To Tell The Truth is the most successful modernization of an ancient game show in recent memory. Anthony Anderson and his momma make sure that this game show is not your grandmother’s game show. Although, the show acknowledged its past with a fun tribute to Betty White’s staying power and the fact her run on the show has outlasted nine hosts.
Despite a post-Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and prime time sized budget, this revival stays true to the original format. Four celebrities ask three contestants questions. Two are lying. One is telling the truth. At the end of the round, the celebrities reveal who they believe is telling the truth. Then, the host asks, “Will the real (insert talent/name/weird fact) please stand up?” Occasionally, the show will change things up by revealing that one of the contestants who has been lying also has a unique fact, leading to another round with the remaining two contestants. Even the breaks from the format are pretty straightforward and keep with the spirit of the show.
The format hasn’t changed a bit since 1956, but what an audience will watch has. We are no longer interested in watching stuffy Bud Collyer host a glorified dinner party, complete with women wearing elbow length gloves. ABC understands that and smartly chose contestants with backgrounds and talents sure to grab viewers in the Internet era. The first contestant’s secret was he dated Taylor Swift in high school, which almost guarantees that the clip will go viral.
This version also focuses mostly on the celebrity guests. Prizes for the contestants are never mentioned. There aren’t even prizes for the celebrity who guesses the most. In fact, there’s punishment for the loser who has to endure Anthony tweeting some embarrassing lie that can’t be refuted for 24 hours. This segment will get old quickly once everyone figures out that the random tweet on their favorite celebrities page corresponds to the day he or she was on To Tell the Truth. At least, it was a good gag for the first episode.
Previous hosts of To Tell the Truth would blush at a lot of the territory ABC’s current version enters, such as the embarrassing tweet. They also wouldn’t like Doris Anderson and Betty White showing that they are old ladies who don’t give AF. The two women make comments that embarrass Anthony because they find it funny. It is hilarious. Someone should give them a show.
While the show feels a little long at an hour, To Tell the Truth makes for perfect light summer fare. It’s a little raunchy without being tasteless. Anthony Anderson and his mother know how to have a good time. That’s all that anyone can ask for.
Rating: 8 out of 10