Thursday, January 8, 2015

'Baggage On The Road' review: A disappointment

Game Show Network attempted to revive Jerry Springer's Baggage revival last night and we got a much mellower, calmer version of the show. In fact, it was worse than the original version in many ways. There were definitely many "unnecessary" chunks of the show.

I was personally excited back in September to hear that Baggage was coming back but I never got the point of the show being "On The Road." Last's night's two episodes focus too much on the locations the show was in, LSU and Austin. Each half-hour episode was flooded with scenery clips from the region.

Baggage On The Road opened with Springer saying where the show was and the camera zooming out, showing people say "Welcome to (this location)." The theme song is true to the original version, some simple music and a quick opening. There is nothing to complain about with the opening. The episode then opens with the camera showing the entire audience clapping and cheering, then Springer introduces himself, just like on the original version.

The way each contestant/"dater" is introduced bothers me. All four contestants get introduced with a background story talking about their lifestyle and hobbies. The main contestant is introduced first with a background story. Three relatives/friends of the main contestant after the contestant and Springer talk for a minute. These relatives/friends, seated in front in the audience are suppose to "guide" the main contestant to which suitor in right for them. Is that really necessary? 

Next, the first of the three suitors are introduced. Before the next suitor is introduced, suitor 1 reveals his/her small baggage then it is discussed with the main contestant. Suitor 1 then explained him/herself. My problem with this is it really seems like a dumb-down version of the original, going one by one. I don't see a problem with each suitor getting introduced individually and saying their scripted introduction line (which by the way-they don't have on this new version!) At the end of the first round, after all three suitors are introduced, comes a scripted part. The main contestant in both episodes at the end of the first round when all three contestants revealed and explained their small baggage had to say "I can live with all three of these for now." Plus, Springer reviews the three small bags before and after the commercial break. It really seems like a dumb-down version to me.

Plus, we do not get to see what baggage the main contestant possibly has (the three options-one is true) until the three women reveal their baggage.

The middle round has the three women siting on stools to the right of the contestant and Springer, who are both in the middle. Springer then reveals each bag one by one, cracking a few sorta-funny jokes (Springer's jokes tend to be weaker and more forced than the original version) but with a twist. A good twist, actually. For each medium-sized bag, the space is split in half. There is a "good news" part revealed first at top and then a "bad news", or the baggage part revealed immediately after. Just like the original version, the contestant then goes through the problem he/she has with each bag and then makes a deal-breaker to eliminate one of three. The eliminated contestant will explain his or her self, but does not get to have a "goodbye" line after they close their bag and leave the stage. The goodbye lines, made up by each contestant (unscripted) were often some of the best and sassiest part of the original version! I don't like how the Baggage revival seems to be "nicer." Baggage does not need to be nice. 

Another negative for the eliminated contestant: We do not get to see their large baggage. Another note, he/she is also seen sitting in the audience for the large bag round.

The big disadvantage of the reboot is no more questions. The two remaining suitors explain their medium-sized bags in front of their suitcases to the main contestant.

The large bag round is pretty straight forward. The one complete time-waster is the main contestant looking for advice from his relatives/friends in the audience. It's like on The Chase when the contestant faces The Beast and has to choose the amount of money on the money ladder asks the other contestants for advice on the amount of money he/she should take. The Baggage On The Road detail is minor, but still a complete time-waster.

One of my biggest issues with Baggage On The Road is the lack of sounds effects. There used to be small, simple effects when contestants were opening their baggage. Now it's boring.

Overall, one of the worst GSN revivals in quite some time. I loved the original version of Baggage and still occasionally watch the reruns. I really do not think I will give Baggage On The Road another chance. I gave the Lingo (2011) revival all forty episodes (and I would have given it a second season), The Pyramid was good and I sat through most episodes and Minute to Win It was also good. But Baggage On The Road just seems like a tamer, nicer-in-a-bad-way, more boring, scripted and less enthusiastic version of the original.

Also to note: Years down the road when the name "Baggage" gets brought up, it will be pertaining to the 2010-12 version and everyone will forget about this reboot.

Baggage On The Road: 2 out of 5 stars. Will start out strong but fade quickly like Mind of a Man. I'm sure tonight's Baggage On The Road rerun will bomb out.

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