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October 13, 2015

'Instant Recall' Won't Go Down In History As One of the Great Game Shows

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 5th 2010 11:30AM
Wink Martindale
I'm a traditionalist when it comes to game shows. I don't really like anything that's too bizarre or wanders too far from the studio audience/stage/host with a mic/play a game format. So I didn't really like the new GSN show 'Instant Recall,' even if there were a few things that I found amusing.

The concept: host Wink Martindale and his crew stage a phony set-up to con someone into playing a game. This first episode featured two people who thought they were at a "love seminar" and a guy who found himself at a party that turned into an intervention for a woman he'd never met before (Wink and the sexy model are in another room as the con unfolds). So yeah, this is 'Candid Camera' with a twist. When it's time to let the victims off the hook, Wink comes in, introduces himself, and they play the game, which is to see if the contestants can remember what just happened to them.

This show has a really weird vibe. It's like a game show and a parody of a game show all at once. Someone channel surfing who comes across it might not know what to make of it. There's way too much goofy humor that subtracts from the game-playing element (Wink "tweeting," a little bobblehead Wink popping up to make on-screen commentary, Wink calling himself "The Winkster" and using the word "bro," etc), and the games seem to be over before you know it.

This is 80% hidden camera hijinks and 20% actual game playing, and it should be the other way around. Maybe if they had just one contestant per show instead of two (it's only a 30-minute show) and actually had the game show part of it like a real game show, maybe it could work. Or maybe not. This is pretty lame stuff (and it doesn't help that GSN already has another game show with a similar premise, 'Hidden Agenda,' and it's on right after 'Instant Recall'). We don't need another hidden camera show on TV. And it's too heavily edited, and it's not funny.

Are there things to like about it? Sure. The fact that they bring the game show set on location and have to construct it then and there is funny, and the fakesters seem really into what they're doing. And I like the retro set and Wink's colorful, retro clothes. But those aren't things that are going to get me tuning in each week. I'd rather see Wink host a traditional game show again (he has hosted around 20 since 1964).

I think the best thing that can be said about this show is that Wink somehow looks the same as he did in 1986, so kudos to him.

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caught this show today for the first time. was really surprised when I tuned in for Lingo and found this, LoL. I didn't believe it was "new" since the set and costumes were very 70s, but at the same time the contestants and their scenes were very modern. Didn't care for the show, hope it finds a new home (not in my Lingo block, LoL).

March 31 2010 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David S.

Wink Martindale? Sheesh, he's still alive? What is he, about 90 now? You would think the guy would want to enjoy retirement and what years he has left and not fool with another TV show.

March 06 2010 at 7:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Todd LeBaron

Is someone holding a gun to the writer's head saying "You MUST watch?" Simple solution: it's at least a 500-channel universe out there. watch something you like and stop trying to tell the rest of us you can't stand this show. Or better yet: get your own show if it bothers you that much, and we'll let YOU know if it's any good!

March 06 2010 at 5:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Todd LeBaron's comment

Chill out, Ap...the reviewer likes game shows, reviewed this one, and doesn't like it...what's your problem?

March 06 2010 at 6:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There's always one who says I worked for so and so and they were blah,blah,blah.Unless you can prove it no one believes you.

I like to hear Wink tell the story about the soldier and the deck of cards.I'm not even religious but it's a moving story.The soldier doesn't have a bible so he talks about what each card in a deck means to him.It's heartwarming and depressing at the same time.

March 06 2010 at 4:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nice of them to let us know about the new show the day after it airs.

March 06 2010 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked for Wink in the early 90s. He's a shalllow, unappreciative, untalented A**hole.

March 06 2010 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have always loved Wink, especially on TIC, TAC, TOE. However, a few years have passed. My goodness, I have to give an award to whoever puts on Wink's makeup. Talk about a full time job! Wink, honey, be natural and let us see the real you. Always thought you were handsome.

March 05 2010 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tootbuc1939's comment

Um, That's Tic Tac Dough you Martindale fanatic.

March 05 2010 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gideon waxfarb

Anything with Wink Martindale is worth checking out,I love classic game show hosts,nobody can touch them,these guys have a class and style from another time,would love to see Tom Kennedy again doing another show.

March 05 2010 at 8:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know why Bob, but part of your description of the show also reminds me a little of To Catch A Predator. Although, it freaks me out to think of Wink as Chris Hanson.

March 05 2010 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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