Last night I saw a commercial that made me acutely, almost painfully aware that we are right in the middle of May sweeps, that time of year when network television pulls its stuntiest promotional stunts (A scratch-and-sniff episode of My Name Is Earl! Jimmy Kimmel Live–on a bus!). But this commercial, for some interactive nightmare called National Bingo Night, was less like an advertisement for an upcoming, overblown game show, and more like a bright, flashing threat to hold America captive in some kind of seizure-inducing, sensory-pounding Bingo Thunderdome. You have been warned.
When NBC wrought Deal Or No Deal, aka Shiny Suitcases Of Money, it was generally thought that game shows couldn't get any dumber. Then Identity happened. But extreme bingo? With a referee? And a gigantic ping-pong balls? Really? Still, you have to admire ABC's attempt to squeeze every single recent hit game show element–from the British host, to the "trigger," to the models holding numbers, to the endless, endless screaming–into the promo.