Interview

Marco Antonio Regil

Marco Antonio Regil, game show host

The veteran of The Price Is Right and Family Feud tries to create a “shared reality” with contestants.

By John Teti • August 2, 2012

Game show hosts have to pull off two seemingly contradictory feats at once: They have to keep a game on the tracks while also maintaining the sense that anything could happen. If the host keeps too tight a rein on the proceedings, the excitement gets smothered. Too loose, and the game devolves into an aimless mess. Game show host Marco Antonio Regil manages that balance by mixing an improvisational style with a well-practiced instinct for the rhythm of his shows.

Regil began his broadcasting career as a radio DJ in his hometown of Obregon, Mexico, when he was 15 years old. At 27, he became the host of Atinale Al Precio, the Mexican version of The Price Is Right. He has since gone on to host Mexican and U.S. Spanish versions of such shows as Family Feud and Dancing With The Stars. This month, he makes his debut as emcee of Minuto Para Ganar, an American Spanish-language edition of the stunt game show Minute To Win It. The show will run weeknights, starting in mid-August, as part of the launch lineup for Fox’s new MundoFox network. Regil spoke to The Gameological Society about his hosting style, following in Bob Barker’s footsteps, and why certain game shows don’t take hold with a Latin American audience.

The Gameological Society: When you sign up to host the Spanish-language version of an existing game show, how much do you study the original host? Did you look at what Guy Fieri did on Minute To Win It, or do you just ignore the original guy entirely, and bring your own approach?

Marco Regil: All I’ve done in my life have been franchises, as a matter of fact, or most of them—Price Is Right, Family Feud, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?, Dancing With The Stars—so all these shows have been already produced in other countries. I always look at the videos of other countries to see what I like from them, and what I don’t like. See what matches with me or doesn’t match. In the case of Minute To Win It, I did go out to the show, and see what [Fieri] was doing, but I didn’t really study it. When I did Price Is Right, I had a video from Bob Barker, who’d been doing the show for more than 30 years—[that’s] when you really study the show. It’s a very different, very unique situation when you have someone like Bob, or in the Family Feud case, Richard Dawson or Richard Karn—people that have done it before for years.

Gameological: What sort of notes did you take from Bob Barker when you were hosting the Mexican Price Is Right?

Regil: From Bob, there are so many things to learn. I studied him even before I did The Price Is Right. [Laughs.] I used to watch the show with my mother when I was little. I love The Price Is Right. Growing up with him, I noticed how relaxed he was all the time, how he would play the timing, he would stretch a win before revealing the last number—he would kind of go for the number, and go back to the contestant, and then build up the emotion. Things like that. He was really cool, really calm, but he was able to build a very, very high level of emotion.

Gameological: How would you describe your own hosting style?

Regil: I grew up with a single mother, and she used to be a sales trainer for Avon, and later Grafton Cosmetics. She would deal with hundreds, sometimes thousands of women, and she was very respectful to them, the way she would joke with them, have fun with them, never at the mercy of them. Very respectful, very cheerful, very connected. I’m a good Mexican, I like hugging, and I’m really approachable in that sense. So touching someone else is not a very foreign thing to me.

When I host, I tend to be a very warm kind of guy, and allow the contestant to have his own moment. The thing I learned from the beginning is that when you’re hosting a game show, you’re not the star of the show. The star of the show is the contestant. You’re there to facilitate, to make the contestant relaxed, feel good, so he can bring the best out of himself. We don’t want a contestant being all tense and tied up, who’s frightened and not be able to express their emotions. And I play the game with them, that’s the thing. I get emotional—if they win, I get very happy. If they lose, well, that’s a real bummer for me. It’s not that I’m faking it. That’s it.

Gameological: I always like when the host is a vicarious player of the game, too. What types of games do you like to play when you’re not hosting?

Regil: Golf used to be one of my favorite games. I got really into golf. When Tiger Woods came up, everyone wanted to be like Tiger Woods, and I was one of them. [Laughs.] Chess is something that I like too. You start playing chess, and whoever has played it knows that then you start seeing the Life Of Chess, like, “Oh my god, if I move this piece, or make this decision, what are the consequences of this? What if she or he does this?” And they start seeing strategy.

For the games of Minute To Win It, it’s really interesting because I practice yoga and meditation. I’m really into that. I find a little peace in my life because of that. When I was playing the games, one of the things that I realized is that one of the first things you do when when you’re playing these games, because you get nervous, is the same thing you do in yoga when you get into a difficult pose, which is you stop breathing. And the first thing you have to do is keep breathing. Get relaxed, your muscles and your hands, everything can relax so you can be more precise. So I find these games like a little meditation thing, where the more calm you are, and the less you care you’re running out of time, the more successful you can be in the games.

Gameological: Even in an energetic game like Price or Minute To Win It, the host has to be the center of calm at the middle of it, don’t you?

Regil: You have to. If you think about it, when you’re there, as a contestant, besides the game you already have enough reasons to be nervous: You’re in a TV studio, you’re going to be seen by millions of people all over the country, your neighbors are going to see you, your girlfriend is going to see you, your family’s going to see you. And then your mind kicks in and goes, “You’re going to look like an idiot, you’re not going to make it happen, and you’re going to lose the money, and everyone’s going to make fun of you.” If you’re not able to get the contestant to a place where they can stop the little noise in their head, then they’re going to mess up. You are their only friend right there.

It’s like a bull in a bullfighting ring. You’re scared. If the host starts poking fun at you, starts being mean, then you’re lost. I relate to them a lot, and what I try and do is to become their friend and let them know I’m there for them, and somehow joke, and get them a little loose, and between the lines I’m telling them, “Everything’s going to be fine.”

Gameological: You say you like to joke around with your contestants, and from watching you, it seems like you almost treat them like improv comedy partners. What are you looking for in a contestant? What do you see that makes you say, “Okay, here’s what I’m going to have fun with”?

Regil: You have a good eye, that’s exactly what I do. [Laughs.] I ask questions. Of course, I’m briefed before the show—not with every single contestant, like in the case of Family Feud, where you have families. In that case, they brief you about the captain. On Minute To Win It, I will be briefed. They give you tips, like, “This person is a baker. They love baking,” or, “He’s a student,” or newlyweds. We have a contestant who has already asked us—he’s going to go up there with his girlfriend, and he wants to propose to her in the middle of the show. So I know little things like that, and when you have enough experience, you know what questions to ask.

The key is to be able to listen. To be very present with them. To listen to what they’re saying, because they can give you a word or a little thing that can turn into a joke. They feel exactly like you said—“Oh, we’re partners. Together, we’re going to make people have fun, help people have fun.” As opposed to, “Oh, you’re using me to crack some jokes.”

And that’s what I look for. Pieces that can help me build a relationship through a shared reality, something we have in common. Something that we like or dislike. Something that I can grab, and we can extend that joke and their participation, and that becomes the theme of that family or that contestant. It just comes out of miles. I’ve been doing this for 26 years, [including] radio. Radio, you learn a lot. You interview people, you talk a lot, you go to live events. The skills of being on so many hours on the air make your job on TV easier.

Gameological: You mentioned radio, and I know you started out when you were 15 years old, right?

Regil: Paid at 15, yeah. But I started even earlier, because I started when I had a radio station at my house—a fake one, of course. My mom would tell me, “Okay, good. If you want to be a radio DJ or a TV host, you have to practice.” So she gave me—I told you she was a sales trainer, and back in the day she used to have for little conferences, she had this microphone with its own amplifier—and she would give me that. I would take the microphone inside the bedroom, and the speaker was outside the bedroom, and I would have a tape recorder and a little record player that Santa Claus gave as a gift, and that was my radio station. I would play music. I would have pre-recorded commercials on the little portable tape recorder. I would broadcast, and would beg anyone of the family to come and sit down outside the bedroom and listen to my station. [Laughs.]

Gameological: Is there a different way of doing the games that appeals to the Spanish-language audience versus the English-language audience? How do you have to change the games, if at all, when you take them to the Spanish-language audience?

Regil: That’s a great question. When they start bringing in franchises to Latin American television, Mexico is always the big market there. If it works in Mexico, it trickles down to the rest of Latin America. That’s what happened with Price and Feud. We have certain approaches, and different senses of humor, but the games themselves are universal. And that’s the magic—when you find a creator of games, like Mark Goodson used to be, the creator of Price and Family Feud.

There are some games that don’t work. For example, game shows that have been very successful in Europe and the U.S.—like, Jeopardy! was not a big success in Mexico. They tried it on the air, and it didn’t work. Wheel Of Fortune, that’s another one. A great show here, and in many other countries all over the world. But those shows work more with the Anglo-Saxon people, the cultures, because they are more self-contained. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, I love them. Alex Trebek is incredible, and one of the best in the planet. I enjoy watching this—watching even though I don’t know anything. I might know one or two of the answers, but seeing all these critical, intelligent people, it’s a show of knowledge.

But when you take this to Latin America, we are more festive and warm and expressive, and those games that are being about really quiet and thinking—they’re very, very mental, but expression-wise are kind of flat—those don’t work. So the key with Latin America with the Hispanic population, as long as you have emotion, as long as you can move, as long as you can celebrate and jump, and be physical. You can hug and yell or cry or smile, and you can move around that show is going to work.

That’s why Price Is Right was such a big success down there. Even though it’s just about numbers, you move around, you jump around, ask your mom—there’s a lot of freedom. There are big celebrations. In Minute To Win It, one of the same things, you’re there playing with a partner, and you’re moving around, and some of the games, you’re even sweating. So as long as the games have that warmth in them, that opportunity for expression, they work. The ones that are just the contestant in one booth, thinking very seriously, those are the ones that don’t work, in my experience. I could be wrong, but that’s what I see on TV.

Gameological: We recently looked at some British game shows on the site, and one of the things I noticed was that the cash prizes were much smaller, or even non-existent in the U.K. How important is the big money in the shows you’ve hosted? Do you think Minute To Win It would be just as much fun if people were playing for a hundred dollars?

Regil: We’re playing for $100,000, and the NBC one was for a million dollars—the last game, the one that is very difficult, where very few people get to. We’re going to get a lot of winners around the level at $30,000, $50,000.

That’s what the market can afford. It’s actually a big game, a big price for that. Family Feud, I did it for five years broadcast at Univision, and the award there was $10,000. That’s enough to get people engaged.

But going more towards your question, what happens with shows like Price or Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy!—with time, there are very [few] things you can change on a game show. You can always bring new games, for sure, but one of the ways of making it newer, or fresher, is to bring more prizes into it. If you watch Price Is Right from the ’60s or the ’70s, you’ll see little cars, but now you see SUVs, or a bus sometimes. Because if you’ve started the show and started giving away Priuses and Jettas, you’re fine, you’re happy. But after a while you’re like, “Oh, okay. There’s another Jetta.” And then you need to bring a BMW, and you’re like, “Ohhhh! BMW!” People get spoiled. We get used to things. That’s why your question is really good, you mentioned the biggest challenge that any game show that lasts for many years has, which is we need to be increasing and increasing and increasing the prizes in order to keep ourselves on the air. Because people, they’re not surprised anymore.

Minute To Win It has a huge advantage, which is that it has many games. And these games are easy to put together. Like I said, part of the magic of our show is that you’re playing with elements that you can find in your own house, or the supermarket, they’re around you, they’re really easy. So putting together a game doesn’t mean we have to build the game, and test the game. It doesn’t have to have a lot of technology in it.

Gameological: Some of the pricing games on The Price Is Right look like they’re especially fun to host. I was watching you run a game of Temptation, and you were really messing with the player, ramping up the tension. Were there any pricing games that you particularly looked forward to as a host?

Regil: The Temptation game was one of my favorites, for sure. The Dice Game was the one that gave away more cars. The producers used to call that game “Come And Get Your Car,” because they would win 60 or 70 percent of the time. In general, Plinko was one of the favorite ones, in the U.S. and in Mexico, because that releases the tension from the contestants. Once you’ve won your chips, you just toss them in that thing. It has nothing to do with the ability—it’s more like, “Okay, good, I can just toss the chips. I can have fun, I don’t have a decision to make here. Just let it go.”

There’s one called One Away in Price. That was one of my favorites, where Bob used to ask “Ladies, do we have two numbers right?” That one was a lot of fun because it would allow me to joke a lot with the contestants. In Mexico instead of “ladies,” we created a character called Güerita, which means “blond one.” Which in Mexico is a really common nickname—if you go to the farmer’s market, people selling their fruits would tell you, even if you’re not white or blonde, they’ll call everybody a güera, which is a fun thing. You can be really dark and they can call you güera. So we created that character, “Güerita,” like “little blonde girl,” and the guys and the women who ask the question would give me a lot of room to play with the contestants. I would tell them, “Güerita, if we have two numbers right, I’ll take you to Acapulco on a Jacuzzi trip.” So there would be a lot of room for double-meaning and flirting with this fictional character.

Gameological: So Plinko is one of the most popular games, but it doesn’t leave you a lot of opportunities for the improv, whereas Temptation and One Away do.

Regil: Plinko they like because it’s a lot of money. It’s a different kind of emotion. There’s no room for comedy there. There’s no room for interaction. It’s basically a pure emotion of celebrating, and that’s it. But of course as the host, I prefer more of the other one, where you can have some kind of interaction.

And here, and in Minute To Win It, I’m going to have to find those moments, because when you’re playing the game during the minute, the show is not cracking jokes. The show is the tension of “Five. Four. Three. Two,” and then the game begins with the clock, and I have to be narrating. When I’m narrating, the contestants are barely able to hear me, because I’m talking to the camera, and the volume is really low on purpose so the contestants can be focused on the game. So I’m going to have to find the places where we can joke.

It’s a very different game than ones I’ve hosted before. But I love it, I love it. That’s why I’ve been going to these [Minute To Win It play-testing] boot camps so I can learn and feel, and get excited. It feels good once you go in there and see them nail some of the games, you’ll be like, “Oh! I get this one, I like this one.” You can develop some shared reality with your contestants.

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  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Wow.  The non-union Mexican equivalent of Bob Barker seems to be a real step up from our name brand version.  That man is both dapper and incredibly handsome.

       ”Recuerdo!  Castra tus animales!”

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      I’m glad that the first post A) made the obvious “non-union mexican equivalent of Bob Barker” joke and B) complimented this guy. 

      This interview is just great. I love game shows and this was surprisingly insightful. Plus he just seems like a great guy. Love how he works with his contestants instead of fighting against them or being a dick or whatever. And yeah, way easier on the eyes than ol’ Bob.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I know, the Simpson’s reference really is the lowest hanging fruit.  But I couldn’t help it, it was repeating through my head like a Tourette’s compulsion the whole time I read the interview.
           Now it’s out of the way and made room for other’s intelligent discourse.
           But yeah, more so than his stunning good looks, I enjoy his sage approach to his craft.  It’s measured and insightul. 

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

    That’s a very canny insight from you and Regil about how our game shows reflect our culture. It’s something I never really think about; it’s not as if when I sit down to watch Jeopardy!, I’m thinking about how it might work in the Ecuadorian market. But on deeper reflection, it makes perfect sense. When this site was running its feature on British game shows, it seemed pretty clear to me that many of them wouldn’t work in the American market. There was something distinctly “British” about them.

    It would be interesting to look at game shows from all around the world and see how they reflect their culture as well as how they could hypothetically be adapted for other markets. How about French game shows? Australian? Japanese? Korean? South African? Greek? (Potential future feature idea, maybe?) I’m interested in finding out how people all across the world entertain themselves, how they play, and what their idea of fun is. Who knows? We might find some common threads in the way we entertain ourselves.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      This is really interesting to me. I’m sure there is some foreign (to me) gameshow that I would be all about. Some of those british ones seemed right up my alley. 

      And of course this make me wonder what the most American gameshow could be. Supermarket Sweep, perhaps?

    • Staggering Stew Bum

      I can fill you all in on Australian game shows to save the trouble. Since Australian culture is heavily influenced by stuff from the USA and UK we don’t even need to be creative here. Australian TV networks buy the rights to whatever US/UK show is popular – Millionaire, Wheel of Fortune, Price Is Right, Family Feud, whatever – insert a bland inane host, and populate the show with witless bogans who have no chance to actually walk away with the crappy prizes. Exception being Sale Of The Century which was on years ago but was probably cancelled for featuring occasional glimpses of intelligence.

      Anyway, it’s effectively the same stuff as you’ll find in the states, minus hosts with any semblance of personality. I generally don’t like any Australian TV ‘personalities’ as it is, but the current crop of game show hosts are even more unlikeable. I’m mostly talking about Eddie fucking McGuire here but would also lump Larry Emdur in to the mix. The 80s was the golden age for mustachioed Aussie game show hosts – Baby John Burgess, Ian Turps Turpie. Those men had personality even if their shows were shithouse. But those days are long gone.

      True story: the one time I went to Bondi Beach a few years back I spotted the host of Deal or No Deal wandering around only in speedos. Public speedo flaunting is awful at the best of times but celebrity speedos are just macabre.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      That would be extremely, super interesting. I’ve often been curious about what Japanese game shows are truly popular, since typically what we see brought over here in clip shows or imports is the over-the-top Takeshi’s Castle, Hole-in-the-Wall stuff (or stereotypes like that admittedly hialrious Chris Farley skit).

      There are probably more subdued shows that better reflect Japanese national character, but don’t flatter our Orientalism or mild xenophobia. And even if there aren’t, it would be informative to have that confirmed by a level-headed site like GS.

      • http://twitter.com/TheBryanJZX90 Bryan Reynolds

        Japan doesn’t actually have much in the way of game shows as we think of them in the US. In terms of what we actually get here in America, Takeshi’s Castle was 20 years ago, Sasuke (Ninja Warrior here) has recently shut down, and human tetris was just one part of a comedy/variety talk show, not a standalone show.

        The biggest difference is that there are almost no shows remaining in Japan that we would recognize as game shows, where the point of the show is to watch regular people compete for prizes. Comedy and variety talk shows make up probably about 75% of what’s on TV in Japan, the remainder being movies, TV dramas, sports, and news shows. The same (fairly large) pool of C-list celebrities and comedians make their living by appearing on these comedy/variety talk shows, and the shows will often have some kind of competition as a segment. Human tetris was one example of this. There are plenty of other physically humorous games, but I don’t think the’re the most popular.

        Appearing on these shows is their job, and the C-listers rarely play to win. Instead, they play for reactions and to promote themselves to the public. The closest thing I can think of is Craig Kilborn’s 5 Questions from the Late Late Show and Daily Show. For people watching, the motivation is to get insight into the lives of your favorite celebrities or laugh at the antics of your favorite comedians, not to play along with a game at home and imagine yourself winning.

        Some examples:
        In a general entertainment variety show, a (slightly higher grade) celebrity from the latest movie would be on to promote their movie, and would also appear in a segment where the celebrity is given $1,000 to buy anything they want from a certain store, while also chatting with the host of the show. Only, there are two or three secret words that the celebrity is unaware of, and every time they say the word some money is taken away. At the end, the celebrity has to choose what items to keep and what items to put back.

        A group of comedians and celebrities are locked in a chain restaurant after hours, and can’t leave until they guess the 10 most popular dishes on the menu. Every time they guess a dish they have to eat it. If they manage to guess the top 10 in their first 10 guesses, they win a lot of money, but they’ve never done that.

        A bunch of celebrities compete to see who possesses the most class by doing blindfolded taste or listening tests where they’re presented one extremely expensive item, and one extremely cheap item. Wine, caviar, a Stradivarius, etc. The catch is they’re not immediately told if they’re right or not. Instead, everyone who picks item ‘A’ trickles into one room, and everyone who picks item ‘B’ is sent to another, one by one. Cue look of dismay on Zia Zia Gabor-analogue when Adam Sandler-analogue enters the same room.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           That’s interesting. It seems their entire gameshow landscape is filled with the equivalent of British panel shows. You’re right, I think the closest analogue in the States is the nominal “games” they’ll sometimes play on talk shows (5 questions, etc.), though there’s a new fake comedy gameshow called ‘Bunk’ on IFC that may be kind of similar, too.

          Still, the fact that that is Japan’s ‘gameshow’ landscape could still possibly tell us something about Japan (or at least Japanese TV) culturally, I think.

    • stakkalee

      I want to second (third? fourth? fifth?) this – I think GS doing a “world tour” of gameshows is an excellent idea.  I’d love to just get a “compare and contrast” of all the different iterations of The Price Is Right or similar.

      I love that the site is really trying to cover the entirety of “gaming” – I’m looking forward to when you cover the Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship (I really hope you do.)

    • Effigy_Power

      My girlfriend’s parents, being South-Korean immigrants, sometimes manage to get a hold of DVDs sent by relatives with just a jumble of TV-shows on them, just for nostalgia’s sake.
      Amongst them are a few game-shows, all of which I can only guess about, due to the language barrier. What I did notice was that winning seems to be less a factor than participating as eagerly and with as much energy as humanly possible, which is a good philosophy especially considering that few of the shows seemed at all winnable. Almost every show had physical aspects to it and seemed designed to be, at least for my American sensibilities, cruel and unyielding.
      On the other hand of course it meant that IF someone managed to win the game, it was a true achievement. The winners walked away knowing they had bested the odds and prevailed, something very few US shows can claim.
      I think it fits with the discussion about gaming-difficulty we had here a while ago. Maybe we as a society are more easily frustrated by failure, maybe we are too goal-oriented instead of enjoying the ride. In many shows here we pit players against each other (which means that one will necessarily win on the account of the others losing, whereas it seemed that on Korean shows the contestant would all fight some tremendously difficult task alongside each other. There certainly seemed to be a lot more magnanimous cheering and consolation amongst the candidates, rather than the sometimes snide and spiteful competition we seem to require in just about everything on TV. After all, we have managed to turn cake-baking and singing into wars and battles usually reserved for more martial activities.
      @bakana42:disqus was talking about Takeshi’s Castle, which is a great example of a show where the odds are most definitely stacked against you. I’ve caught it a few times on late night TV and have never seen anyone beat the game, though there was a lot of fun-making of candidates who had failed (which could obviously be due to the sub-titles and not really a part of the show). That was something (again, only on the accounts of my Korean inlaws) that Korean shows seemed to lack. If anything, it seemed that people who had tried hard but failed were cheered louder and more sincerely than those who had won with less effort than the crowd thought required.
      Sure, we have that underdog mentality too, but it just had a different feel to me. Maybe I am talking fortune-cookie BS, but it seemed that honorable loss was much preferred even by the contestants to a lucky victory.
      The few Korean shows I have seen seemed communal and encouraging in the face of virtually unwinnable situations, almost as if the game was to test the players’ reaction upon the almost inevitable failure.
      Mind you, they also had the sexual sensitivity of the 1950′s thanks to plenty of upskirt shots and assistants in skimpy outfits.

    • alguien_comenta

      There might be a cultural reason to why Jeopardy! didn’t work in Mexico, but I think the main reason was that the host they selected was god awful. He was an actor, not that charismatic and dumb as a bag of bricks. He used to go to the judges all of the time if the contestant answered with something that didn’t exactly match what he had on his cards. Then they just started to panic and did a lot of games with “famous” people and kids. At the end they either lost the franchise or decided not to pay for it anymore and kept the same guy doing a similar game show but with a ton of sponsors.
      As for Regil, he’s alright. I think he did a great job on Family Feud and specially The Price is Right, it also helps that he did some comedy when he as younger. I forgot the name of the show, but it was some sketch comedy for a local station

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        I’ve never seen the Mexican adaptation of Jeopardy!, so I’m sure you’re right. It just goes to show you how important the host is in setting the tone for the show. Think of how different Family Feud felt when hosted by Richard Karn as opposed how it feels now when hosted by Steve Harvey. The former’s warmth and friendliness is a far cry from the latter’s sarcasm and churlishness.

  • doyourealize

    It’s nice to hear stories about people who actually become what they used to pretend to be as children. Doesn’t happen often, and Regil seems perfectly suited for this type of work.

    This is not to say that I wanted to be a game show host (I wanted to be a pro baseball player…I am not that), but we (my 3 cousins, brother, sister and I) used to do radio interviews and shows with a cheap plastic mic/speaker setup. The host, my cousin Sarah, liked the sound the mic made when it hit someone’s head, so I imagine she wouldn’t be the kind of affable host for any Mexican game shows. In any case, one of our skits included a master kazoo player (another cousin), who was asked to perform the Jeopardy theme song. She started to play, and we all realized she was actually playing Wheel of Fortune. I took it from her and did the exact same thing. I remember my brother yelling at me, “Wheel of Fortune! Wheel of Fortune!” We never got it right.

    I don’t think any of us had what it takes.

    • Effigy_Power

      I wanted to be Josie and the Pussycats, then a Getaway Driver and then a military dictator. For a while I also wanted to be the bass-guitar player-chick on the Muppet Show.
      I might need help.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        As far as fictional childhood musical icons go, you’ll likely have an easier time being Janice from the Muppets than the plurality of Josie and the Pussycats.  But I’m not going to tell you which stars are out of your reach, so keep on believin’!

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NQIPVqLMUg

          Someone had to link to it. It might as well be me.

        • Effigy_Power

          I can’t be a Muppet just as much as I can’t be an entire cartoon group solving mysteries.
          Might as well.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

    I swear this is a compliment.

    These are the kind of John Teti articles I always click on.  Even when I’m sure I don’t care about the subject, he tells me why I should and demonstrates what I’m missing.  Fascinating stuff.

    • http://gameological.com/author/johnteti/ John Teti

      Very kind of you to say! Thank you.

  • http://www.cmondoyouhonestlythinkImTHATdisciplined.com/ Mattman Begins

    “Este es el Marco Regil, recordándole que para ayudar a controlar la población de mascota. Tienen su mascota esterilizado o castrado. Bye bye!”

    Even if he doesn’t close every show with that, this fellow has one of the funnest jobs in the world, and looks like he’s doing a great job of making everyone else feel that way, too. Good interview, and great subject, John.

    “¡Auto!”

  • Bowen Kerins

    There is ability in Plinko: it’s the ability to dump your chips right in the middle above the highest-paying space.  Contestant have lost nearly $1 million in expected value from Plinko over the years by dropping their chips in dumb places.  My favorite is the person who drops Chip #1 and it goes to the right, so of course they play Chip #2 to the left.  Because it was watching.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Rodriguez/18704886 David Rodriguez

     I have watched him in “100 Mexicanos Dijeron” (lit. “100 Mexicans said…”. Guess what game show I am talking about). The man does have charm and is quick with a joke, but after the 100th show in a row you start seeing the puppeteer’s strings and it can get a little corny. But he is definitely good at his job.

    About his comment of how shows like Jeopardy! do not succeed in Latin America because they do not let contestants express themselves as much… I don’t know, don’t fully buy it. Back in 2000 when Colombia developed its game show “Quiere Ser Millonario?” (lit. “Do you want to become a millionaire?” Again, guess), I can verify it was an instant sensation and, at least for a while, made its time slot (Saturday nights) appointment-TV for a lot of people. I believe it’s still on to this day, but don’t quote me on that.

  • DjangoZ

    Good interview, I enjoyed how thoughtful he is about each of the different games. Clearly he has thought alot about his job.

    However, the whole “little blond girl” bit at the end sounded like good ol’ Latino gender awfulness. Big ugh at the end of what was an otherwise classy interview.