The Price is Wrong, Bitch
A couple of months ago my mom and I were discussing activities for her LA visit this month. She has been to LA countless times so I knew I wasn’t going to hear the dreadful “Let’s go to Hollywood,” or “I’d love to see Disneyland.” But what she did want to do, and has wanted to do for a good 20 years, was be on The Price is Right.
I happily agreed, not because I was excited, but because I could tell how much it meant to her. I’m pretty out of the loop when it comes to pop culture, television, and celebrities. I don’t own a television, I don’t read the news (with the exception of news that I am required to track for work), and I couldn’t pick a celebrity out of a lineup. I honestly once had someone show me a photo of Madonna and I didn’t know who it was. Yikes.
My mom isn’t big on what’s trending either, but she is very loyal to a handful of shows and celebrities, The Price is Right and Drew Carey being among her list.
I worked a few hours on Monday morning before I came home to find that she had cleaned my entire apartment from top to bottom (moms are awesome like that). I was eager to get out of my work clothes and changed into jeans and a sweatshirt. My mom looked at my scruffy outfit and whined, “Are you serious?”
I was serious.
We hustled to the CBS studio with almost no traffic, which is a pretty damn good day in LA. Once we parked and made our way to the front gate I actually started to feel a little excited! I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV as a child but one thing I did always love was The Price is Right, with the exception of Bob Barker. I hate that old bastard, he was always so condescending to the elderly contestants. Look in the mirror man, you’re like 100!
The initial waiting area was a hot mess. We didn’t know where to wait or what to do. We eventually found a friendly man from Madison, Wisconsin who was eager to point us in the right direction (Midwesterners are so awesome). We waited in that area for over two hours next to the most obnoxious 50-year-old birthday girl ever. She was loud, dressed like a teenager, and dragged her poor, old mother all over the place. At one point she even told my mom her gray hair reminded her of her aunt.
The line finally started to move as they began to process the group of 300 people. First they took a single photo of us, then a fun group photo that they try and convince you to buy at the end of the day. My mom is a sucker.
Next, we got in our second line to wait for our interviews. I knew I wasn’t going to be picked. Unless you are wearing an obnoxious neon t-shirt that professes your love for the middle-aged comedian in puff paint, your chances are slim. I was okay with that. Besides, we arrived right before noon, which meant we were one of the last in the line. The woman that was supposed to be taking notes in the interviews sat annoyed and bored, secretly scrolling through her phone behind a legal pad propped on her leg. My mom’s ultimate dream was not going to come true that day.
Once we finished with our interviews we made our way to the last line, which was where I lost all my patience. By this time, we had been waiting in lines for nearly five hours, and let’s be honest, I’m a pretty impatient person. I’m prompt and like to get things done then and there.
They took our cell phones and had closed the snack bar at that point so the only luxury I was left with was being able to use the washroom. When we returned I jumped at a couple of open seats. A few minutes later a couple of teenagers returned and just stood in front of me staring and whispering just loud enough for me to hear, stating that I had “stole” their spot. They clearly wanted me to move but I wasn’t really interested in that idea. They finally walked away, but that didn’t stop a nearby old couple from chastising me for getting out of numerical order. They insisted I move, even after I politely pointed out that not everyone was in order and that we would deal with it when we moved to the next area. They weren’t satisfied with that answer and kept pressing on. I wasn’t going to make my mom stand so some punks could sit down. I lost my temper and told the old man to mind his own business. I wasn’t proud of that, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel right.
After about 45 minutes in the last holding area they finally started to shuffle us into the studio. We were the last group to arrive, and when we finally stepped into the studio I thought my brain was going to explode from sensory overload. Neon colors, bright lights in every inch of the studio, music that streamed through my ears and shook my brain, and really aggressive dancing. At this point I was a little terrified because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to muster up enough fake enthusiasm to match my fellow game show attenders overwhelming excitement of being on television. Even just the dancing worried me, which I usually only participate in if I’m alone or have a minimum of 3 glasses of wine under my belt.
I stood in the entrance in fear while I waited to be directed to a seat as everyone raged to a bubbly Katy Perry song. The frantic usher finally approached us and told us they were nearly out of seats. I was confused. You know how many seats you have, you know how many tickets you reserved; why is this an issue? We were told we could separate or sit together in obstructed seats. I wanted to ask if there was just an option to leave. Alas, we sat together in the obstructed seats. They were incredibly obstructed. We sat behind George’s (the announcer) podium and could honestly only see about 40% of the entire show. I ended up just watching the screens suspended from the ceiling.
During the commercial breaks, Drew would engage in friendly banter with the audience. I must say that this was my favorite part of the whole day (other than making my mom’s dream come true!). His dry and nerdy humor reminded me of my cousin, Johnny, so it gave me quite a few smirks and chuckles.
At one point, George told Drew he needed to come over and give the people in the corner some love because we “had to stare at his butt the whole time.” He came over and chatted with every single person that surrounded me. He finally made eye contact with me, nearly ready to speak to me, but then our eyes just froze for a minute. I didn’t know what to say to the guy and he was probably looking at me like, “who the hell let this angry troll in here?!”
He eventually walked away, but not without a firm handshake, a warm smile, and a little conversation for my mom. After he walked away my mom leaned towards George and told him she was just as excited to see him as she was to see Drew. He was flattered, shook her hand, and blew her a kiss. Afterwards I was teasing her about it. Her reply was, “I’m not going to get all weird and refuse to wash my hand, but it was nice.”
Overall, it was an exhausting, aggravating day that left me with a headache and an overwhelming happiness that I don’t engage in the nonsense of television. But even with all these annoyances, it didn’t stop my mom from having the time of her life. I kept looking over at her during the show, halfway siting in lap of the man next to her so she could see better, enjoying her ear to ear grin. She had a great time and that is truly all that matters.