I’ve been watching a lot of “Match Game” on Game Show Network lately. Here are a few very serious and scientific things I have observed.
1. Gene Rayburn, the host of the show, can barely keep it in his pants. He flirts with everything on two legs (including Bob Barker). Wikipedia says Gene was living in Cape Cod during this juncture in his life and would fly out to L.A. every two weeks to tape a weekend of “Match Game” episodes. So, in a sense, Rayburn was like some kind of wild beast they kept sequestered from humanity, bringing him out at designated times to go hog wild with that elongated 1970s microphone. Or maybe Gene Rayburn was just a horny son of a bitch. Who knows? At any rate, I hate this knowledge because it’s made me envision that weaselly bastard masturbating on planes.
2. Richard Dawson seems remarkably drunker on “Match Game” than on his version of “Family Feud.” This makes me wonder which position was really more work—asking ugly people from the Midwest generic questions on “Feud” or trying to answer generic questions along with ugly people from the Midwest on “Match Game.” They seem equal to me. More is at stake on “Match,” but the celebs do get to sit down. Rayburn is the poor idiot who had to keep walking back and forth three feet for thirty minutes at a time.
3. “Match Game” is one of those rare pieces of entertainment where a flamboyantly/unapologetically gay man—Charles Neslon Reilly—can just cut loose and queen it up without offending people or causing any kind of uproar. That’s always pretty great to see, but it makes me wonder just who the hell was watching “Match Game” when it originally aired. Conventional wisdom suggests our society was less accepting of “alternative lifestyles” back in the 1970s. Were conservatives not up in arms over Chuckie R’s mincing ways? On the other hand, Liberace. Legions of housewives followed that guy for years without realizing (refusing to accept?) there’d never be a Mrs. Libby. Was this self-delusion? Did TV viewers of 1970s America trick themselves into believing CNR was just one of those fancy New York boys who liked scarves? I guess when you put Reilly next to guys like Nispey Russell and Richard Dawson, he really doesn’t seem that gay.
Meanwhile, Fannie Flagg was a lesbian that whole time. Do you think she ever got pissed off that Charles wore his sexuality like a fucking top hat and gloves? I mean, not to undercut the greatness of CNR, but he didn’t really do anything with his life outside of being bitchy on game shows. That’s what he’s remembered for: being the gay guy on “Match Game.” Fannie Flagg was sitting on Fried Green Tomatoes all those years. I wonder how she feels about that. I wonder how the homosexual community feels about that. There’s a juxtaposition there I’m a little afraid to get into because I don’t want to offend anyone. For the record, I think Charles Nelson Reilly was an unspeakable legend and Fannie seems just amazing, and they’re definitely both on my short list of celebs from any time period I’d kill to hang out with.
4. On every episode of “Match Game” I’ve seen, Gary Burghoff is like the biggest asshole ever. He’s just ragging on everybody in a not-very-joking manner like a miserable little dwarf. What’s up, Radar? Angry you’re always under Harry Morgan’s thumb?
5. Preliminary research has proven that Brett Somers is remarkably hotter on “Match Game ’73” than she is on “Match Game ’74.” That separation from Jack Klugman really took its toll.
6. How come they kept updating the year like that? Did they think people would think they were just showing reruns for five years or whatever? That’s really weird. Imagine if they did that with other shows. “ALF ’90.” “Lost ’08.” Weird, right?