Suppy Sup! The Password Is...Reality Check
There’s something magical about Tuesdays.
I have two to-do lists. One includes chores, cleaning, errands, and tasks I want to complete (exercise four times this week, read 200 pages, things like that).
The other is virtual, and it features all my writing assignments for the week, including my paid work, book reviews, client meetings, and related job paraphernalia.
Suppy Sup appears on neither list, a deliberate choice.
I never restrict myself to a schedule, a specific publication day, a topic, or a goal for this newsletter. Instead, I respect this platform as an outlet I can use when inspiration strikes. “Write it when you catch a glimmer of an idea,” I tell myself.
And yet, every Tuesday, for the past four Tuesdays, the inspiration train has chugged right into the station.
In the shower this morning—this is typically when I have my most creative sparks—I came up with a big ol’ goose egg.
And then I started to do my work work, a page about Maryland off-track betting facilities.
Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga TOOT TOOOOOOOT.
Here comes the train! And it’s telling me to write about reality and game shows. Who am I to deny the conductor waving me aboard? Let’s do this.
The Password Is…
To briefly set the stage with some information most (if not all) of my readers already know: I was on a game show earlier this year!
Password has long been a staple in my family. We play every Christmas. When I saw Jimmy Fallon was reviving the show, I instantly applied…and through some miracle, I kept getting through to the next round of auditions…and the next…and the next…until I was out in California filming beside Fallon, Heidi Klum, and Keke Palmer.
Here are two clips! For the full effect (including my now-world-famous Dragon Dance), head to Peacock and watch episode 2.
I still have at least two friends who have yet to watch my episode, and they treat this as though it is my fault. Do not burden me, nameless friends I am shaming in my newsletter! You know damn well you can make the effort to watch 22 minutes of a game show, and none of your reticence to do so is my fault!
Everything about the experience, front to back, was amazing. I would love to do it all again…and I plan to.
Once my contract is up (yeah I have one; it’s weird), I plan to audition for other game shows because this was just too fucking fun to pass up another chance at it.
What’s Next? An Exercise In Ego Fiction
Below are five reality or game shows I would love to compete on. For each, I will attempt an honest assessment of how I’d do.
When I say “honest,” keep in mind that I’m the guy who still has his “Mr. Geneva High School 2010” trophy on display in his house.
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If the Survivor-themed birthday party my wife and friends threw for me a few years back is any indication, I’m winning this shit easily. Despite my pre-merge alliance crumbling to pieces after my friend Chris made the dumbest move imaginable, I squeaked my way to the individual portion of the game and won in a jury tie, broken by my friend Cam, who, if we ran this back today, would never ever vote the same way again.
I pretend I can hold things together. In truth, hungry-and-tired Cole is a pissy little aspect of Satan who lashes out at the nearest possible target. Keeping that on lock would be TOUGH, so I guess my plan would be simple: slay every reward challenge, find every idol and advantage, then win the game in a landslide final tribal council.
If that plan didn’t pan out, I think I’d be a just-before-the-merge boot (everyone would be terrified of me as a physical threat, of course) or an early jury member.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Tough one, considering I 1) can’t dance, 2) can’t act, 3) have no improv training, 4) can’t do make-up, 5) can’t sew, 6) can’t walk in heels, and 7) am not a drag queen!
Time for a straight white guy to come in with an underdog victory, eh?
Okay, real talk: I love drag. I would love, someday, to give it a try. I’ve got my name and aesthetic all picked out: Paige Turner, the bookish Drag Queen!
I’m first to go home on any RuPaul’s Drag Race challenge, hands down. But I’d give the ol’ “grateful for the experience” speech on my way out. My exit line? a melodramatic and grandiose “THE. END.”
I play Jeopardy’s six free clues on my Google Home every weekday, and it tells me I am in the 99th percentile of all-time players. I can only assume this means I’m a shoo-in for a spot behind one of those iconic podiums. Or perhaps only two people play Google Home’s Jeopardy! game and the other one quit months ago. Who’s to say?!
Other than Survivor, Jeopardy! is the only show on this list I have actually made a goal. I take the anytime test to audition every year, and I am annually disappointed in my lack of knowledge. So the past few months, I’ve kicked into high gear and started working my way through trivia books written by Jeopardy! champions. First, I did Austin Rogers’ Pub Trivia book. Now, I’m doing one page per day of Ken Jennings’s Trivia Almanac.
Hoo boy, these are tough! And when I watch Jeopardy!, I’m happy to get one or two of any category’s clues correct.
Jeopardy! remains a dream. Were I to make it there today, I’d be happy to make it to Final Jeopardy with $200-$1000 in my bank. Like I said for RuPaul’s Drag Race, “grateful for the experience” and all that. Maybe I’d have a signature Buzzy Cohen-style stinger.
Alright, no joke, I think I’d actually do pretty well on The Circle. Sitting in a room alone for weeks and chatting to people via text online?
That’s what I do on a daily basis!
I hate social media. I use some accounts to promote my work and interact with a few friends, but I’ve got nothing on my phone besides Goodreads. That said, I am active in plenty of Discords and I think my personality comes across well via text. I give myself an honest shot at going deep, possibly earning a slot in the finals.
However, The Circle has yet to evolve beyond its feel-good pastiche to become a true game of strategy. Contestants seem more concerned with making “real” connections than playing the game for $100,000. That distinction may just be my downfall.
The Amazing Race
I haven’t watched in years, but damn, I think it’d be fun. The Amazing Race hinges in partner performance. My top three partner selections would be:
Erin, my wife!
Dean, one of my best buddies!
Jesse, my seester!
I give Erin and me the best shot. We work well together as a team. We trust each other. We have different strengths. For example, Erin is physically strong while I am a weak little twig-boy.
Dean and I, well, it’d just be a series of bits and riffs, with very little time spent on achieving the required tasks. Fun? yes. Formula for a win? No.
Jesse is the wild card. We’re both pretty sharp, so I wouldn’t be concerned about any intellectual challenges. Running long distances and completing feats of physical prowess? The Rushes were built to be readers…
Let’s introduce a fourth pick, the most chaotic of the wild cards: Dylan. We’re good at beer pong, which is basically the same thing as The Amazing Race. We mesh well as a team and often develop meta-strategies without discussing them verbally. I give us a decent shot at the final three.
Watch, Read, Play, Listen
Ooooo-weeeeee, some fun stuff I experienced this week!
The Secret of Kells, an animated movie many people haven’t even heard of, is just as excellent as the few who do know of it have told me. Here’s the trailer.
Robert Jackson Bennett’s Vigilance is a striking portrayal of mass shootings in America. A must-read novella for proponents of gun control. My friend Andrew reviewed it, and his take is excellent, IMO.
“Why It’s Rude To Suck At Warcraft,” a video essay from one of my favorite creators. A lot of it went over my head (never played WOW), but the dissection of types of play was really interesting.
I joined Ian Simmons of Kicking the Seat to discuss Adventures In Babysitting.
I reviewed Brandon Sanderson’s The Lost Metal! I also updated my Cosmere Reading Order Guide to include it.
That’s all for this week! Thanks, as always, for reading!
I vote for Dean and Cole on the Amazing Race!