Well, here we are on another fabulous Friday! The sun is out! The squirrels are back! Travis Ishikawa will never have to pay for another meal if I’m ever in the same restaurant as he is. And of course, it’s also time for the next tragicomic installment in my Millionaire Journey series! After getting two thumbs down from Siskel and Ebert last week, I’m left still sitting in Seat 9, wondering if maybe I blew my last chance to get into that Hot Seat that seems so close, yet so far away…
That’s Kevin O’Neill from Strongsville, Ohio… who knew way more about movies than I did. Here’s another movie Kevin knows a lot about…
Kevin is a stay at home dad to three kids. When Regis asks how this unusual “career choice” came about, Kevin says that he used to work in restaurants, probably on this kind of duty…
His wife has a slightly more prestigious job title… she’s a gynecologist.
Kevin has even brought his lovely wife Joanna along with him…
Kevin’s adventures in housekeeping are apparently not as interesting as Amy’s life in the fast lane… so without much more chitter chatter, Regis goes directly to the game! Good! Let’s get this started and hope for a quick exit…
$100 – Fresh cow’s milk from a carton is typically which of these colors?
D. 2% mauve
I hate non-basic color words because very few of them sound like the color they represent. Chartreuse sounds like some shade of blue, and it’s actually a light green. Mauve brings to mind a deep reddish tint… but no, it’s a lighter variant of purple. Since I find milk to be disgusting, I could care less what color it is… but Kevin probably serves this to the kids every day and knows that regular milk is B. White.
$200 – Which of the following phrases means “to suffer a disgrace?”
A. Lose face
B. Gain ground
C. Shift gears
D. Rent “Ishtar”
Yes, the 1987 blockbuster bomb “Ishtar” was apparently such a shitty movie, that even as late as 2001 it was still the butt of jokes. Kevin loves his movies, so he’s probably suffered the disgrace of renting “Ishtar” before and knows what it’s like to A. Lose face…
$300 – A person who drives a car very slowly and overcautiously is commonly called what?
A. Shooting star
C. Sunday driver
D. New York cabbie
No doubt, the Cabbies Union took exception to this question’s gag answer, and muttered a number of choice swear words that would have made people blush at the UN… but fortunately not us in a day before Google translators. I generally have some unsavory terms myself for these types of motorists, but the family friendly term the show is looking for is C. Sunday driver.
$500 – Which of these phrases means “one’s native language”?
A. Brother tongue
B. Father tongue
C. Mother tongue
D. Sister tongue
If you’re into Rule 34 and the creepy parts of the internets, I’d recommend these four as excellent character names for a short story of incest and peppermints. Outside of that, I can see this question tripping up a number of frazzled contestants I’d seen pass through this show in the past. Alas, for my sake, Kevin in quite in control and aware that mama knows best… C. Mother tongue.
$1,000 – In the Old West, a chuck wagon was the vehicle known for carrying what?
Kevin hasn’t wasted any time at all answering any of these five questions… he answers B. Food, and in less time than it took Amy to decide what to do on a single fucking question, Kevin has just knocked down the first five and has earned himself a cool grand…
But despite how fast Kevin has played, this segment of the show doesn’t even make it to the three minute mark before Regis is sending everyone in TV land off to watch the next batch of commercials that I’d be mocking 13 years later. Cue the forboding music…
We have now reached Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s version of the two minute warning. As if those of us still in waiting didn’t already realize that our seven figure dreams were mere minutes from disintegrating for good, the associate producers were kind enough to make the rounds of the ring to let us know that there was only one segment left to go… and unless Kevin flubbed one of his next few questions, the curtain was going to come crashing down on all of us… and we weren’t even going to get any Lee Press On Nails out of the deal…
As expected coming back from break, Regis chats up Kevin a bit more since time isn’t of the essence to him. Regis asks Joanna how much of the housework Kevin actually does while he’s staying at home all day watching
his stories the kids. She reveals that Superdad apparently isn’t even qualified to wield a bottle of Windex. After spending all day cleaning out coochies in her office, Joanna also has to come home and clean the piss stains off the bathroom floor as well…
Not wasting anywhere near as much time as he did with Amy, Regis delves right back into Kevin’s set of questions. The mid-tier isn’t always a cakewalk for Hot Seat contestants, and as I saw right off the bat with Ed Toutant, a rough question can emerge from nowhere at this level to bite an unsuspecting player in their Hot Buns. I’m going to need that kind of miracle here again with Kevin… come on, bro! Help a squirrel out!
$2,000 – Which of the following is a trademarked name for refrigerants used in household appliances?
A. Nitrous oxide
Regis liked to tell contestants that a question was “right up their alley” if it had even a tangential connection to something on one of their blue card bits that was discussed. You don’t have to be a stay at home dad to know about D. Freon, or that it’s what all the cool kids are huffing these days…
$4,000 – The legendary “Bermuda Triangle” lies off the coast of which of these U.S. States?
Kevin is just too damn good at this game. He hasn’t hesitated on a single question yet. He knows that this ridiculous geographical black hole is off the coast of C. Florida…
$8,000 – In the 2000 movie “What Women Want,” Mel Gibson’s character has the power to do what?
A. Read women’s minds
B. Predict women’s futures
C. Appear in women’s dreams
D. Heal relationships
Holy crap, another movie question! And this one even more recently released than “Men of Honor!” “What Women Want” debuted in theaters on December 15, 2000… just five weeks prior to this taping. Unlike “Men of Honor” however, “What Women Want” had a much bigger promotional campaign… or at least one I was able to remember better. While this movie itself has since sunk into the dustbin of Hollywood like “Honor” did, in January 2001 I was quite well aware of its existence, and its gimmick that was totally played up in the trailers.
Of course, Kevin has seen the ads as well, and even mentions that this is the only reason he knows that Mel can A. Read women’s minds…
$16,000 – The twosome known as Torvill and Dean are famous for their work in what field?
A, Surf music
B. Pop psychology
C. Fashion design
D. Ice dancing
For the record, I am sailing right along with Kevin. I knew all eight of his questions right off the bat… but this one gave me pause. I was familiar with the pairing of Torvill and Dean… but couldn’t quite pull up why I knew them… until that choice D finally came up. Yep, they were skaters…
Kevin seems to be audibly breathing a sigh of relief, so it’s quite possible he couldn’t make the connection either until the correct choice came up. He “thinks he knows this one”, and makes D. Ice dancing his final answer…
Regis happily announces that Kevin has now won $16,000…. and then it happened….
If you were a fan of Millionaire back in the day, you may remember that play always ended on the sound of “the horn.” It blared out its mocking cry of pity, and officially shattered any chance I had at hoisting my fat ass up into the precious Hot Seat.
I came. I saw. I crapped out.
After almost two hours of in-studio drama, three uniquely interesting contestants, two headbanging fuck ups on fastest finger questions, and eight action packed posts in this series… I was surprisingly more relieved than disappointed once the horn tolled for thee. It was pretty obvious that due to the pacing of the show and the quality of players who made their way into the Chair, that it just wasn’t going to work out me… and I was going to be OK with that. What great fun it was to get to watch and play along with one of my favorite television game shows from one of the best seats in the house!
Those of you who had read my Flashback Friday post a year ago that inspired me to tell this story already knew that I had emerged from the show without anything more than a three second spin in the Hot Seat, one practice Fastest Finger win, and a most excellent Big Apple adventure. Those of you who did not see any previous spoilers, or did your best to block them out… well, sorry I let you all down! I did my best, and that’s all that counts, right?
But just because the taping is now over doesn’t mean the Journey has come to an end! Oh no… don’t give up on me yet! There are still tales to tell, adventures to be had, and digressions to be milked for all they’re worth! Join me again next Friday for life after being declared Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s biggest loser…