by Viki Reed
Thursday, May 4th, marked the end of ABC TV's "Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". It was more of an event than the limp mini-series, "Arabian Nights", which rode on Regis Philbin's flying ratings carpet.
The show was irresistible to a fault. All the week's drama played out as straight as an MTV Celebrity Rock N Jock Tournament ("...Wow, Richie Sambora has cleared second base!"), from: Rosie O'Donnell 'Not Being Able To Be A Millionaire'; David Duchovny lampooning every hackneyed convention of "WWTBAM?" without beating them to death; Emeril LaGasse's oddly muted appearance spiked by wussy "BAM!"s; Dana Carvey doing a funny version of Robin Williams; Vanessa William's too gracious to be funny and actually played a straight game (without cheating, which ran rampant in the for-charity sweeps-week promotion); Queen Latifah, for really encouraging the cheating and having no real zest by the time she got up to play (only Ray Romano and Lance Bass remained after her departure from the fast-question qualifying chair-section); Drew Carey was a bright soldier, (who along-with Duchovny, maybe more so, may be able to play a real round of Jeopardy), honestly coming by the $500,000 he won, and quitting while it was still good - like a top comic; Romano, the show's closer, was given so little time to play by the time his arranged chance in the hot-seat came, disappointingly there was no chance to really lance the show in twelve minutes minus commercial and swirling lights time suckage; but for my money, my favorite part of the show was Lance Bass.
It took me three days to even figure out who the hell that relative amoeba was. A viewing of ET confirmed that he's a member of that candy-ass bubble gum boy group, "In-Synch". I knew the show would have to be rigged because he's a product of the American Education system at its most typical and probably doesn't remember an iota of information he learned in school.
Aside from quickly dispatching all of his lifelines, Ray Romano sacrificed his own time by throwing out an answer ("It's thirteen, come on, let's move it on!"; in response to 'How many items do you have when you get a baker's dozen?'. It was a big laugh and tension breaker, but we had to watch this poor millionaire teen struggle through a question that referenced historical figures that much longer. He didn't even really have the skill to deduce by process of elimination or any other analytical methods. He had nothing to play with. At one point, Regis asked him, "Do you wanna call a life-line person for the answer." He responded with, "I really don't know anyone who would know the answer to that question." He could've at least tried his manager or accountant, who are old enough to do anything legally in this country.
Though his game was soft, it wasn't easy enough.
For your consideration, the first draft of Lance Bass' 15 Questions to Be A Millionaire:
1: How many pigs are in the children's story, "Three Little Pigs":
2. What is slang for 'being synchronized?
b) The name of your band
c) The title of your first album
d) In sink
3: What is the name of your band?
b) Backstreet Boys
c) Boys 2 Men
d) Savage Garden
4: Are you a virgin?
d) Not on tour
5: What pop teen female singer is driven "Crazy" in her top ten song?
a) Christina Aguiliera
b) Britney Spears
c) Fiona Apple
6: What is your favorite city to tour-in?
c) Last month
7: What is the square root of 16?
d) It's 4, pick letter 'a'
8: Los Angeles is infamous for what frightful form of natural disaster?
c) Parking meters
d) The ground shaking and it gets on every news channel, remember?
9: Senator Ted Kennedy was involved in a traffic accident over what body of water?
a) The Hudson River
b) Lake Chappaquitick
c) The Mississippi River
d) Ask Ray Romano, he's right behind you
10: AOL stands for what?
a) America On-Line
b) Advanced Operating Language
c) Associated On-Line
d) Think about it, it's the country you live in...
11: What is Barbra Streisand known for outside of her big voice?
a) Big nose
b) Marriage to Elliot Gould
c) Being difficult to work with
d) Just dump here, Lance, you're out of your league and definitely have no life lines if you've gotten this far.
12: Counting this one, how many more questions before you win a million dollars?
c) One million?
d) Cut off your 'baby I dig you' pointing finger and count what's left on your bloody stump.
13: A courtesan practices what illegal business?
c) Band slut
d) Cherry poppin surprise for you...
14: What is Regis Philbin most well known for?
a) Saving ABC
b) Co-hosting Live With Regis and Kathie Lee
c) Doing himself less well than Dana Carvey
d) Hosting this show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
For a million, Lance:
Why the hell would you put yourself through this?
a) I have a new record and tour to promote and ABC owns a piece of my record company and they know millions of little girls will watch this show if I'm on it.
b) I need to be visible so when I start looking like a 'sir', I have a solo career.
c) I have no idea.
d) That's a good question, I'm kicking my manager's ass if he asks me to go on Jeopardy again.