Mom, Aunt Carol and I got to see a taping of Wheel of Fortune at the Convention Center. It was great fun.
Things you should know about going to a remote taping of Wheel of Fortune:
- The information emphatically requires no cell phones and no cameras. If you follow their instructions and do not bring your cell phones and cameras you will be annoyed because the vast majority of people DO bring their cell phones and cameras with no consequences.
- There is a lot of waiting around. First there is the waiting around to get in when you are herded, cattle-like, through a switchback of a line. However, Wheel of Fortune knows their audience and there are chairs in which to sit all along the line, for those who aren’t able to stand the whole time.
- For those who can’t really stand long at all, they just get to go to a holding area to wait for the rest of their party. This brings up unfortunate images of “culling the weak ones” in my mind, but rest assured that your loved one will still be waiting when you get to the front of the line.
- When you are herded into a seat, you may not really like your seats. That is okay, as they will be taping multiple shows and there are a lot of people who leave after the first show is done. Then you can get much better seats.
- They will want you to clap a lot. So if you try and keep up with Vanna’s clapping as the Wheel is spinning, your hands will be quite tired by the end of the session.
- It takes a very long time to tape three 20-minute shows. The taping itself lasted about 2.5 hours and that doesn’t include waiting in line. So get ready to settle in.
Observations gleaned from my session:
- Pat Sajak spends very little time on stage. When they have finished the round he immediately leaves the stage, returning just as the next round is going to begin. There is very little schmoozing
- Vanna is the only one on stage who knows the answer to the puzzle.
- When Vanna walks around answering questions, 30% will be interesting questions to which I want to know the answers, 65% will be the eye-roll inducing and grammatically incorrect “Can I have a hug?” and 5% will be people wanting to take their pictures with her.
- Vanna does not get to keep the clothing she wears. Given that she wore three different one-piece outfits that I found a bit ugly, I see this as a blessing. She does, however, wear her own shoes with her outfits. She reports that she has a lot of shoes.
- It takes eight people to move the mini-Wheel used for the final puzzle on and off the stage: four to push/hold up cables, and four more to place a rotation of press board on the floor for the mini wheel to roll over.
- I find the TV industry to be incredibly inefficient in the realm of labor.
- WOF has a “remote crew” out of Florida who do all the remote tapings. The regular crew stays back in California.
- There is only one Wheel and it is very heavy. Watching the crew change the wheel between segments was my favorite part.
- The reason the contestants tend to yell out their letters in a rather obnoxious fashion is that there are two people employed to make sure the candidates can spin the wheel and they hype them up as much as possible.
- When Pat Sajak mishears a contestant’s letter choice the stage goes dark, the contestants are ordered to turn around, there is a general murmur of discussion on the stage and then they restart the round with a brand-new puzzle. Also, Pat Sajak will tell you that it’s the first time it has happened in the history of the show. Don’t believe him.
- Because contestants are not allowed to name their actual employers, when a contestant identifies hers as a “local athletic apparel manufacturer” half the audience will lean to the other half of the audience and whisper “Nike.”
- The “kissing cam” was a hilarious part of the experience, even if I felt dumb the whole time for laughing. This was where they would show two members of the audience framed in a heart and the couple would laugh in recognition and kiss, to the audience’s approval. Or, they would lean over a row and down three chairs to kiss their spouse who was not the person in the frame originally, or attempt to hide their eight-year old selves as their older sister attempted to kiss them, or sit uncomfortably as their wife moves in for the kiss. Good clean fun.
- When the productions likes us, they give us super cool Wheel of Fortune blinky pins that are very fun to wear at school the next day.