"Can You Tell?"
What is it?: A new television game show on the Oxygen Network
Price: Free, minus the cost of the super-powerful cable box or dish it takes to actually get the Oxygen Network.
by Tom Edwards, Editor-In-Chief, Buhner.com

    Sometimes, when you watch a commercial for a new show, you think to yourself "how has it taken this long for them to actually do this?"  That's what I said when I saw the commercial for "Can You Tell?" on the Oxygen Network.  My wife, having TiVoed 8AM Kate & Allie episodes off the network, saw the commercial and brought it to my attention.  In the commercial, host Tony Rock (yes, he's related to Chris Rock) speaks to the camera as a woman with a protruding midsection stands in the background.  Tony states he's the host of the show that answers the questions that you've always wanted to ask, but never had the guts.  He then looks over at the woman and asks the viewer if she is pregnant or just fat.  Rock then approaches the woman and congratulates her and asks when the baby is due, causing the woman to slap Rock.  Rock holds his face and looks at the camera as the commercial ends.

    HA!  There's an interesting premise right there.  Although I figured that they'd run out of fat/pregnant women after a few shows, it was enough for me to tune in, especially when I had no idea what kind of show this would be.  What it ended up being is a bastard combination between the classic TV game show "To Tell The Truth" and Nickelodeon's game show "Figure It Out", without the cute kids or entertaining questions.

    "Can You Tell?" begins to fail as soon as the show starts.  Set in a bar-type lounge, a really annoying announcer woman screams out some of the upcoming decisions the panelists will have to make and introduces Rock.  The announcer did change for one episode of the show I had seen, so hopefully they cut their losses quickly.  Rock comes out and says a few words, then the announcer introduces the panelists.  The panelists are introduced in a way to make them seem wacky, but the effort fails miserably.

    Contestants are then brought out, usually two at a time, and the panelists have to determine which of the two contestants is one thing and which is the other.  For instance, two men may be brought out, and the panelists have to determine which one is gay and which one is straight.  While that might seem interesting, apparently these people can run thin, as a more recent episode had the panelists determining which person was an anthropologist and which one was a gravedigger.  Yes, burning "taboo" question right there.

    Another horrible aspect of the show is the panel.  According to the show's website, the panel consists of "the brightest new stars in comedy".  Dear lord, I hope not.  With a rare exception, these panelists are some of the least funny people I've ever seen, mainly because they're trying too hard.  While the focus of the show attempts to be the people who come on the show with the secret lifestyle/profession/etc., the panelists try their damnest to be the stars.  Seemingly every question that comes out of the panelists mouths is a bad attempt at humor.  One female panelist, when quizzing two people about who the locksmith was (the other picked locks; yes, very "taboo" once again), asked if he disliked music by Alicia Keys!  HA!


    Just, wow.

    Pretty much the only saving grace of the show is Rock, surprisingly.  While one would think that Rock would have gotten the job solely on his name and maybe even a few strings his brother pulled, Rock carries himself extremely well, especially considering the burning wreckage around him.  He says the witty things that the panel should be saying, and works well with the contestants.  Hopefully enough shows will be done for him to produce a resume tape when this show eventually goes under.

    There's an excellent idea buried under the crap here.  The concept of trying to guess or ask the questions you'd never ask in an actual setting is something can coulod be parlayed into a good show.  The contestants have no incentive to lie, because they get paid to appear on the show, not if they stump the panel.  Rock is a good host.  But the setting of the show comes off as cheap, and the ideas seem to be running thin already.  Perhaps with more of a budget and less shows (the show is on seven days a week), the show might come off as fresh and entertaining.  But right now, they don't have much to work with, and the regulars on the show (with the exception of Rock) make it worse.  A strong recommendation to stay away for the time being, until they figure out what they're doing.

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