Sunday, September 18, 2011

Diversity Is Everywhere

The word diversity means different things to different people. One dictionary definition is “the state of being diverse; variety.” That is fairly obvious. This definition is much more illustrative, “a range of things; a point or respect in which things differ.” Personally, I’m a big fan of diversity. You learn from things that you are not accustomed to or that are different. Keep your eyes open. You will notice diversity where you work, where you worship and even in the television programs you watch. Diversity is everywhere.

The reason I mentioned that diversity is evident even in the TV programs we watch, is because I happened across such a program this past week. To say the cast was diverse would be a gross understatement.

The principal characters included an angry black man, an older alcoholic woman, a flamboyant gay man, a blonde air-headed bimbo, a foreigner with a heavy accent and a dyslexic lesbian. I told you it was an eclectic group.

This show was quite enjoyable. The black man, who was smoking constantly, seemed to be a newcomer to the show, but the boozy older woman was helping him to feel at home. Despite his sullen demeanor, she was clearly fond of him.

Everyone loved the overly animated gay man. Besides possessing an almost comical personality, he was very wise and always had the right answer to the tough questions. He was one of my favorites.

Another favorite was the flighty blonde. She wore tight, clingy clothes and flirted with everyone. She was your stereotypical dumb blonde. Or was it just an act to garner attention? I’m think it probably was.

The foreigner with the thick accent was a bit too smarmy for my liking. Although he was very intelligent, he was constantly fawning over the females on the show, especially the blonde, but not so much the tipsy senior lady. He too, craved attention.

The dyslexic lesbian was a hoot. She had a southern accent and wore tops with crazy graphics on them. She was quite popular with everyone and was constantly poking fun at the inebriated matron.

The best thing about this program was that it was syndicated and on each weekday morning. Since discovering this wonderful little pearl of diversity, I have become a regular viewer, it’s that good.

By now you are probably wondering what is the name of this magnificent show I have been babbling about. And what channel is this terrific program on?

No, it’s not a hit reality show on VH1 and it’s not an emotional daytime drama on the Lifetime Network. And it’s not a hot new series on HBO or Showtime.

This incredible gem that is chock full of diversity, is none other than, Match Game ’74 and can be found on the Game Show Network. Ha! Had you going, didn’t I?

The angry black man was Scoey Mitchell, an 81-year-old actor known for frequent game-show appearances, starring in the short-lived series Barefoot in the Park and a recurring role on Rhoda.

The older alcoholic was Brett Somers, an actress, singer and comedienne who passed at age 83. She had a recurring role as Blanche Madison opposite her real life husband Jack Klugman on The Odd Couple.

The flamboyant gay man was Charles Nelson Reilly, an actor, comedian, director and drama teacher who passed at age 76. He was known for his comedic roles in theater, movies, children’s television and animated cartoons.

The blonde bimbo was Elaine Joyce, a 65-year-old actress who appeared on many TV shows, including The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, The Andy Griffith Show, Green Acres and Hawaii Five-O.

The foreigner with the accent was Richard Dawson, a 78-year-old actor, comedian and game-show host. He is best known for his role as Corporal Peter Newkirk on Hogan’s Heroes and being the original host of Family Feud.

The dyslexic lesbian was Fannie Flagg, a 66-year-old actress, comedienne and author. She is best known for the 1988 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, which was adapted into the 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes.

I do love Match Game and if you think about it, it really was quite diverse. You had people from several countries (Canada, England and America) with different ethnicities. They had various sexual preferences and suffered from assorted disorders (alcoholism and dyslexia).

When you enter into the equation the drinks, a pipe and plenty of cigarettes, you have to agree with me, Match Game ’74 was a diverse show. Diversity is everywhere.

Until next time…from the booth.


Leplume said...

Hah! I just watched an old episode of Saturday Night Live and they did a parody of The Match Game. They had all those same characters, only with different names. The premise was the host was shot and killed backstage while waiting to go on. When the detective comes onstage to tell the panel the host is dead and starts asking questions, they can't answer normally but instead are doomed to write their answers down on little cards. Of course, the big punchline comes at the end when they're asked, "What was the last thing you remember seeing (the host) doing?" Every one of them answered, "Making whoopee!" which as I recall was a common answer on Match Game that often got big laughs! Wish I had Game Show network. I used to love that show! LOL

Leplume said...

And what was with the names of the black guests on that show back then...Scoey Mitchell, Nipsy Russell...didn't anyone just name their kids Bob or Joe or something! LOL

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Good catch, Mary Beth. There were a few black celebrities that had normal names - Jimmie Walker, Greg Morris, Clifton Davis, Johnny Brown, George Kirby, Della Reese, Gail Fisher, Esther Rolle, Isabelle Sanford and Rosey Grier. Okay, I guess Rosey might be a stretch for a very large black man…