how to get that game show buzz


picture of family feud game show


The mission: attend a live taping of the game show The Family Feud (hosted by Steve Harvey) at the Atlanta Civic Center. A good friend of mine had scored tickets to the show and had invited me along for the ride.

I call it a mission because, of course, it couldn't be as simple as just showing up and walking into the studio. We arrived 5 minutes earlier than suggested, only to be told that we were too late for the 1st taping, and we'd have to come back about 2 hours later.

Ah well, what do wise women do when hit with unexpected delays? We brunch. Hard.

For the next couple of hours, my friend and I shared a booth at Home Grown, talking and reminiscing, sharing and confessing. I think I can safely speak for her when I say that in those 2 hours we both learned more about each other than we've learned in years.

With our bellies filled and our friendship expanded, we returned to the Civic Center, waited some more, and were finally, finally let into the studio.

Just as we were getting ready to file into the next to last row, the plump, older lady in front of us asked one of the production crew, "Can we take two of those seats on the front row?" "Sure," was the reply. One glance between me and my friend was all it took, and we immediately followed suit. As the plump lady and I claimed our seats next to each other, we both blurted out, "Never hurts to ask!" then cracked up at our synchronized timing. Out of nowhere, she hugged me like we'd known each other for ages.

Before the show began, the 'audience wrangler' trained us on our responsibilities. We learned when and how to clap and smile, when to cheer, and when to go "Awww...". Important stuff, you know. To boost our energy from a long day of waiting, he led us all in a couple of rousing dance-alongs. One to The Isley Brothers' "Shout", and another to the Jackson's "Blame it on the Boogie".

Soon, the main event started. Steve 'Longcoat' Harvey appeared onstage. The feuding families followed, and the cameras started rolling. Like dutiful participants, we clapped and smiled, and smiled and cheered, and 'awwwed' and clapped some more. Everything the contestants said or did required us to emote. It was hard work.

At the end of the all-day game show adventure, I returned home with a pleasant, good-feeling buzz that lasted the rest of the day.

So what did we learn from all this, kids?

I don't know about you, but a good-feeling buzz that lasts the whole livelong day isn't something that's always easy to come by (at least not legally) so when I do get one, I like to take a minute to figure out how I got it, in case I should ever need it again.

We asked 100 people what they'd do to get that good-feeling game show buzz *. Survey says:

Open Up to an Old Friend

I think we take old friends for granted sometimes. We think that since we've known each other since way back, we know everything there is to know about our friend, and they know everything there is to know about us. But there are stories that we haven't shared. Little bits of ourselves that we've never opened up about. Sharing those things gives us a chance to strengthen the bonds of our friendships. Even if the only feel-good you get is a twinge of happiness from talking about something different than you normally do, it's worth it.


Always Ask for What You Want

Fortune favors the bold. A closed mouth don't get fed. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. All these old adages are saying the same thing. If there is something you want or need, not only is there no shame in asking for it, it's often the quickest way to get it. The worst possible thing that can happen is hearing the word "no". The best possible thing that could happen is front row seats.


comic strip of a hug fail

Hug a Stranger

Look. I am not a hugger. Hugs are often awkward moments for me that involve over-thinking the position of my arms, the distance from the other person, the angle of my head... it's too much, really. Still, I appreciate a really good hug. And there's nothing better than a hug from a genuinely friendly person, even if they're someone you just met. And especially if they're a plump auntie figure.


Be Silly in Public

When's the last time you seat-danced to 50s and 80s rock and pop... in public? Yeah. Me neither. Public displays of silliness are the perfect way to whip up some instant feelgood. But the opportunity to be silly with a large group of other people doesn't come along very often. When you get the chance, take advantage of it. Join the wave at the baseball game, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around, robot your way down the Soul Train line. Of course you could always be that guy standing off to the side because he's just too sexy or too cool to be silly. Don't be.


Clap and Cheer for the Little Things

It's really hard to feel bad when you've got a big ole cheesy grin plastered on your face and you're clapping like your life depended on it. Something about that eventually takes over you and makes you all happy and junk. Now I'm not suggesting you go around being a 1-person studio audience all day. But try being a little more liberal with the high-fives and the 'good jobs' for a bit, and see if that doesn't make you and the people around you feel a little bit better.



*We didn't really. I made them up myself.