CLINE: A game show family

Special Photo From left, Jay Squillace, Lori Parker, Jennifer Squillace, host Steve Harvey, Elayne Squillace, Stan Squillace.

Special Photo From left, Jay Squillace, Lori Parker, Jennifer Squillace, host Steve Harvey, Elayne Squillace, Stan Squillace.

I wish Richard Dawson was still on the show, because I'd like to see how he would have treated a group of my friends (especially the ladies) when they appear Monday on the game show staple "Family Feud."

At least they got Steve Harvey as their host, and not Louie Anderson or Ray Combs. And no matter how things turn out on Monday — contestants aren't allowed to say how they fared but you can watch at noon on WPCH Channel 17 — the Squillace clan will have a lot of memories from the shows, which were taped this summer.

Not the least of which was just being on a game show. Game shows are part of our fabric, something we grew up watching, mostly together as a family. As the Squillaces found out after auditioning and earning a spot on the show, they weren't the only ones who thinks it's cool to be contestants.

"The mini fame we've gotten from people who find out we're going to be on has been fun," said Jay Squillace, a Brookwood grad and sports marketer who lives in Suwanee. "We'll see if it still is when I start to hear, 'Why did you answer that? You should have said ...'

"Regardless, I would do it again tomorrow."

The team included Jay, his parents Stan and Elayne of Hoschton, his sister Lori Parker, a teacher at Dacula Elementary, and sister-in-law Jenn Squillace, a meeting planner who successfully got the family an audition at The Atlanta Civic Center. On the day the family auditioned, there were 150 other families vying for spots as well. The teams played two practice games and were evaluated and told they'd be called back if they made the cut.

When the call came that they had, the family was ecstatic. But they still weren't in the clear. The show overbooks to guard against no-shows, and families don't find out they are going to be on TV for sure until 30 minutes before taping. Talk about anxiety. And pressure. But Jenn Squillace said the butterflies settled down once the game started.

"You forget about the audience pretty quickly because of the lights and the production on stage," the Flowery Branch resident and South Gwinnett grad said. "What makes it hard, though, is you run the risk of overthinking the questions. If you put too much thought into it, you will not do well — trust me."

For those of us of a certain age, there is something iconic about "Family Feud," "Wheel of Fortune," "The Price is Right" and other game shows from that time. You grow up wanting to solve the puzzle, spin the big wheel or play "fast money." To get to do the latter was a lot of fun, but also a little disconcerting, said Jay Squillace, whose nerves didn't quell quite as well as his sister-in-law's.

"Once the day of the taping came, the excitement turned to nerves. Call it nervously excited," he said. "Once we were actually taping, my nerves did anything but settle down. It was a combination of the lights, the camera and a strong desire not to say anything that would land me a spot on YouTube for the rest of my life.

"It'll be more than interesting to watch our episodes air."

The family plans to have a viewing party on Monday to celebrate being on the show. The over/under on the times the phrase "good answer" is uttered is seven.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.