Watching "Amnesia" Brings Back Great Memories
This new reality type game show reminds me of the time I was involved in an MTV project called "St. Nick's Flicks."
As I remember I was hired as a V-J (video jockey) to help introduce some Christmas films in the late 1980s. I was one of five V-Js who were hired to talk about Christmas movies in a hip way with both a script and chances for improvisation.
It seems to me that it was somewhat similar to what a game show host has to do. "Amnesia" is the only reality show I've enjoyed watching, unless you count American Idol. Dennis Miller brings up contestants to the stage and after speaking with them for a few minutes asks close family and friends questions about the contestant at which time he puts the contestant in a sound-proof booth.
What he then next does is ask the friend or family member to ask very personal and often hilarious questions about the contestant. After Miller gleans enough information, he brings the contestant back to the stage. This is where the real fun begins.
The friend or family goes to a chair nearby, and the contestant clearly squirms at the knowledge the host has about their past. After all, the questions should be easy. They are about the contestant's own history.
One such question I remember was about the contestant's new bride's father who had put musical bells under the newlyweds' box springs. Later he was given three choices, but could not identify which bell sounded like the ones from his wedding night.
Another question with a different contestant was about his high school football team captain's jersey number. This is where the contestant kind of bent down and held his head in disbelief that he couldn't remember such a thing.
Another contestant couldn't pick out his own home doormat where he had been living for many years.
Thus the title of the show.
I never did anything like this on St. nick's Flicks. It was more of a revue-type show, but I was being paid for it and it was a credit on my resume.
What I like best about "Amnesia" is that it puts the contestant in a true hotspot about something he should know. Unlike Jeopardy! Where the contestants must have a good deal of knowledge, these guys only have to remember their own history. Also, unlike another reality game show I've been watching, "The Moment of Truth," it lacks the nasty implications of people revealing secrets that may hurt their family and friends.
We'll see how long this good-hearted scenario continues to capture an audience. Right now it is in hiatus.
St. Nicks Flicks lasted only one Christmas season and didn't really get me any other gigs as a V-J, but did introduce me to some of the igher-ups at MTV. Actually, for awhile I thought I might get a regular V-J position on MTV, but that never panned out.
Dennis Miller was a favorite of mine to watch as a comedian and as he's made the transition to game show host, he seems to wear it well, unlike the stint he had with Monday Night Football on ABC. We'll see how long it lasts.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com