I just caught today's airing of The Price is Right; it was my first time seeing the show since Drew Carey took over for retired Bob Barker. How depressing. I was one of the people who thought Drew Carey would be a perfect replacement for Barker, but if what I saw today was any indication, this show should probably be taken out behind the shed and shot.
I grew up watching The Price is Right nearly every day -- one of the best memories I have of my grandmother on my father's side is sitting with her in their house in Edison, New Jersey watching gameshows whenever I was dropped off there to be babysat. As much as I loved the Whammies on Press Your Luck, Barker's hour-long show was our favorite. I continued to watch it sporadically when I was home sick during my school age years and even occasional throughout college if I didn't have class. And even every now and then over the past 7 years that I've been working from home. Bob Barker was this country's jovial grandfather who always had a smile for you and always knew how to brighten a room. I say that fully aware I never met the man. And although his hair and suit always gave him a somewhat sinister look (or maybe it was that left hook to Adam Sandler's chin I'm thinking of) it was impossible to turn on his show and not feel a fresh blast of California sunshine. It could be the dead of winter in the northeast, yet turning on The Price is Right made it feel like a warm sunny Southern California day.
And now there's Drew Carey. Perhaps he's still mourning the loss of his beloved Cleveland Indians, I don't know, but what I do know is that he shows all the excitement of a 10-year old being forced to finish his cauliflower. He doesn't seem lost necessarily, but he just doesn't look like he really wants to be there. Sure, I imagine going from having a hit show named after yourself to doing daytime gameshows can be a bit of an ego burst, but it's The Price is Right! It's not a gameshow as much as it is a piece of Americana. There's probably a million people who would host that show every day for free. Myself included. And yet, there stands Drew Carey. Glum. Maybe Drew Carey wasn't the right person for the job. Maybe we all loved Drew Carey because hs seemed like a big friendly lovable loser. Do lovable losers make good gameshow hosts? Louie Anderson wasn't too bad during his short tenure on Family Feud, but then again it certainly wasn't the same without Richard Dawson. Hmmm... maybe I just caught the show on a bad day. Maybe Drew Carey is still trying to feel his way through it. Maybe Drew Carey just isn't as good as faking a smile and affection for strangers as Bob Barker was. I don't know the answer, but I doubt I'm alone in thinking that The Price is Right is an institution and that it deserves better than a half-hearted smile from a host who seems like he's always looking down at his feet.