Family Feud looks deceptively easy when you're playing at home. But under the hot lights of a TV studio, answers such as these, given by US contestants in the past, are all too common.
Name something a blind person might use: "A sword". A character from the movie Aladdin: "Jihad". Something everyone knows about Cinderella: "She could talk to animals".
There's a danger in rebirthing an icon. The problem is that people can remember things more fondly than [they did at the time].
I learn this the hard way when Channel Ten invites a team of Fairfax Media journalists to compete against another group of reporters in a trial run for a revived version of the show, launching July 14.
Fairfax reporter Michael Lallo (second from right) tests his knowledge in a trial run of the new Family Feud. Photo: Channel Ten
''Quick!'' urges host Grant Denyer, warning that time is running out. The question is simple enough: ''Name something you do when you grow up.'' But our team – including TV writer Ben Pobjie, 3AW entertainment reporter Donna Demaio and honorary Fairfaxer Vicki Poupounaki, a radio producer at Authentic Entertainment – has already given several successful answers such as vote, drive and drink. (Responses are tested against a survey of 100 audience members. More matches equals more points.)
Fearful of blurting out something stupid, I simply stare at Denyer in mute panic until the buzzer goes off. Thus, victory is delivered to our rivals.
''I could not play the game myself,'' Denyer says before the media showdown. ''I don't have a very good filter so I'd be afraid of what I'd say. That's the strength of the show: people being trapped like a bunny in headlights and seeing what trips out of their mouths.''
Family Feud host Grant Denyer. Photo: Channel Ten
Yet the heat I felt is nothing compared to the pressure Denyer is facing. Ten has high hopes for Family Feud; both for the show itself and its ability to deliver bigger lead-in audiences to The Project.
''We have to turn around a troubled slot for the network,'' Denyer says of the 6pm weeknight shift. ''But Ten's very good at letting things find their feet. Seven and Nine are very trigger-happy – and you need to be when you're the biggest networks; you can't afford failures. But Ten will blood something."
Some might be surprised to see Denyer back on the shiny floor of a TV studio, given he'd resigned as host of Seven's Million Dollar Minute two months after its launch last year. (Denyer has battled chronic fatigue, explaining his decision to leave at the time as the result of the show's intense production schedule.) Indeed, before it debuted, he told Fairfax that being a game show host was ''180 degrees from where I want to be''. But he said he initially felt the same about his Sunrise weather gig – and ended up loving it.
''People get funny about what shows you choose to be a part of,'' he says. ''It's weird. You can't not work. I've always being quite selective about what shows I do because it only takes one failure to really scar your career. You can be benched with one bad choice.''
Family Feud, he says, is equal parts excitement and terror. One one hand, it's a classic, having had several hosts since its 1977 Australian debut including Tony Barber, Daryl Somers, Sandy Scott, Rob Brough, John Deeks and Bert Newton.
''Everybody knows it and has fond memories of it so half the work is done,'' Denyer says.
But this can be a hindrance: ''There's a danger in rebirthing an icon. The problem is that people can remember things more fondly than [they did at the time]. Hey Hey It's Saturday is the perfect example of that.''
The solution, Denyer believes, lies in making the show his own. In fact, Ten has purchased the current American format, which is more free-wheeling than previous local incarnations.
''It's not as stiff-collared and important as perhaps it had been in the past,'' he says. ''It feels kind of like a jungle gym. There are a lot more toys to play with. It's more a stretch of my skills. It's not just steering the bus. You can muck around with the people on board.''
More than 7000 families have already applied to compete – 28,000 people in total – which is a promising sign for Ten.
''It's a return to broad family viewing,'' Denyer says, pointing out that he grew up watching Brough host the program on Seven. ''It was huge in our household, as it was in many people's households, and I even ended up getting the cameraman on Sunrise who used to be Rob Brough's cameraman.''
The pair used to amuse themselves with endless impersonations of Brough. When Denyer got theFamily Feud gig, his first call was to that cameraman – in the voice of Brough, of course.
''All that secret practice has paid off,'' he says. ''I'm ready.''
Family Feud starts on Channel Ten at 6pm on Monday, July 14.
The best of Family Feud's worst answers
Name something in the garden that's green: ''Shed''
An occupation where you need a torch: ''A burglar''
A famous Australian: "Peter Pan"
A product that, according to its commercials, will make you more popular: ''Toilet paper''
Something you do before going to bed: ''Sleep''
Something this country imports too much of: ''Foreign goods''
Something you might be allergic to: ''Skiing''
A famous bridge: ''The bridge over troubled waters''
Something a cat does: ''Goes to the toilet''
An animal you might see at the zoo: ''A dog''
Something associated with the police: ''Pigs''
A non-living object with legs: ''Plant''
A domesticated animal: ''Leopard''
Something that flies that doesn't have an engine: ''A bicycle with wings''
A reason for kneeling: ''To be beheaded''
The month of pregnancy a woman begins to look pregnant: ''September''
Something associated with Liverpool: ''The yellow brick road''
Something that comes in sevens: ''Fingers''
Something you might lose in a game of golf: ''Your pants''
A vegetable you've never eaten: ''Cactus''
Something people do clothed that others don't: ''Ride a motorcycle''
A way to make bathing a sexy experience: ''In the nude''
An article of clothing that women buy for their husbands: ''Halter tops''
Something a hostess does to let her guests know it's time to leave: ''Goes to bed''
Something you see along the side of a street: ''Carnage''
Something the English are famous for: ''Driving on the wrong side of the road''
Something that makes you feel uneasy all day long if you forget to do it in the morning: ''Get dressed''
A food that makes noise when you eat it: ''A really loud hamburger''
Something you learn how to do from a how-to book: ''Read''
A place where people are scolded for falling asleep: ''Sex''
An occupation in which you disguise your appearance: ''Doctor''
The first thing you take off after work: ''Underwear''
A way you would treat a pet like a human: ''Take it to the vet''
Something an airline passenger might be holding during a bumpy flight: ''A lucky rabbit's foot''
Something you might buy that could turn out to be phony: ''Horse''
A place you dab perfume on: ''Tip of tongue''
A bill that's always more than you expected it to be: ''$100 bill''
An excuse you use when stopped for speeding: ''I was drinking''
Something a man might do to look good that he doesn't want people to know about: ''Stuff his pants''
Something you bang when it's not working right: ''Wall''
Something books tell you that you can do in 30 days or less: ''Make a baby''
An instrument used by a doctor: ''Violin''
A reason a man might take his toupee off: ''To show off''
Something you buy and then have to be careful about how you carry it home: ''An infant''
Something a bridegroom might wear: ''A dress''
A way to prevent snoring: ''Put a pillow over his face''
Something that Santa Claus does when he comes to your house: ''Feeds your pets''
A place you would keep a pen: ''A zoo''
A game played in the dark: ''Charades''
Something you keep in a garden shed: ''A gardener''
Something you keep handy by the front door: ''Spittoon''
A dangerous animal that some people keep as pets: ''Wolf''
When you sneak out of work, the reason you give for leaving: ''I'm going to the beach''
An occupation where someone wears a robe at work: ''A fireman''
Something that people stick a pin into: ''Their eyes''
An animal you would recognise by its ears: ''A chicken''
Something of yours you hope doesn't start making noises: ''Cell phone''