Mimi Bobeck Takes Over 'The Price is Right' For April Fool's Day
by Joel Keller, posted Apr 1st 2010 5:31PM
It's tough to pull off an April Fool's Day prank and not look like a complete tool. Believe me, we've tried it more than once here at TV Squad. Either the joke is so subtle no one gets it, or it's so obvious and over the top that people start to think we've had our senses of humor surgically removed.
I wanted to give that caveat before I talk about what Drew Carey and the folks at 'The Price is Right' did to celebrate April Fool's Day today. If you didn't see it, Kathy Kinney made her second appearance on the show as her old 'Drew Carey Show' character Mimi Bobeck. This time, Mimi has been given the reins of the show by the folks at CBS, and she not only has made a few changes, but she's watching her arch-nemesis Drew's every move.
The gag worked in places. But the problem with carrying a gag like this through an hour-long game show is that you actually have to play the games in a straightforward manner. And that's where things broke down. Video of Drew's and Mimi's intro is after the jump.
As you can see, Mimi replaced the models with a burly fellow, and an older dude. Later, we see a skinny goofy guy and a tape-on-glasses-wearing nerd round out the model roster. The models themselves were made into CBS pages. Announcer Rich Fields was replaced by a giant monkey. And each Showcase contestant was offered the same prize package... with the second showcase adding a Mini Cooper.
Oh, and everyone in the audience was named Pat. Why? Because Mimi figured Drew wouldn't remember anyone's names, anyway, so she decided to name all of them Pat. But this is where the joke breaks down. Because, yes, it's funny to see a sea of people, all with "PAT" on their name tags. But by the sixth time Rich said "Pat... come on down!" I was thinking, "Yep, got it. Everyone's named Pat."
Oh, and if I finally got a chance to be on 'TPiR' after years of being a fan of the show, I don't know if I'd want to be known as simply "Pat." But then again, maybe the producers pumped extra oxygen into the studio to get everyone giddy and on their side.
Because game play was still the goal of the show, it was tough for the "Mimi's watching Drew" story to make much headway. It felt like it was dropped about halfway through. Since Drew started hosting, 'TPiR' has tried to carry storylines through an entire episode -- the one with Jack Wagner was painful to watch -- but they always run into the same problem: in order to keep the show running, there's too little free time to really pursue the storyline. This wasn't as bad as the Wagner episode, or even the last time Kinney was on, but it still felt half-baked.
What did I like? The burly model James displaying jewelry and pumping his fist when showing off a Nissan Cube. Mimi repeating the first Showcase for the second contestant. Mimi playing the Mighty Sound Effects Lady on One Away. And the gigantic monkey in place of Rich.
It was a valiant effort. But, for the most part, it felt like the producers were trying too hard. Last year's April Fool's Day episode -- which was Kinney's first appearance -- was more subtle, with crazy sound effects like clucking chickens on the big wheel, cars displayed backwards, everyone wearing Groucho glasses, and the 'Match Game' theme at the end. And it was funnier.
Heck, it would have been hilarious if Mimi really treated Drew like his sitcom alter ego, cursing the fact that he somehow went from Winfred-Lauder to hosting 'The Price is Right.' But they missed that opportunity, big time. Heck, Mimi didn't even call Drew a 'pig' like in the old days, for heaven's sakes.