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YMMV / Match Game

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  • Acceptable Political Targets: Depending on the era, you were fair game if you were the President of the United States at the time the show aired. The '70s versions took shots at Nixon, Ford and Carter, the Match portion of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour took aim at Reagan, the '98 version worked overtime at potshotting Clinton, and the 2016 version has gone after Trump.
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    Gene: Speaking of "bazzums"... Fannie, would you show us yours?

    Gene: Milk is the answer that Myron's looking for. Let's see if we can get a little milk from Patti here.
    Patti: I beg your pardon?

    Gene: Betty, show us your "G-string"!(Cue “The Stripper” music)
    • An early episode had Jaye P. Morgan complain about her match light not working and screamed out "I can't get turned on!"
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • Several fans of the 1970s version are unaware of the NBC version, which was a far more staid affair (as was the first season or so of the 1970s version).
    • Around the time the 1970s version premiered, the "HOW Y WAS X?!" routine (see Memetic Mutation, below) was already fairly well known from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (and is still in use today, in some form or another). You have Bert Convy to thank for its association with Match Game; he started doing it sometime in 1973 as a Shout-Out, and he and other celebrities kept using it so much the audience soon joined in.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Almost every Super Match/Head-to-Head Match that had Richard Dawson present. Contestants would always pick him for the Head-to-Head because he rarely mismatched. In mid-1978, the show added a "Star Wheel", which would randomize which of the six celebs the contestant would play with in the Head-to-Head Match. The Star Wheel did much to hasten Dawson's departure, and he became much more sullen over the seven weeks after the Wheel's debut (although, rather hilariously, he was the first one the Star Wheel landed on). Per several of the contestants who were interviewed, this is because Richard was known for actually working to try and match the contestant's answer vs. many of the others focusing on coming up with something funny.
    • Even during the Audience Match, there seemed to be a trend where quite a few contestants (usually female, it has to be said) would pick the answer that Dawson gave, whether or not it was likely to be the $500 response, simply because it was Dawson who gave it. That being said, Dawson also pretty reliably provided an answer that was sure to be on the board and the contestant was guaranteed at winning some money.
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    • ABC 2016 version: Rosie O'Donnell for the Head-to-Head. Although this is likely due to her celebrity factor.
  • Ear Worm:
  • Follow the Leader: Jack Barry-Dan Enright productions copied the format pretty blatantly with Hollywood Connection (1977-78), which was pretty much Match Game but with questions about the celebrities instead of fill-in-the-blank. Yahtzee (1988) was basically Match Game WITH DICE!
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Gene and Jon "Bowzer" Bauman's banter following The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour.
    • The "Old Man Periwinkle" questions became this after an age reveal derailed Gene Rayburn's career.note 
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    • A '77 episode featured a question that joked about "Old Man Rayburn" hosting Match Game '99. Not only did Old Man Rayburn end up not hosting Match Game '99 (that prestigious honor went to Michael Burger instead), but Gene Rayburn passed away in 1999.
    • A pair of 1978 episodes saw no less than four tiebreaker rounds being played. During the fourth, Richard Dawson displayed two cards, one during each contestant's question, with the first reading "Here We Go Again!" and the second reading "I'm getting sick of this!!" Funny in context, but when one considers how Dawson would leave the series later that same year, it's hard not to wonder if he was trying to tell us something with that second one...
  • Growing the Beard: At some point circa 1965-66, having been cancelled with six weeks left to make, the show turned into a comedy game with silly questions like "Mary liked to pour gravy on John's _____"...and quickly got renewed by NBC. The show returned to the "sterile" stuff in 1973, but changed within six months to include the likes of Dumb Dora, Old Man Periwinkle, and anything that would lead to an answer of "boobs".
  • Harsher in Hindsight: During the first week of the 1970s version, Jack Klugman would frequently reference his then-wife Brett Somers who would emigrate to the show as a regular panelist. This would be harder to stomach after Klugman and Somers separated in 1974.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Both 1990s hosts, Ross Shafer and Michael Burger, would eventually end up working together on the informative Web Original series, Relevant Report.
  • Memetic Badass: Charles Nelson Reilly, thanks to "Weird Al" Yankovic. "Giddyup, Gene!"
  • Memetic Mutation: "X was so Y..." "How Y was X?!" A lot of younger people don't even know the source of this meme.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The slide whistle used to censor obscenities on the Baldwin version can get nerve-grating quickly.
  • Replacement Scrappy: When Richard Dawson left the panel, he was eventually replaced 11 weeks into the final season (1981-82) by McLean Stevenson, who... was no Dawson.
    • Averted for Ross Shafer, Michael Burger, and (for most people, anyway) Alec Baldwin — the first two were very competent hosts with prior game show experience (Shafer with Love Me, Love Me Not on the USA Network, Burger with the 1985 Reg Grundy pilot Matchmates and the second season of The Family Channel's Family Challenge) who got hit with versions that either got stuck in bad timeslots, or just sucked execution-wise. Alec Baldwin has been seen by most as a competent host — after all, if his career could survive The Cat in the Hat, he could host the most faithful revival since Game$how Marathon (incidentally, Ricki Lake is seen as one of these),
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Kirstie Alley was a contestant at one point.
    • As was Brianne Leary of CHiPs (MG '76; she appeared on the celebrity panel in '79).
    • Former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick was a contestant on PM.
    • As a panelist in 1978, Patty Duke held up a card saying hi to her kids, Mack and Sean.
  • Seasonal Rot: Many fans think that the show started going downhill after Richard Dawson left in the latter half of the 70's, in part because none of his successors had the chemistry. Also, the question writing and general silliness were a bit more toned down in later seasons.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The 1998-99 revival's theme started out almost identically to the 1973-82 one, complete with the scratchy guitar work, but then went off in its own direction. Almost a spoof, really.
  • That One Level: "Match-Up" in the ABC version (but not Convy's pilots), a ham-fisted attempt to add an actual sort of "game".
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The 1979-82 daily syndicated run had two contestants play two games, after which they would both retire, instead of returning champions. At least one player won both games and struck out in both Super Matches, going home with parting gifts.
    • The ABC version had each episode be self-contained, but unlike Match Game PM, it had returning champions. The scores were cash-based, however, and the game hinged on the second Match-Up rather than the second pair of A-B questions. Only the winning player on each show kept the money; departing contestants received standard consolation prizes.
    • The 1998-99 version, especially with the later set — the questions went from Getting Crap Past the Radar to offensive and tasteless under a Hotter and Sexier guise, the panel was reduced from six celebrities to five, the returning-champion aspect was eradicated, the payouts were cheap (reduced from $10,000—plus front-game score—during the ABC run back to $5,000), there was no chemistry whatsoever, and some of the guests were very bored.
  • What an Idiot!: Has its own subpage.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Kukla and Ollie from Kukla, Fran and Ollie appeared on MG '79 and PM that same year (all before the "Cuckoo ____" fiasco), both staying in character.
    • In the 2016 Revival, Sarah Palin


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