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Review: Celebrity Name Game

Review: Celebrity Name Game

Game shows should strive to be as fun, engaging, and enjoyable as Celebrity Name Game.


I don’t know the last time I’ve enjoyed watching a game show as much as Celebrity Name Game. It had just about everything I look for in a good format: I’m shouting at the screen, I’m laughing, I’m having fun, and it was nerve wracking and exciting at the end. I’ve also not seen a game show as solid directly out-of-the-gate as Celebrity Name Game. Fremantle continues to be one of the few companies to consistently make a good game and show.

10622739_848166331875407_8640488827191227975_nThe game couldn’t be simpler. A team of two, partnered with a celebrity, try to describe the names of famous people, places, or things within a time limit. In round one each answer is worth $100, and round two is $200 a name. The third round sees the civilian contestants buzz in to answer clues described by host Craig Ferguson, starting at $100 an answer and going up by that much each new name. The first team to $3,000 wins and plays the end game, where the contestants must get the two celebrities to get ten names in the time limit to win $20,000.

Huge credit to the show’s fun has to be given to host Craig Ferguson. He plays the game show host role well, but he keeps it loose and incredibly funny. He’s very Steve Harvey-like in his ability to mix being a comedian and a host, and that’s very rare and a very good thing. Not to mention, if you saw the first episode featuring celebrities Mena Suvari and Joely Fisher, it’s very refreshing to see a host care as much about the contestants as he does, and to get as excited for them. We don’t see that a lot these days and it’s nice.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFYhyiPg6TY?list=UU0CSxXJge94x5LG-Uegv2yw]

The game is fast and fun which is a constant problem with the current crop of games. It moves but it never feels too fast. You get the fun and comedy of the game mixed with an incredible amount of game play. Not to mention it’s nice to see a show throw around a bit of money and give teams a decent shot at winning a big prize like $20,000. That’s another thing that doesn’t happen too often recently.

The one evident thing, though, is that a show like Celebrity Name Game will have a shelf life. We see it with Pyramid and classic Password which are dated and don’t really work today. Things are going to get a bit stale eventually but they’ve got a ton of time before that happens and the format isn’t as rigid as the other two as to not allow alterations.

The only other thing is that, of course, if you’re not incredibly up to date on pop culture, you’re b1f577856d2123d2f4402be0b73ddff0screwed. The episodes so far haven’t had anyone that forces you to know TMZ-level pop culture, but if you’re someone who doesn’t care about this sort of thing, there’s not a ton of a reason to watch. Luckily they had different items beyond celebrity names, such as restaurants and locations. And this isn’t a criticism of the show. You know what you’re getting into with it. Sports Jeopardy! will have the same issue, and there’s not been many targeted quiz shows to work out on a large scale. Hopefully this breaks this trend.

There’s not a lot to not like on Celebrity Name Game. Craig Ferguson is great and funny, the show is fun and hard to not play along with, it looks authentic and enjoyable, and it’s just a solid game. Beyond throwing a few curve balls into the mix eventually and changing up some rounds to keep it fresh, it’s got about everything you’d need.

Review Overview

Game
8
Show
9
Game Show
8.5
85%

Excellent

Celebrity Name Game hits every point we look for in a game show. It's faced paced, funny, well hosted, impossible to not play along with, and an enjoyable way to spend a half hour.
  • TheOriginalDonald

    Ferguson HAS to play it straight as far as the third round goes. Other than that, I think this is a fun show.

    (BTW Joely Fisher looks very good nowadays)

  • Kevin Solomon

    When it comes to the third round, I took it as…. he’s being directed/prompted to start off the description in a silly manner and eventually narrow in on a more simple description (Like a sillier version of $ale of the Century’s Fame Game questions).

  • Myke25

    We used to play the Pyramid and Password home games a lot when I was in college in the 80s. This show has the same feel. I loved it. Craig has the proper balance of respect for the game and irreverence. I did find the third round a little weak, but that’s an easy fix. As with all celebrity games, it’ll all come down to how well the stars play the game.

  • The Starkman

    3rd round is odd…Craig was being way to hammy and for the decider he had to play it straight AND as a speed round try to get things moving…im not a huge fan ive posted this elsewhere…but it is worth a shot…but to me it came off as meh

  • James Buie

    Everyone to their own opinion, but I turned it off after ten minutes. I found it incredibly dull. The main game is the bonus round of Hollywood Game Night, a very weak game in its own right. I’ll pass on this new entry.

  • Jon Johnson

    I like Craig. He’s a funny guy, and I’m sure the celebrities will deliver bigger performances as time goes on. It’s one of those games that you won’t really enjoy until it’s totally second nature and you’re answering quicker than the contestants. I suspect those that enjoyed it most are quick thinking types that are completely down with celebrity culture. But if you’re not really up to speed you can still enjoy the antics and the energy.

  • Darkbeer

    Shame that the ratings in the Greater Los Angeles Area are not good. KTLA Channel 5 premiered the show at 7 PM (hour block of 2 shows), then moved it to 5 PM after a few weeks, and now has moved the show to 2 PM this week. Not a good sign.

  • Suzie-Q

    I really like the new Celebrity Name Game Show! It’s fast moving (can’t get bored) and Craig Ferguson really makes it funny. He’s good to the guests and stars. Some of the celebrities were really good- like Wayne Brady and Jonathan.