My latest for the A.V. Club is a look at the history and the must-see episodes of the 1970s afternoon hit Match Game. From "10 Match Game episodes that hit viewers right in the blank":
[Brett] Somers sat in the upper tier next to, and mock-sparred with, Charles Nelson Reilly, who also joined in 1973 and continued through a 1990-91 revival. Not concerned with being recognized as gay, Reilly was a role model for a lot of youngsters who didn’t yet realize they needed one. In contrast to the misanthropic Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares, Reilly was a “good gay” who winked at the audience and looked genuinely sorry when he didn’t match contestants. When the question is about a “really weird” woman who “keeps her husband in a blank,” Reilly responds with “closet.” In another episode: “You know you’re at a really wild party when you see a blank in every room.” Reilly writes, “chains from the ceiling.” Reilly frequently complains that Somers copies his answers; Somers gripes that Reilly takes too long and dresses like a slob. (“Charles Nelson Reilly isn’t wearing any socks!”)
Even as a kid, I knew it was a silly show, but it was so thrillingly adult, in ways I didn't fully comprehend until later. Today I can knock out innuendoes like no one's business, but there's still no Match Game app on Facebook, so I'm stuck with Words with Friends. Meh.