Monday, August 17, 2009

Is That Your Final Answer?

As you may know, the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and Regis Philbin has been hosting a two-week return of the program to prime time on ABC since last Sunday. In honor of this anniversary, I'm presenting a couple of sketches I've written spinning off of the show (the first is probably not most properly called a parody, but the second certainly is). Alongside the script, you'll find images that were part of the PowerPoint presentation I put together designed to go with the sketch, in which I also incorporated sound effects from the show (just click on the thumbnail for a larger version). I wanted to create as much of the sense of the show as I could. Feel free to use these sketches if you like, just please give me credit as the writer. I'm even happy to send the PowerPoint files if you want them.

Here's the one I did first, as the last sketch produced as part of my church drama internship in 2000. It's a bit simplistic in terms of gospel message, and definitely more "preachy" than I think a drama ought to be, but I still stand behind the theology of it. I'll showcase the parody on Wednesday.

"Is That Your Final Answer?"
by Mark Baker-Wright

(logo for "Is That Your Final Answer?" appears in overhead)
Host (from offstage): Live, from Southern California, welcome to "Is That Your Final Answer?"
(theme music plays. Host walks out and addresses the audience. Applause plays in background.)

Host: Thank you. Thank you very much. Last time, we sent off a contestant with our biggest prize ever, so now it's time to find a new contestant. (Address "possible contestants.") Players, I'm about to ask a question with four answers. Use your keypads to select A,B,C, and D, in the correct order. The first person to do so correctly will be our next contestant. All right? Here's the question:

(Question appears in overhead screen above host)

Host: Put the following gospels in the order in which they appear in the Bible, starting with the first.

(Pause for a split second, then the answers appear in the overhead screen, below the question. The host then reads the answers out loud. The answers read: A. Luke, B. Matthew, C. John, D. Mark. Play "fastest finger" music as answers appear.)

(Host waits for music to end while players "select answers.")

Host: Okay, the answers, in the correct order, were:
(Overhead screen changes to show answers in correct order, as follows)
Host: B. Matthew, D. Mark, A. Luke, and C. John. All right. Now who had the fastest response?

(Overhead screen changes to show a list of names and times. Andrew Liebler will be marked out in green.)

Host: Andrew Liebler. Congratulations! (Andrew Liebler stands up victoriously) Come on up and let's play "Is That Your Final Answer?" (theme music plays as host and Andrew take their seats facing each other.)

Host: Well, Andrew, welcome to the show. I understand that you're a member of your local church, and lead your church softball team.

Andrew: That's correct, and I'm really glad to be here.

Host: (laughs mildly) Well, that's good to hear. Now, as you know, I'm going to ask you a series of questions. If you think you need help, you have three lifelines you can use. You can phone anyone in the country for 30 seconds. You can eliminate 2 wrong answers, leaving one wrong answer and the correct one, and you can ask the audience for help. Are you ready?

Andrew: Yes, sir.

Host: All right, then, let's play.

(Question music plays)

Host: Here's your first question. (Question with answers appears on overhead, matching host's question)

Host: What is the best way to get into heaven? Is it A. Obey Allah. B. Be as good as you possibly can. C. Trust in Jesus Christ alone. Or D. All paths are equally valid.

Andrew: (confused look) I don't know. I like a few of those answers. (Looks at host) I think I'd like to use a lifeline.

Host: OK, Andrew, which one?

Andrew: I'd like to ask the audience.

Host: (turns to audience) OK. Audience, Andrew needs a little help here. Make your selection. Use your keypads to select A,B,C, or D.

(pause a couple of seconds while playing "audience music" for audience to "choose." Then post next slide, with these numbers next to answers: A. 10% B. 30% C. 23% D. 37%)

Host: Well, apparently the audience is pretty split on this one. The best response is 37% for D.

Andrew: (looks at board thoughtfully) No, I'm afraid that's not much help. I'd better use another lifeline.

Host: OK. You know you've only got two left. Which one do you want to use?

Andrew: I'd like to phone my mother.

Host: OK, then. Our friends at the phone company will get your mom on the phone for us, and we'll see what she has to say.

(Phone rings, then Mom's voice over speakers)

Mom: (voice only) Hello?

Host: Hello, is this Andrew's mom?

Mom: (voice only) Yes.

Host: Hi, I'm calling from "Is That Your Final Answer?" I'm here with Andrew, and he needs your help.

Mom: (voice only) OK.

Host: Now, Andrew is going to read you a question with four answers. One of them is the right answer. Now, the next voice you hear will be Andrew's. Andrew, your time starts now.

(time sound starts playing while Andrew talks to his mother)

Andrew: Hi, Mom. “What's the best way to get into heaven?" Is it A. Obey Allah. B. Be as good as you possibly can. C. Trust in Jesus Christ alone. Or D. All paths are equally valid?

Mom: (thinks for a second - voice only) Well, you know, Andrew, I never have quite understood your need to go to church all the time, but I'm sure that Obey Allah can't be right. I'm not sure that I care for the fundamentalist tone of that third answer, but the last one sounds a bit TOO loose. So I guess I'll have to answer B. "Be as good as you possibly can."

(That should take about 30 seconds, and the time's up sound should hit pretty quick after Mom's done talking, it's part of the timing sound. Andrew looks as though he'd like to ask Mom another question, but he hears the time's up sound, informing him that Mom is no longer on the line.)

Host: (watching Andrew's continued confusion) Well, Andrew, your Mom likes B. Do you want to go with that answer?

Andrew: I don't know. I know it's still my first question, but if I miss this, then I can't move any further either. I think I'll have to take the 50-50.

Host: All right, Andrew. Computer, could you please eliminate two of the answers, leaving Andrew with one wrong answer, and the correct answer?

(Overhead changes to eliminate A and D while "50-50" sound plays, leaving only B and C.)

Andrew: OK. I tend to agree with my Mom that C. seems a bit too fundamentalist, so I'm going to go with B.

Host: OK, Andrew. Is that your final answer?

Andrew: Yes. That's my final answer. (Answer B lights up orange)

Host: (Waits a moment) I'm sorry, Andrew. That's not correct. The correct answer was C (lights up green while "wrong answer" sound plays), "Trust in Jesus Christ alone."

(Both people stand up. Andrew is shaken by his failure)

Host: I'm sorry you didn't do better, but thanks for playing "Is That Your Final Answer?" with us. (shakes hand. Andrew walks off stage.)

(end game siren plays)

Host: Well, that’s all the time we have for now, so I leave you with the question: "Is That Your Final Answer?"

(End Theme music plays as host walks off)


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