Verse Curse: The full rendition of the theme song features a B-section that goes up into a higher key and has a different melody. This part of the theme is almost never heard on air... except for the last stanza, which is used over at The Price Is Right to introduce Grand Game.
  • So Okay, It's Average: What many people now think about John O'Hurley's version, considering who he replaced and who replaced him.
    • This was even referenced in an episode of American Dad!- Steve and Hayley created a totem pole featuring the heads of all the hosts for a now-elderly Stan (long story), and Stan points out they omitted O'Hurley (to which Steve goes "I told you!").
  • Special Effect Failure: Several times.
    • During the "mechanical" era, when the board wasn't digital, answers were accidentally revealed when they weren't supposed to have been on more than one occasion, resulting in their respective questions being thrown out.
    • On one episode of the original Dawson era, the electronic board wasn't working for Fast Money. Dawson insisted that the show go on, so that round was played on cue cards.
    • On one episode of the Combs version, the electronic "FAMILY FEUD" logo it showed in the intro ended up erasing the "FE" on-camera. Combs quickly noticed this and made multiple jokes about the "Family Ud". On another occasion it read "FAM FE" for a while, but nobody seemed to notice.
      • One episode saw an abrupt dimming of the stage lights; Combs joked about CBS Television City forgetting to pay its electrical bill.
    • The 1994-95 version's scaled-down set necessitated throwing out the 'trilon' that displayed main game answers and the Fast Money board, inexplicably using chyron graphics in its stead while in-studio the Ferranti-Packard Fast Money board was used. Half the time, the graphics department would forget to put up the chyrons anyway, and the home viewers would see the mechanical board.
  • Squick: Many answers during the Steve Harvey run thus far. One such example was a response to "Name something of Grandpa's that might accidentally fall in the toilet" - one of the actual answers on the board was "Low-hanging nads."
  • That One Level: The Triple Round in the Anderson and Karn versions. When the current syndicated run began, the number of Strikes in the Triple Round was reduced from three to one. This sometimes created an awkward situation where a trailing team could lose by not coming up with enough points before the other family got a chance to steal. Beginning with Karn's second season, a more conventional play to 300 points was rolled out with the Triple Round allowing three Strikes again. However, Karn was allowed to read the question in its entirety only once, a rule that was dropped when O'Hurley started hosting.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The last season of the daytime Combs version (last two seasons of the syndicated version) used a Bullseye round that dragged gameplay down. note  When Dawson returned in 1994, the Bullseye round was renamed the "Bankroll" round note  and families were cut to four members. In archived footage seen in the E! True Hollywood Story episode on the series, Dawson said that he hated the Bullseye round; since the producers just didn't get the hint that their beloved gimmick was what was causing ratings to drop, it's highly likely they changed it to the Bankroll round as a compromise.
      • The later Combs episodes and Dawson '94 were both hated for their increasing use of celebrity teams instead of actual families.
      • Hell, let's just go with Dawson '94 period. The above Bankroll change; the aforementioned theme song re-recording; a smaller, cheaper set (previously used when the show went to the Grand Ole Opry); and Dawson himself wasn't exactly the same Deadpan Snarker audiences knew and loved from before.
      • Inexplicably, the Bullseye round returned on the O'Hurley version in 2009. Although it had a comparatively faster pace and cleaner execution compared to its use in the '90s, it was still the Bullseye round; thus, it only lasted one season.
    • The Anderson version had a Golden Snitch structure of Single-Single-Single-Triple, with only one Strike in the Triple round. Many families swept the first three rounds but still lost due to just one bad answer (and one ended up winning with a dismal 163 points). This rule was retained through Karn's first season, after which it was finally changed to Single-Single-Double-Triple with a Sudden Death round if neither family hit 300 points.
    • Many things pertaining to the Harvey era:
      • Questions that are adult-oriented.
      1. Dawson-era Question: Name something a clown might take off after the end of his show.
        Harvey-era Question: We asked 100 women: Name something you would take off a clown before having sex with him.
      1. Pre Harvey-era Question: Name a household item you might use to defend yourself from a burglar.
        Harvey-era Question: What household item might a wife use to kill her husband?
      • Questions pertain to divorce that don't really add to the question or are just played to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
      1. Pre Harvey-era Question: Name something a divorcing couple might have trouble splitting up.
        Harvey-era Question: If Tarzan were to get a divorce, what would Jane get in the settlement?/If Santa Claus got a divorce, what would Mrs. Claus get?
      • Questions encouraging answers pertaining to the anatomy and bodily functions were uttered every day. Even seemingly benign questions, such as "Name something a squirrel does with a nut," are asked to get contestants to utter responses that are euphemisms (in this example, "scratch it"). These questions are probably meant to take advantage of Harvey's comedy, which is why you see many of those type of questions end up on their YouTube page, but they even started appearing during John O'Hurley's waning days. Harvey himself has lampshaded this.
      • Aside from being Hotter and Sexier, overly verbose questions have been asked with greater frequency in Fast Money. This started on the Anderson version to take advantage of the extended time limits and had grown more numerous with each hosting change. Passing on just one creates an even bigger time sink.
      1. Dawson-era Question: Name your favorite fattening food.
        Harvey-era Question: Fill in the blank: If I could eat all I want of one food without getting fat, I would choose (what).
      • Questions about Steve Harvey himself. Not only have fans accused them of ego-stroking, they have also proven to be too broad a subject for the contestants and the people being surveyed. A particularly egregious case happened on June 16, 2020 with the question "If Steve Harvey had his own 'Rat Pack' like Frank Sinatra, who would be in it?" Only the #3 answer of Cedric the Entertainer was given by any of the contestants, and none of Steve's other co-stars from The Original Kings of Comedy were on the board.
      • Structuring of the game. If one team wins the first two (Single-round) questions, the maximum available score for the Double-round question is never more than an amount that, when added to the leading team's score, would total 300 or more. (A score of 300 is needed to win the game, and the producers don't want the game to end early, as had happened twice during the Karn run [they split Fast Money between commercials].)
      • In Fast Money, getting all five #1 answers rarely adds up to more than about 175, so as to allow the second player to play ... and possibly blunder and cost his family the chance at the grand prize. This also means that if the first player manages to zero-out, the second person's playing for less than $1,000. Some have also contended that the setup of Fast Money questions are such that some rounds are virtually impossible to win; indeed, five-time champions rarely leave with more than $40,000 (meaning, two Fast Money wins plus any consolation cash). Subverted on the second-run episode that aired 4/24/15: a family won Fast Money three times, a feat only done once a decade before, setting a new record for a five-day run of $61,455.
      • A few other reasons for why some people might not like Harvey's incarnation of the show could be (but not limited to) the shortened intro with a pre-recorded Joey Fatone/Rubin Ervin voice announcement at the beginning and the discontinued introduction of individual family members before the game starts. Many episodes in Harvey's first two seasons also left out information as to which family was returning for what number day [2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th] with the amount of money won and where both families were living in the US; a lot of this seems to be so the producers can squeeze in as much of Harvey and his ratings-grabbing antics as possible.
    • Typically, ABC's Celebrity edition has two games, each with different celebrity families/groups competing against each other, played back to back. For whatever reason, some episodes starting in 2020 only have one game with two families/groups, and instead of simply playing two games with the same groups, extend the one episode to an hour's length. This results in the actual gameplay to move at a snail's pace, with only the first round being played in the first half. Fast Money is separated into two segments with a commercial break in between. While there can be some funny moments during the padded segments, the hour-long episodes are almost universally reviled otherwise.
    • When the weekday version came back from COVID, the set was slightly changed. The family podiums were stretched out and the buzzer podium was separated into sections. It was noticeable, but nothing that affected the look of the set too, too badly. However, when Celebrity came back, for whatever reason the set was changed yet again. Instead of one long family podium, they were separated into individual podiums placed in a zig-zag pattern. While this version does include groups related to a project (i.e. a show's main cast) rather than actual families at times, those groups already work together closer than social distancing, making the separation feel pointless. As if to drive this home, the groups still huddle together when the other team has two strikes and will frequently hug each other when they win the round.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Ray Combs following Richard Dawson (and vice versa) for some, whoever came after Combs/Dawson for most (at least pre-Steve Harvey).
  • What an Idiot!: See this page, proving that Feud has very few rivals when it comes to stupid game show answers.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The show is rated TV-G on some TV guides, yet there are a lot of sex-related categories and answers that are not appropriate for children who enjoy game shows. It doesn't help that the mobile game has G-rated categories about animals, food, places, etc.
  • Win Back the Crowd: While the appeal of each version varies, the current run of the show under hosts Louie Anderson and Richard Karn are often considered the show's Dork Age. John O'Hurley helped restore some of the show's reputation, but it was Steve Harvey who propelled it to be one of the top-rated syndicated shows on television, and cemented its status as GSN's top show.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • The 1999 revival. Who on Earth would pick an overweight, unattractive comedian with a flat, gravelly voice (especially over Dolly Parton, a reasonably telegenic, upbeat person with considerable experience in just about every medium)? Or his successor, a scruffy low-level actor whose only significant role was second banana on Home Improvement?
    • The 2008 Celebrity Family Feud. Why producers made the decision to have Al Roker of all people serve as emcee remains a mystery. Roker, while known as a decent weatherman and enjoyable fixture on the Today show, did a lackluster job hosting this series, with his weak style and inability to be comedic drawing (unfavorable) comparisons to Richard Karn. What makes this even more confusing is that the main show already had a host — John O'Hurley — who had long proven himself to be more than competent at the gig. However, O'Hurley had already committed himself to a celebrity talent show on CBS, Secret Talents of the Stars, that wound up tanking after one episode.


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