Come on Down

GT Magazine , March 2015


“YOU have to be really quick!” my mum advises with a sharp look in my direction. “Like THIS!” Her open palm flies through the air with the speed of a steel rabbit trap and slams down on the imaginary buzzer sitting on the living room table.
It’s the week before the Family Feud audition and I’m in game show training. And if anyone is qualified to teach in this niche area, it’s my mum.
Blankety Blanks, The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, Press your Luck – she’s appeared on them all. I’ve seen the videos (VHS of course). It’s all perms and shoulder pads.
She’s been in bonus rounds, bought a vowel, given her final answer, and Come on Down! She’s won chainsaws, Tupperware, holidays, furniture and cold hard cash.
She’s not greedy mind you, she just gets a kick out of it. She’s outgoing and fun and a pretty smart woman on top of that. Her philosophy is – someone’s got to win. Why not me?
And now, she’s passing the legacy on to her daughter.
It’s not my first time through this intensive course though, by the way. Two years ago mum landed us an audition on Deal or No Deal.
I never had a desire to go on any game show personally. I could envision myself up on the platform with Eddie McGuire fretting over the $1000 question. What colour is the sky? Is it a) red, b) blue, c) stage fright, or d) you're wearing nothing but your underwear?
But when you get a shot at $200,000, you take it.
This was only an audition mind you, where you line up in a huge hall with 500 other hopeful people and fill out forms about the craziest thing you’ve even done and what you would do with the prize money before getting a chance to try and impress one of the producers in two minutes or less. But mum had no doubt in her mind we’d be chosen.
First tip of game show training 101? You need to have a story.
Ours was simple: The master and the apprentice. Mum’s taught me everything she knows, now it’s my turn to win big.
Well, it worked. They picked us.
We turned up on the day of filming with over-the-top stage smiles, excitable attitudes and the hope of winning enough to buy planes tickets to visit my brother overseas. Less than an hour later, after my very best ‘DEAL, Andrew!’, we were out on the streets and $35,000 richer.
So when mum told me about our Family Feud audition, I didn’t hesitate and went straight into training with our other team members, my aunty and cousin.
This time it’s more complicated though. Far from the random picking of cases and sheer luck of Deal or No Deal, Family Feud involves buzzers and questions and quick thinking. There’s a team to consider and decisions to be made. There’s a very high chance of making a fool out of myself on national television.
The training went well, though. I really have my buzzer pressing skills down pat and I can name at least five fruit with red inside, things that end up on the roof and condiments you spread on toast.
Mum’s confident and that says a lot so now it’s time to relax, set my smile to pearly whites and think about what I’m going to do with that prize money.
Come on down!