The Price is Right has become known for special episodes and theme weeks since Drew Carey took over from Bob Barker nearly a decade ago (wow, has it been that long?) One of the most looked forward to events of the year is the annual Halloween episode that has been held in one form or another every year since 2007 save for one year where an injury to Carey forced them to re-air the previous year’s Halloween episode since a new one could not be taped. Otherwise, it has been a treat to look forward to every Halloween.
However, much like The Simpsons annual Treehouse of Horror, the creative juices behind The Price is Right seem to be waning just a bit. Last year, the theme of the episode involved everyone dressing up like Drew Carey which stretched the Halloween feel to its breaking point.
This year, it finally went beyond that point with a theme that featured the cast dressing up like stereotypical Price is Right contestants. That was it. They did have a few extra Halloween decorations. They did make the studio look darker and spookier. However, everything else looked like a normal episode of the game with everyone dressed down instead of their usual glammed-up style.
It was the second year in a row that I’ve come away disappointed with the annual special. I appreciate the effort of putting together a Halloween show at all (Wheel of Fortune didn’t even bother to do one this year from what I’ve been seeing), but episodes like this feel like those big peanut butter clusters that no one likes compared to the Snickers and Reese’s that everyone wants in their goody bag.
The show has set the bar so high in year’s past that it does seem to be impacting my own reception for each show after. In 2010, the show put together an elaborate tribute to The Wizard of Oz which worked out so much better than it had any right to. In 2012, the show opted to do a carnival theme with Drew acting as the carnival barker and the models all appearing as various carnival acts (with Manuela’s snake charmer act being the most memorable due to the use of live snakes.) The Halloween shows may have peaked in 2013 with an episode that looked like it was filmed live from Transylvania with the entire studio decked out in the most over-the-top spooky decor you could think of along with everyone on stage dressed up in various Gothic horror attire.
So, while today’s episode was a fun change of pace with a few Halloween trimmings, I do hope in future years the producers will find their way back to making Halloween the core theme of the annual special.