Review: Shop 'til You Drop

Pat FinnMark Walberg
Dee Bradley BakerJD Roberto
Broadcast history:
Lifetime July 8, 1991 - Summer 1994
Family Channel ("The New Shop 'til You Drop") September 1996 - August 1998
PAX August 6, 2001 -
Host: Pat Finn, JD Roberto
Announcer: Mark Walberg, Jason Smith, Dee Bradley Baker, Don Preiss

Using toilet seats to talk about men and womenChocolate Peppers - lunch at Stone-Stanley Two couples competed. To start, one team was offered a stunt by Pat. They could play or pass. Examples of stunts include: flipping pancakes that represent various dollar values to price appliances, naming movies based on rebus-type puzzles, correctly telling if a celebrity was bald or had hair, etc.

SHOPPER'S SPECIAL! Winning a stunt was worth 100 points, and a chance to pick a store from the mall. The stores contained a prize that may be found in that store (Gadget Corner = binoculars, etc.). If the team found a "Shopper's Special" they won a trip. Each team got one stunt.

Shopper's Challenge in progress A second round of stunts was played for 200 points a piece. The final round was the "Shopper's Challenge" where the teams alternated at the buzzer in 90 seconds. Rapid-fire questions were asked at 50 points a piece. The team in the lead went to the bonus. If a tie occurred after time ran out, a final question was asked. A right answer was worth the game, a wrong answer gave the win to their opponent's automatically.

$375 so far...Running through the mall In the bonus, the winners tried to spend more than a target amount. In early shows, it was $1,000, but later on it was $2,500. One team member ran around the mall and the other opened gift boxes. In each box was a prize. They could keep it and hand it off to Mark/Jason/Dee or take it back to a store in the mall and hope it was of higher value. After returning a box to the table and hitting the bell, another box was opened. This process was repeated until 90 seconds elapsed or they got 6 prizes. All the prize values were added up, and if they were equal to or greater than the target value, they won a trip. They kept all the gifts regardless.

Higher or lower than $16?For the recent order of shows, the mall was changed to a warehouse store. Aisles in the store play the same role as the stores in the "mall." Now, the first team is given a choice of categories towards a game they play. Like before they can take the challenge or pass it. Instead of physical stunts, these are either trivia challenges or games based on pricing played with on-screen graphics. Post-round shopping is done by running (pointlessly) to an aisle with its light on. The "Shopper's Special" is still in play. In the bonus, the players alternate exchanging gifts. There is also no longer an assistant to take the prizes - it is simply placed on a smaller table and moved to the large counter by a stagehand.

"Supermarket Sweep" was Lifetime's longest-running game, "Shop" was the 2nd. Additionally, it was "Sweep's" best partner, as it ran longer than the other shows it was paired with ("Rodeo Drive," "Born Lucky" and "Debt") combined.

The theme music was previously used on another Stone-Stanley show, "College Mad House."

Pat Finn hosted "The Joker's Wild" in 1990 as well as "The Big Spin" California's state lottery game show. Alumni of that show include Geoff Edwards and Larry Anderson.

Mark Walberg had stints on "Free 4 All" and "The Big Date" before settling it recently on "Russian Roulette."

Dee Baker was the voice of Olmec on the Stone-Stanley favorite, "Legends of the Hidden Temple."

JD Roberto was the host of "You Lie Like a Dog," a "To Tell the Truth" about animals for Animal Planet. He went on to helm ABC's "Are You Hot?"

Dee Baker as Grandma Cremudgin Each announcer on the original run has taken an active role helping out with the game either in demonstrating a stunt, catching bonus round prizes, etc. Recently, Dee Baker has appeared as several different characters to aid in stunt presentations on the PAX revival.

The show taped some of its later Lifetime shows at Universal Studios Florida.

Proof a long run does not always illustrate a good game show. It's an okay program, and popular with non-game show diehards, much like "Sweep." The game format is a bit unfair, with a huge berth of points available in the "Shopper's Challenge." It is fair in the sense anyone can catch up, but it defeats some of the stunt round's purpose. That's a trait shared between this and another S-S show, "Fun House."

Cast - 1.5
Game - 1.0
Bells and Whistles - 1.5
Prize - 1.0
Tilt - 1.0

[ 06.0 ]

Mark Walberg was probably the best announcer, and Dee Baker the most annoying. The set and music package *were* good, but the recent set and techno-izing of the cues was a bad move. Prizes range from vacuums to handbags and never were that high in value 'til recently.

Of course as bad as I called that version, they made a huge mistake. Actually two. One was PAX's decision to order more episodes of this over the far superior "Supermarket Sweep." The second was taken any redeeming quality out of the show. JD Roberto is tolerable, but downgrading to a warehouse store and boring "stand at the podium" games made me change the channel. You can barely tell there's a game until the Shopper's Challenge.

Cast - 1.5
Game - 1.0
Bells and Whistles - 1.0
Prize - 1.0
Tilt - 0.0

[ 04.5 ]

The set is nice, I'll give them that. The music remix is bad, especially with lyrics ("Shop Til You's a game where you shop...").

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