Hiya, folks and people. Welcome to the all-new, all-different, now-vanilla-scented ToughPigs.com. I’m Ryan Roe, and I hope you’ll come to know me as the Ryan-Roe-iest of the contributors here.
You know that show Deal or No Deal? It’s a prime time game show hosted by Howie Mandel, whose previous jobs include voicing Scooter’s imaginary sister and putting rubber gloves on his head. Recently, our favorite freakishly tall avian Big Bird made an appearance on a special, two-hour Christmas episode of the show.
If NBC really had their act together, they would have let Big Bird co-host the show, or at least had him take over for one of the models who holds the briefcases. Like #18. She’s not that hot anyway. But alas, they’re not that bright. His appearance was brief, and didn’t occur until about 3/4 of the way through the show. I’m guessing most of you missed it, because, come on, what kind of loser wants to spend his Christmas watching Deal or No Deal? (Note: My apologies to any of said losers who may be reading this.)
So here’s a recap, to be read while eating the last of the leftover pistachio pudding from Christmas dinner.
To set the stage: Our contestant is Lamar, a jovial ice cream man who looks like he takes full advantage of the free ice cream available at his job. I’m not going to reiterate the rules of the game, as it would take way too long, and because I’m not sure I understand them. But let’s just say that Lamar has the choice of either selling his briefcase to the show’s mysterious Banker for $39,000 (deal!), or rejecting the offer and continuing to play for a prize amount somewhere between $.01 and $500,000 (no deal!).
Howie Okay, the decision has to be yours. But… this is scary. One huge amount, two cases. Focus on me. How scary is this? Do you feel scared?
Why all the scaredy talk, Howie? It soon becomes clear that it’s a setup, as a door behind Lamar opens and Big Bird walks in, wearing a very Christmassy necktie. Big Bird is one of the few TV stars who can get away with wearing a tie without a dress shirt. Or pants. As he enters, the audience goes nuts, and he sneaks up behind Lamar, who is still unaware.
Howie Well, we have somebody to help you get over your fear.
And then Big Bird taps Lamar on the shoulder, and then BLAM! The audience erupts, Lamar’s eyes go wide, and he turns and walks off the stage. Wait a second– what’s up with that? It seems unlikely that a guy who’s just spent half an hour tolerating Howie Mandel would walk away from a meeting with Big Bird.
Howie Big Bird’s just here to help, Lamar!
Big Bird Come on back, Lamar! I’m here to wish you a Merry Christmas!
Hooray! It’s really Caroll Spinney in the bird! And hooray, Lamar returns to the stage, having regained his composure, and gives Big Bird a big ol’ Christmas hug. You know, at this point it really doesn’t matter whether Lamar wins $500,000 or a mere penny. He got to hug Big Bird, and that’s a prize you can’t place a value on.
Big Bird Yeah. Lamar, you know what? You remind me of my best pal! He’s Snuffy. He’s a Snuffleupagus! And you know, you have to learn to face your fears, because I was afraid of Snuffy when I first saw him. So it’s nice to see a guy who reminds me of my pal Snuffy. And I want to give you one bit of advice, too: If you believe, you will achieve!
There’s more applause and cheering, and Big Bird starts jumping up and down, and you can’t help but think that Caroll Spinney is awfully spry for 73. As I implied earlier, Lamar is a pretty large dude, so it seems like Big Bird’s suggestion that he resembles Snuffy is, in fact, a fat joke. But it’s Big Bird, so he gets away with it. He could cheerfully insult all your flaws and shortcomings, and you’d stand there and take it with a smile, because he’s an American institution.
Also, I think the whole “If you believe, you will achieve!” thing was some sort of personal motto of Lamar’s, but I’m not sure. I wasn’t really paying attention.
Howie Thank you, Big Bird. You’ve really helped.
Big Bird Okay. Nice to see you.
Howie We love you. Bye, Big Bird.
And then Howie kind of pushes Big Bird away, as if to say, “Get outta here, kid, we got a show to do,” and he makes his exit, and that’s it. The whole thing lasts approximately eighty seconds. Just a cameo, really. Still, the rock-star-like reception Big Bird got was good to see. After all these years, America is still thrilled to see Big Bird, and that feels sort of like a gift in itself.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Lamar said no deal, of course. When an eight-foot-tall canary tells you to keep playing, you keep playing.
by Ryan Roe – Ryan@ToughPigs.com