By Asher Hancock:
The premier of the long awaited Shark Tank spin off, Wolf Cage, is finally here: Wolf Cage is a show in which people pitch game shows to some of the most successful and charming game show hosts to ever grace our television screens. Each “wolf” represents a network and can buy a concept to turn into a game show. An introduction of the Wolves as well as the best and worst pitches of the night are included below.
Alex Trebek, the sometimes sophisticated, sometimes silly host of Jeopardy has already gained a reputation of being ruthless in The Cage. To his left sits Pat Sajak, the dapper and likeable host of Wheel of Fortune, who spent the night struggling to understand the format of Jeopardy despite Trebek’s best attempts to explain it. Also in The Cage is Steve Harvey, the mustachioed comedian of Family Feud, who chose to preface everything he said with “Survey says…”. Finally, many know Howie Mandel as an America’s Got Talent Judge but he was also the host of Deal or No Deal, a game of chance involving picking briefcases with different amounts of money inside. This fact explains why his decisions on the first episode of Wolf Cage were based solely on having the entrepreneur pick a random suitcase with either money or a big red X.
The Best Pitches
Out of the four pitches presented, two truly stood out. These picks are not based on the decisions of the judges themselves, as they seemed to think they were hosting a game show and that therefore logic should take the backseat to luck.
The first pitch came from a 32 year old Australian gentleman wearing alligator shoes and a Crocodile Dundee style hat. He rode a saddled alligator into the cage with background sounds playing from the African Savanna, which was slightly confusing considering that alligators are native to the United States and China only. Factual inconsistencies aside, this pitch was one of flare and vigor along with just a splash of animal cruelty, a touch greatly appreciated by the American public. This muscular, spray-tanned traveller presented a complex show in which people would wrestle animals for a cash prize. Well, actually, that turned out to be the whole premise of the show so perhaps it’s not that complex at all.
The man, Lou Hackman, proposed that the contestants shouldn’t just be wrestling any animals, but rather exclusively wolverines. “Why wolverines?” Hackman rhetorically asked the Wolves. He then answered his own question by ripping off his own clothes and skin, revealing himself to be Hugh Jackman, Australian actor who plays the superhero Wolverine. Rather than fighting actual wolverines, Jackman now proposed finding physically inferior people to get into a ring and fight him with the hope of winning a million dollar prize. Pat Sajak quickly jumped in to ask for a vowel, which he somehow received but not before Steve Harvey jumped up and yelled, “Survey says people want to see Wolverine War!” He then offered Jackman a hosting position on the show rather than any money which Jackman accepted with shocking enthusiasm, a true testament to the power of self-obsession. Oh also, we’re still not really sure why there were so many alligators in the presentation when the game show is about Wolverine.
The last pitch of the night was also a great success and this reporter’s personal favorite. Presented by a middle aged man named Barry Gorman with too much free time on his hands, American Senior Warrior had a lot of potential for success. The concept is basically the same as that of American Ninja Warrior, a show in which extremely fit people tackle near impossible obstacle courses in hopes of being titled the American Ninja Warrior and winning a cash prize. The main difference between ANW and ASW is that the course is seemingly easy, but specifically designed for senior citizens to fail in hilarious ways. Because we all love to see Granny fail, fall, or (preferably) both!
Gorman presented an example course to the judges which included jumping through 3 sets of tires, weaving through 4 cones and carrying a ten pound box for a few feet. He said that seniors competing on this course alone could win 100,000 dollars which they still think could buy them a small island as most seniors fail to understand inflation. All the Wolves opted to try the course which was perhaps the most entertaining part of the pitch, considering their cocktail of overconfidence mixed with advanced age. Right before Howie Mandel began the course, Gorman also told them a challenging rule, no back grabbing allowed. Lo and behold, the moment Mandel got through the tires he clutched his back and groaned. Steve Harvey bounded through the tires and, rather than weaving through the cones, he simply knocked them down, which disqualified him. Alex Trebek simply didn’t do the course because he thought himself too classy, and Pat Sajak saw a mirror across the room midway through the box carrying portion and dropped the box on his feet to go meet this mystery man of equal allure. Turns out the course was harder than they thought but Trebek saw its comedic value, claiming to constantly be trying to use slapstick humor on Jeopardy, and jumped at the chance to make the show. Rather than offering payment for the show he just asked for the obstacle course equipment for “personal reasons” than said “wink wink” aloud. The presence of this theme of bartering indicated that the Wolves didn’t actually have money to spend on the pitches.
The Worst Pitches
The second pitch of the night could only be described as horrendous. You would think that Guy Fieri would bring the heat but his pitch truly made him live up to the absurdity of his hair. The show he was pitching was called Naked Guy which is, of course, a play on words as his name is Guy (his parents were tired and angry after his birth). To further elucidate the name, Guy has apparently been doing some pilates and has therefore felt quite body positive. So much so, in fact, that he thinks people would want to compete to paint naked portraits of him. Yes you read that right. Naked Guy would be a competition where talented artists would be challenged to paint Guy Fieri doing various poses in the nude. However the challenge itself isn’t the worst part, but rather the prize. The winner of the competition would be allowed to keep the painting as their prize and the losers would have to give them to Guy for “personal use”. Guy then said “wink wink” aloud. Guy then proceeded to disrobe and ask the judges to do their own paintings as a trial to which the judges responded by defiantly disrobing themselves in sync (it was a strange and occult image), and asking Guy to paint them instead. As a result Guy Fieri ended up painting four prominent television personalities completely in the nude except for Steve Harvey who kept his socks on. After viewing the painting, it was clear that Fieri should stick to a career in the culinary arts. Even after this ordeal, none of the Wolves were interested in the show but rather fought passionately over who could keep the painting.
The idea for the third and the absolute worst pitch of the night came after watching popular cooking TV show Beat Bobby Flay in which, just like the title says, contestants compete to beat celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
This Wolf Cage pitch titled Beat Owen Wilson was basically exactly what it sounds like only a thousand times worse. The premise he proposed was basically a show in which people try to say “wow” better than Owen Wilson, who has a very unique and famous way of saying the word. Since the actual saying of the word only takes a second, the majority of each episode would vary between shots of the contestant going to vocal coaches to try to improve their way of saying “wow” and shots of Owen Wilson looking at himself and the mirror and repeating the word over and over as if practicing. How this would be judged was the biggest mystery but what was made clear was that the judges would include legendary musician Elton John who said he’d do it out of boredom, and Owen Wilson himself which would likely be some sort of conflict of interest. The contestant would be competing for the prize of Owen Wilson, who apparently gladly offered himself up as the star, the judge, and the prize that the contestant could take home with them. As a result of this, once one person won, the whole show would be over because Owen Wilson is a one-of-a-kind prize and, in his words, “there is not enough of me to go around.” Surprisingly the Wolves had a bidding war over this but once again opted not to use real money, but articles of their clothing and even body parts. Steve Harvey won this battle by offering up his mustache and has now associated himself with perhaps the worst game show idea in history.
In all honesty, it isn’t likely that I’ll ever watch Wolf Cage again because not even the Wolves knew what was going on and Howie Mandel repeatedly looked around in confusion and asked where he was. Besides from losing respect for some of my favorite celebrities, watching this truly was a good and valuable experience because it set the bar low for all future watching experiences. While I truly hope to see Wolverine War and American Senior Warrior come to our television screens, it’s quite likely that the Wolves have no real power to get the shows created and were just playing pretend. Prepare yourselves for next week's review on The Real Housewives of North Korea, and in the meantime maybe throw on the premiere of Wolf Cage and experience the madness for yourselves.