|After Round One, Matt was in the driver's seat with the Suzuki Key and a Big Bank win...||...but the Whammy managed to take it all away...||...leaving Tanya as the big winner of the day.|
1) After you hit the Key and Big Bank question (which you answered correctly) in Round One, you must have thought things were going well...how confident were you at that point?
Of course, I couldn't have asked for a better Round One. Four thousand dollars and halfway to a new car will get you pretty stoked. And, perhaps even more than that, knowing that I'd be going last in Round Three, especially after drawing ping-pong ball #1 backstage (which gave me the least-advantageous position for Rounds One and Two), made me pretty confident about my chances. I've been watching PYL since I was a kid, though, and I knew that it's only the jack you rack up after your last Whammy that makes any difference. So there was a little bit of the "waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling" mixed in as well.
2) Were you worried at all in Round Three as you watched your opponents rack up scores in excess of $16,000?
Somewhat, but not really. I know the power of the board, and I knew that I had twelve spins at my disposal. I knew that, if my luck held up anywhere near where my opponents' had, I should still win the game. In fact, if you look at the results, I ended up with $12,404, which was $4,796 less than Tanya's winning score of $17,200. Given that I lost $4,000 to my first Whammy and $1,000 to my second, I'd have had enough to win even without whatever I might've hit in place of the Whammy on those two spins. And I'd now have that Suzuki in my space in the carport, be the winningest champion in the history of Whammy!, have been invited back the next week for the Tournament of Champions, and maybe won even more stuff. Unfortunately, I hit Whammies and the other two didn't. Such is the nature of the beast.
3) Tell me about the Croton watches and are you wearing them to impress all your friends?
First of all, let's clarify. It's _a_ Whammy watch. Whereas, when I went on Win Ben Stein's Money, they promised me one watch and delivered three, it appears on the show that departing contestants get a his/hers set, but that's not the case. And, to be honest, it's kinda small. I don't exactly have the largest wrists in the world, and I can only wear mine to the first loop on the band. It's pretty nice, though. It looks exactly like it does on the promotional consideration spot on the show. Black band, black face, gold trim, big tongue-exposing, money-stealing red gremlin on the front. And, yes, I'm impressing all my friends with it. Unfortunately, I don't have enough game show junkie friends here in Vegas, and I've had to explain to one too many people just who is that masked "man." *sigh* Kids these days. No respect for the classics.
4) Did you have a party or get together when your episode aired today?
Not today. With GSN airing the show at 5pm and midnight PDT, it would've been a little bit tough. My wife and I are going to have a get-together on Easter and a sort of housewarming shindig the week following, though, and I'm sure we'll pull the tape out on both occasions.
5) Had you won, what would you have spent your money on?
Given what I would've won, taxes mostly. Seriously, though, my wife and I are newlyweds, and we're struggling to get ahead. The bit on the show about sleeping on the floor was no joke. (We've since purchased a bed, thankfully.) I would've used the money to pay off my car and put a bit of a dent in our other bills. That would hopefully clear the way for me to get back to school and finish my degree in Radio/TV Broadcasting.
6) How long were you at the studio that day, and how nervous/excited were you leading up to the tape date?
Everyone had to be at the studio gates by 8:15am, and then we were taken into the green room and briefed by the contestant coordinators, executive producer, and standards & practices guy. Luckily, mine was the first of seven episodes to be taped that day. It was a drastic change from my experience on Ben Stein, where mine was the last episode of the day, and there were various technical difficulties, and I didn't get out (and back on the road home to Vegas) until about 9:30pm. This time, I was out and on my way by about 10:30 in the morning. I can't say that I was nervous, but I was definitely wired and ready to go. I'm surprised my adrenal glands didn't burst. I'm a competitve guy anyway, but there's nothing like getting ready to go on national television, with nothing really to lose, faced with the ditinct possibility of winning roughly a year's salary in just under thirty minutes.
7) Explain the interview process for the show.
I called a number that GSN advertises for all of its original programming. There were a number of prompts, and then I was given the opportunity to choose which show I wanted to leave my name and number for. I, of course, left a message with all of them (Russian Roulette, WinTuition, etc.), and then just waited from there. A few weeks later, Harv, the head contestant coordinator, called me up and invited me (and my wife) out to Hollywood for an interview. On the evening of the interview, Lori and I and about fifty other prospective contestants crammed into a loft on a backlot at Hollywood Studios (where the show used to be taped before moving to its current home at Tribune Studios). After filling out an introductory application/questionnaire, we answered ten Round Two-type Whammy! questions on paper, having been given three choices for each. They couldn't tell us what the passing score was, but they emphasized that no one had ever not qualified. (My guess is that you only needed to get one right to keep going.) Then they had us come up, three at a time, to a table that represented the game podium. We introduced ourselves like we would on the show, and then ran a quick mock round of the game. Each contestant took a spin, tried to respond as jubilantly or despondently to the result, buzzed in and answered a question, and then spun one more time. Interestingly, they used a Java-based version of the game which was projected onto a screen in the front of the room, just like in high school biology class. I wonder if I can get them to burn a copy of the game so I can have it on my PC at home. Then it was over, and the waiting began. First, there was a phone call two or three days after the interview telling my wife and me that we were in the contestant pool. That wasn't a big victory necesarily, since they had only interviewed about 360 people, and 300 would make the contestant pool. The big leap was to be one of the 195 contestants that they would select to make 13 weeks worth of shows. Two weeks or so later, I got a call from one of the coordinators congratulating me on being selected and telling me when I would be on the show. Three weeks later, I was in Hollywood, and the rest is history.
Where would you like to STOP! today?
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