WILKES-BARRE — Maybe there were a few too many cups, M&Ms and pingpong balls. Maybe the “guess that word” segment should have mixed it up a bit so one contestant didn’t get all celebrities while the other got all animals. Clearly, there were a few glitches in the first full rehearsal of the first-ever production in Wilkes University’s new television studio.
Heck, co-host Sarah Matarella, a sophomore communications major, all but admitted as much once the credits rolled Thursday. “That was so” (a brief pause) “awful!”
Communications Chair Mark Stine, always a bit of a glass-half-full guy, smiled and countered with “Overall, as a first run through, I think it could have been a lot worse,” he smiled.
Considering the boundless opportunities for bloopers in a game show, the first pass at “Clash of the Colonels” probably went very smoothly. Sure, Matarella and fellow sophomore Michael Osayi were a bit stiff and silent for the first segment, but after Stine gave a pep talk — “We need you to host, to effervesce!” — during a commercial break, they loosened up and started chatting during the competitions.
The trial run pitted freshmen Chris Zim and Frank Bellia in several challenges: Stacking plastic cups into a pyramid, moving M&M candies by sucking them onto the end of a straw, and blowing pingpong balls from the top of one soda can to the top of another.
Zim won the cup stacking, but Bellia proved far superior in using a straw-as-candy-vacuum. The two of them tied in the pingpong event, both barely managing to move one ball. “That makes it great,” Osayi announced, putting positive spin on a visual that had begun to sputter. “They are neck and neck right now!”
The score even, a tie-breaker had Matarella giving clues so Zim could guess a word, which managed to be people like Justin Bieber, Scarlett Johansson and Daniel Radcliffe. Osayi, on the other hand, found himself in the world of fauna, offering clues like “A Christmas special with Alvin, Theodore and Simon” (Chipmunks), and “This is SpongeBob’s boss” (crab). In the end, Zim pulled out the win.
Both hosts and contestants conceded it was a tough gig. “That was harder than it looks!” Osayi admitted. “It was fun!” Bellia insisted, then adding, “hard, but fun.”
The real 30-minute game will be taped live next Thursday in the Karambelas Media Communication Center and eventually aired on Service Electric Cable Channel 97. In the interim, they will surely fix the glitches Stine stressed after the rehearsal, including better camera work, more relaxed chatter between the hosts, and fewer M&Ms to move with a straw. “It looked a little like an hour show,” he said with a laugh.