For as long as I have known my friend Emily, she’s been a devoted fan of the Price is Right. Granted, it is a fantastically entertaining game show — one that actually made sick days as a child something to look forward to (in the late-80s, it was on at 11am on weekdays – WHY DO I REMEMBER THAT?!)
But Emily? Emily is obsessed. She’s been talking about The Price is Right — and her desire to play Plinko (the “idiot proof game” as she calls it) — for at least the past 25 years.
Emily also has a bucket list. Like, the normal kind, where people write down things they want to do before they do them.
Attending Saturday Night Live was also on that bucket list, and we crossed that off a couple of years ago, thanks to one of Scott’s good friends who is a head writer for the show.
We made plans to fly all the way to LA to attend a taping of the Price is Right last June, but then Emily got some troubling health news and we bagged the trip. I thought maybe it wasn’t meant to be. But I should not have underestimated my BFF’s obsession.
In January, Emily called me to me that the Price is Right Live (a traveling show based on the game show) was coming to Binghamton. “It might be awful, but we are going,” she declared. “I already bought us tickets.”
Last Wednesday was the big night, and I received approximately 326 emails from Emily in the hours leading up to it. She also made us t-shirts to wear, and I got a pink wig — because if you’re going to play the Price is Right, you might as well go all in.
We arrived early to put our names in to be potential contestants — along with 3,000 other people. We found our nosebleed seats just as the announcement was made that the host would be Mark Wahlberg (Marky Mark, for those of you who enjoy 1990s hip hop).
And that’s when I realized this whole thing was a much bigger deal than I had imagined. I frantically text messaged another friend who I know is obsessed with Marky Mark.
After much fanfare and hype and at least 9 more announcements about Marky Mark, the show finally started… and onto stage walked our host, Mark Wahlberg.
It wasn’t THAT Mark Wahlberg. It was a different Mark Wahlberg. A not-so-famous Mark Wahlberg.
And that’s when I realized this whole thing was EXACTLY what I had imagined.
The next two hours were some of the goofiest I’ve experienced in my life. As audience members were called onto stage, they had to guess the prices of things like a 48 oz jar of Folgers coffee or a gallon jug of RoundUp. Prizes included $100 bills or a pair of shoes or a white electric guitar that looked like it would have been wildly popular in 1984. The final showcase showdown did include a car, but contestants had to get within $100 of the actual price to win it, and neither one did. So they got $100 and a t-shirt. The entire experience was surreal.
Emily and I did not walk away winners. Or maybe we did, in a way — I think I would have been resentful if I’d won Folgers coffee and then had to haul it home and do something with it. But winning wasn’t really the point — enjoying the experience and time together was. And for that reason, we agreed we can cross it off her bucket list.