Monday, January 01, 2007

What It Is, What It Was, What It Shall Be....

When I was a kid growing up in the 70's, I used to love watching bad TV game shows -- Hollywood Squares, The Joker's Wild, Tic Tac Dough, Card Sharks, you name it. One of my very favorite ones was Family Feud. I'm talking about the original one featuring Richard Dawson, not any of those shitty hacks that tried to follow in his footsteps. It was one game show where (1) it would often occur to me that I was decidedly smarter than those people that were actually on the show, and (2) Richard Dawson would never hesitate to let a contestant know (albeit nicely) how dumb they really were.

Anyway, it was some time during the late 1970's and I distinctly remember watching Family Feud in the middle of the day. I presume it was summertime, but it could have been one those days that are now referred to in the corporate world as a "personal leave day."

There were two families -- one family of European descent and one African American family. Or as it was simply described back then, the white family vs. the black family. I remember each family being a collage of bad fashion, dated hairstyles, and questionable game show answers. However, at the end of round 3 (or so), the "white" family led the "black" family along the lines of 268-0.

It's now time for the famed "Triple Score Round" (a/k/a "Let's finally finish up this game so we can show some goddamned commercials").

Richard Dawson begins to speak. "The top five answers are on the board. Name a slang term for a police officer."

BUZZ!!

"Cop" says the one guy from the black family.

"Survey says ....."

DING!!

"Cop is the #1 answer," says Dawson. "Do you want to play or pass?"

"We'll play, Richard," the family member confidently states.

Richard asks each family member the same question, "name a slang term for a police officer" and the proceed to reel off the remaining answers in order of popularity and without getting a single strike:

"Fuzz"
"Heat"
"Pig"
"The Man"

And it just so happened that those were the only five responses, so the black family ended up winning 300-268. I remember it was pretty funny at the time, because the other family just stood there looking entirely stunned, thinking they had the game in the bag.

While I realize that there are probably some profound - and perhaps disturbing - sociological conclusions to be drawn from this episode, what really strikes me even years later was the jargon used back then. Certainly cop is still commonly used, but whatever happened to the more 70's-esque terms -- "heat," "pig" and "fuzz?" Or what about other great 70's terms, like "far out," "groovy," and "right on?" What ever happened to those?

Sure, some 70's terms are used still to this day (e.g., dude, awesome, disco). But there are so many great 70's colloquial expressions that have virtually disappeared and which, sadly, could soon be extinct one day.

So I decided that my 2007 New Year's resolution would be to bring back some of the 70's slang. Don't get me wrong, I'm just talking about the expressions, not the clothing, music or hairstyle. I'm really going to make an effort to sprinkle it into every day conversation as well as the blog. Special requests are, of course, welcome and encouraged.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll see a resurgence in the use of terms such as "foxy," "solid" and "can you dig it."

And as an extra bonus, here's a fantastic clip of Richard Dawson absolutely losing it and unable to compose himself on a Family Feud episode. I am certain he was hammered at the time, but that doesn't take away from the awesome-ness of this clip.

Dy-no-mite.

3 comments:

Moon Martini said...

Happy New Year man!

Love the clip and Richard Dawson was "the host" of Family Feud. It is funny how I cannot remember high school geometry but can recall all the 70's theme songs to shows like Gilligan's Island, Love Boat etc.

Sherry said...

Hilarious. Really really funny. A friend used to work on FF and brought me to a taping to see the Village People VS Disco Divas. But that fat f*** from Home Improvement was hosting and I've never seen a man more in love with himself. Obviously he doesn't own a mirror. Richard was the only host for that show. He made everyone feel good... even the ugliest women who swooned at his smooches. Good stuff. Happy New Year.

David James said...

Happy New Year to you all as well. Richard Dawson and the 70s were both awesome. What other game shows do you see the actual spreading of bacteria like you do on the Feud?

Sure, there's awful-ness in there but which decade doesn't have its eyesores?

Right on,
David James