Monday, February 14, 2011

Shop Til You Drop

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Today I'm featuring a game show that I couldn't stand. However, it did have a nice, fourteen-year run, and I know a few people who loved this one, so I thought it should still be included. As many people did, I'd watch it every once in a while if I was trying to catch Supermarket Sweep, LoL.

Brief history: The show originated on Lifetime, moved to the Family Channel, then over to PAX (now ION). It was often featured alongside Supermarket Sweep, and surprisingly had the longest run of any pairs to that show. The show currently isn't airing on any network, although in 2000 the Game Show Network did choose it to be among their "50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time," featured as #45.

The game: Two teams of two, most of the time is was boy-girl teams. There's a round of silly challenges, where one team is given their preference of attempting the known challenge #1 or the unknown challenge #2. The other team plays the remaining challenge, and the next round, the second team picks. You got points for getting the challenge done, and also won a prize from one of the "shops." Then, there was the Shopper's Challenge Round, where the two teams alternate answering popular culture or shopping questions. The team with the most combined points at this point won the game and went on to the Bonus Round - Shop 'til They Drop. Here, one person opened boxes, and the other ran around exchanging them. The goal was to rack up 6 items worth $2,500 - do that and you win a trip. If you don't make that much, you just win the prizes in the boxes. The team got 90 seconds to open the boxes, decide whether to keep or exchange them, move it to the keep pile or exchange for another, and repeat for each item.

Notable changes to the way the game is played: During the first season, you only had to find $1,000 of stuff. There were also "gag gifts" at some of the stores, which always had low values (under $50). When the price was upped to $2,500, the gag gifts were eliminated. In 2003, instead of a 14-store mall, it was a 14-department warehouse store. In 2003, the stunts from the first two rounds were eliminated, being replaced with more question-and-answer segments. And, in the Bonus Round, the members of the team took turns being the "runner." Oooh, and some of the episodes at the end of the Lifetime run were taped at Universal Orlando.

Special contestants: There was a Christmas special that featured celebrities playing for charities. Every once in a great while you'd see a same-sex team, but that was exceedingly rare.

Favorite Rounds: I'm going to be cliche and go with the Bonus Round. The crazy games like "put shaving-cream-filled-balloons-in-my-partner's-pants" or "does ____ have hair" got old and were kinda boring to me. Although I wasn't in love with the running-back-and-forth and trading of items, it was really funny how many of the "shoppers" would make their decisions over what to go with, LoL. Here are a few links to watch an episode if you'd like... you can see how it is for yourself... head's up, this is from the very first season... Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  

My take: The prizes weren't all that interesting... I mean, a vacuum and some dishes? A trip, sure... but the game really didn't entertain me all that much, and I think I'd pass on this one in favor of competing on something else.

Did you ever watch Shop Til You Drop? Who would you partner with if the show was still on the air and you were competing?
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