‘Game Changer’ S4E7: I was almost sobbing… at a game show.

And, y’all, I am not a crier. True, I’ve been more in touch with my emotions these past few years. Crying still makes me feel really awkward though.

I realize the mere act of telling you about this episode of television won’t convey the emotional impact that it has. I also know that simply asking you to watch this episode won’t be enough to hit just right.

That would be like watching the series finale of Search Party, with absolutely no context whatsoever. You can’t just understand how we got THERE without going through it.

Okay, I will skip the spoiler parts for now- and if you intend to watch, I recommend skipping those so that it hits for you too, because part of it is the realization. And I need to talk about this, so I really can’t avoid spoilers. So, the minute something in this blog post interests you enough to watch it, stop reading, drop everything and watch 2 seasons (skip season 3 and treat it like bonus content, according to my TV dealer) and 6 episodes and send me a message on Facebook with a photo of your face before you watch episode 7 of season 4. And then send me one after.

Here we go.

So, my friend Aubrey and I have been doing Australian Survivor School on Tuesday nights on Twitch and I love how into it she is. I feel like I am where Molls was last year at this time watching me fall in love with the game of Survivor all over again. And all these new Aussie castaways.

But I digress.

Way back before we even started the Survivin’ journey, she recommended a show called Game Changer on an app called Dropout. Because she is such a good friend, I was able to tell her, “Thank you for the suggestion and I will add it to the list of things I will watch when my brain is in the perfect exact mood” instead of whatever people-pleasing shit I would have said before.

Oh crap, have I told you about Aubrey yet? Maybe I have a little bit in other blogs, but I will tell you more now.

I don’t know how many years I have known Aubrey, but it feels like I have always known her. I don’t recall a time when I haven’t felt accepted, nor have I ever felt judged by her. This seems weird, because one of the first parties we were at together, upon my arrival, I found her verbally berating some college kids who tried to crash, with a drink in her hand and a crown on her head.

I think I was dressed as a Candy Fairy for some reason? I dunno, I had a bra that had Skittles glued to it, a pink tutu, and a lollipop as a wand.

She is tall and leggy and, like, the perfect vintage princess (I mean this in a good way.) Anytime anyone close to me has a fashion question, she is the first person I ask. She’s helped me so many times (and my friends too, even though they may not know it.)

I love talking about fashion with her the same way I do talking to Stevie about art – i can say whatever words are swirling around my brain in whatever order they want to spill out and she will understand what I mean and not make me feel one bit pretentious for saying/thinking it.

It’s one of my favorite feelings. I hope you get to feel it one day.

And Aubrey is probably among the most unpretentious people I’ve ever met… and I mean that in the best way. She will show up for any grade of a party and, I don’t just mean, like, arrive… I mean SHOW UP.

Like, if the party is a lesbian vampire traditional English Tea, she will have the most period-accurate period products at the table. Or, say, the party Aubrey’s SHOWING UP to is a 70s Dukes of Hazzard But Make It Glam Without A Trace of The Confederate Flag, Aubrey would have the daisiest of dukes with the sparkliest of sequins and a gingham top she fashioned from a tablecloth leftover from her Barbie/Wizard of Oz mashup party from a few years ago.

Okay, so now that you know a bit about Aubrey, I will tell you about this show that she suggested I watch that actually might have emotionally wrecked me forever today.

So, the premise of this game show is that the rules change every game. Later, as the seasons progress, some games will get repeat showings but always escalate somehow.

Does the audience know the rules? NO!

Do the contestants know the rules? NO!

Does the host know the rules? I am not sure sometimes, honestly.

At the beginning of each episode, the host (Sam Reich, who is totally crushable and also, like, owns the network or something?) says this:

”The only way to play is by learning; the only way to win is by playing; and the only way to begin is by beginning.”

And then the first contestant is up. Sometimes the host asks a question. Sometimes the host (The man I now have a talent crush on, Sam Reich) just stares at them blankly and waits for them to do something. Sometimes there are props about the stage and the contestants have to figure out what the heck to do with them.

Sometimes they play Simon Says. Sorry, Sam Says.

Season 1, Episode 1 had me cry-laughing in a way I haven’t from the hey days of the Sak Brawl for it All Summers. And then we sucked these babies down faster than when we watched Letterkenny last year.

And we all know how much I loved that show, right? Especially Gayle.

What I love about this show is I’m seeing real people win real things that really impact their lives. They aren’t doing torture porn for a million bucks while some overly tanned middled aged guy snarks at them. They are having a fun time with people who are truly friends and winning things that they need… like a month’s rent, or little luxuries, like a Michelin-starred meal.

And they are REAL people. Their teeth aren’t perfect, they aren’t wearing spanx, their hair hasn’t been styled within an inch of its life and makeup hasn’t been applied so they look like TV versions of themselves; they look like themselves. And there is so much variety. People seem to be just existing as themselves. Gosh, it’s refreshing.

It’s such a human show, which is one of the first things that drew me to Australian Survivor as well. it’s

The games are simple, and appear to have roots in a lot of improv games. It feels familiar to me in a comforting way. It’s a happy hug of a television show, because it feels like everyone on set loves what they are coming together to do.

Okay, if this has convinced you to watch, stop reading now. You can find the show at Dropout.TV. They have an app too, but not for my TV.

None of this is more apparent than it was in Season 4, Episode 7, entitled, “Don’t Cry”.

The contestants for this episode were Luke Field, Jess Ross, and Rekha Shankar, who we are already familiar with from previous episodes. I, in particular loved Jess Ross and knew should would not be good at this game.

But I also did not know how spectacularly bad she was going to be.

The first few tasks, like cutting an onion, left all three contestants stone-faced, unmoved.

Then, Sam Reich (my first possible Anderson Cooper replacement ever) had the three contestants watch the first few minutes of Up. Now, they don’t have the kind of cash to broadcast a Disney movie, so the three contestants watched on laptops with headphones, while Sam narrated what happened onscreen.

That got some people, including me.

Then they had to give a sincere thank you to a parent.

Look, there may have been tasks in between this and the one I’m about to talk about, but I don’t remember them, because the rest made me so emotional.

So the score is like 9 (Luke) to 7 (Jess) to 10 (Rekha). These might not be right and I’m not emotionally ready to watch the episode again, so those placeholders will have to do.

The next challenge, Sam Reich handed all three contestants a letter. Jess Ross was up first.

It was a letter from her mom. It was lovely and full of humor and all the things Jess’ mom loved about her and, yes, Jess cried.

Then it was Rekha’s turn. She opened her envelope, smiled, and began reading her letter.

It was addressed to Jess and was full of many lovely things about Jess as a human and her important place in Rehka’s life. Yes, Jess cried. It was at this point I had an inkling of what was happening and the tears were spilling.

Then Luke opened his and it was also addressed to Jess and full of how amazing she is.

And he cried. And Jess cried. And I cried. And my stuffies cried.


He brought out other Game Changer team members who also read their incredibly touching letters about Jess.

At this point, everyone (except for Rehka) is destroyed.

So, we’re all crying here (not you, Rehka) and then the cruel/sweet sexpot Sam Reich says something like, (I could barely hear him through my tears) “When you put out the call for something like this, the response is overwhelming” and then dared to show all of these bawling people a video montage of more and more people telling Jess all of the different reasons they loved her.

I was honestly destroyed. This episode of television felt incredibly cathartic. Like, I want to be on an episode of television like that. I would watch seasons and seasons of people doing that to normal humans. It would be beautiful.

But do you know what is NOT beautiful? What bearded lothario Sam Reich did next, which was say, since Jess couldn’t have a wedding because of the pandemic and had been engaged since 2018 and since Jess had recently been unable to walk for six months because of a back injury (where she and her fiancé binge-watched Drag Race), that maybe they should have a practice wedding now.

Jess’ fiance was brought to the set- oh and by the way, Jess has, like, zero points in the game at this point- and then the officiant was welcomed to the stage.

AND IT WAS BOB THE FUCKING DRAG QUEEN. Like, the perfect choice for this occasion.

The vows were said and they were spectacular.

The winner won and the prize was announced. I won’t spoiler those parts for the people who read before watching.

It’s an amazing prize, though.

This was easily one of the most beautiful episodes of television I have ever watched and I will add it to my mental list of “Jacki brain medicine TV episodes”. I mean, what an incredible way to show your friend that you appreciate them. If we all said the (nice) quiet things out loud, maybe the world would be a wee bit better? Maybe?

We have almost finished all the seasons, but this episode is one I’ve thought about every day since I watched it. And I get teared up every time, thinking about how lucky they all are to have each other.


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