LAST TIME on WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE:
Dana Carvey squeezed his lips together. "Well isn't that shpecial?"
"DOH!" Rosie grunted, slapping herself on the forehead as the lights danced around and the music tolled her doom.
"SO SORRY!" Regis trumpeted, hopping out of his chair.
"What?" Norm said, looking up from his monitor while the audience laughed at him. Regis shook his head.
A buzzer sounded and Lance Bass jumped.
Sharing a chair, Dan Rydell and Casey McCall argued over the fastest finger, voting for the same answer twice and calling each other names.
David Duchovny in the hot seat. "A: El Salvador."
"You are CORRECT! That was for a hundred TWENTY five THOUSAND!" Regis beamed, punching the air with his fist. He settled down and looked at Duchovny earnestly. "Feeling the tension yet, David?"
Duchovny smirked. "They wanted me on Survivor, you know, but I didn't want to let you down, Regis."
"What a trooper!" The room made a noise. "David DUCHOVNY, we're out of time! But we'll be back tomorrow, with another Celebrity Edition of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE!"
Smiling into the camera, Regis boomed, "DAVID DUCHOVNY, the next question is worth two hundred, fifty THOUSAND dollars. You've got one lifeline left. HOW do you feel?"
Duchovny leaned back in his chair and cocked his head, letting his legs fall further open. "Well, Regis, are you asking me if I'm feeling lucky?"
"Whoa, I--" Regis stuttered, and Kathie Lee leaned over and said something a bit too loud to Norm MacDonald.
Looking smug, Duchovny clasped his hands over his stomach and jiggled his legs while he waited for Regis.
"DAVID DUCHOVNY!" Regis boomed again.
Duchovny shrugged. "Is there something you want, Regis?"
"Listen to this guy," Regis hooted. "I have a question for you, David. For TWO hundred and FIFTY thousand dollars. WHO won the first official -- that's OFFICIAL now, David -- the first OFFICIAL world surfing championship in Manly, Sydney, in 1964?"
Duchovny made a face. Dana Carvey said, "Duuuuuuuuuuude," really slowly.
"Was it A) Lawrence 'Gooley' McNaw, B) Sean Bastcombe, C) Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly, or D) Melody 'Kitten' Smith?"
The music thundered and the lights under the glass saucer flickered. The camera pulled back to show Duchovny turned around in his seat, making hand gestures at CSC sportscasters Casey McCall and Dan Rydell who were sharing a chair. Casey was shaking his head. Danny was saying, "Dude, surfing -- not my thing."
"I'm gonna stop watching you guys," Duchovny said, turning back around.
"David, you've got ONE lifelife left," Regis pestered.
Duchovny took a sip of his water. "Regis, you've got to let me think here."
"For TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS--"
"Do you think you're helping me by doing that?"
Regis reviewed his monitor. "What do you want to do, David? Do you want to use your LAST remaining lifeline? You can phone a FRIEND? Or you can ANSWER the question."
"You've worn me down, Regis. Let's call my producer, Chris Carter. He surfs. He should know this."
"Well then! Let's ask our friends at AT&T to get the surfing genius Chris CARTER on the telephone!"
The room rang a little, and then clicked.
"Who's there?" Carter sounded like someone had woken him from a nap.
"Chris Carter!" Regis threw his arms in the air. "This is Regis Philbin from ABC's Who WANTS to Be a Millionaire!"
"Oh, no thanks," Carter said. "I'm doing okay."
Regis chewed for a second, and then laughed. "No, I wasn't offering it to you -- we've got your friend David Duchovny in the hot seat and he's stuck on a SURFING question! He's going for TWO HUNDRED FIFTY thousand dollars, and he's sure hoping you can help him out!"
"I'll try," Carter said.
"Okay! The next voice you'll hear is David DUCHOVNY's, and he'll have thirty seconds to read you the question and four possible answers. Ready? LET'S PLAY!" Regis pointed his finger like a starting gun and swooped it outward toward some invisible Chris Carter in the sky.
"Chris?" Duchovny started in, and the clock began its round little countdown. "Who won the first official world surfing championships in Manly, Sydney, in 1964? Was it--" He looked down at his set of diamond-shaped answers. "Lawrence 'Gooley' McNaw, Sean Bastcombe, Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly, or Melody 'Kitten' Smith?"
"Australia," Chris mused. "Across the sea from the Dark Continent, and equally mysterious, bred of a thousand thousand generations of criminals and those wrongly imprisoned, gone bitter and resentful toward civilization, down under and thick with poisonous creatures, death at every turn, in every rocky outcropping in every aboriginal village shrouded in their own traditions and mystery, with powers imbued unknown to the west, or the east, and who are we to think our slim tether of poecy could rope the stallion of misdirection and bring home these flights of masquerade, seeming to us foreign, and terrifying, the very heart of evil, master shamans on a path of darkness that surrounds that one flicker of light, the last hope for--"
Duchovny looked at the clock which promised him eight more seconds, and said to Regis, "I know I've got eight seconds left, but can I just hang up on him?"
Regis nodded and the room cut off with a click. "Ladies and gentlemen, CHRIS Carter. So, David, do you surf much?"
"You're trying to distract me, Regis. It won't work," Duchovny mumbled, playing with his lower lip while he considered his options.
"TWO HUNDRED and fifty thousand dollars on the line," Regis reiterated.
"I am going to guess, Regis. I'm going to guess 'D' -- Melody 'Kitten' Smith."
Regis spoke directly into the camera. "David Duchovny, is that your final answer?"
Duchovny leaned back in his seat again. "I told you not to ask me that, Regis."
Regis leaned forward. "David, you choose 'D'! Oh! I'm sorry!" The music played a "you died" sound for Duchovny. "The answer was 'C,' David. Bernard 'Midget' Farrelly won the first world surfing championship in 1964! Too bad! But your charity is still getting thirty-two THOUSAND dollars!"
Regis spun on his high chair. "And, we're BACK! With ABC's Who WANTS to be a Millionaire! In the hot seat we've got Frasier Crane, a well-known radio personality who hails from Seattle, Washington, and in his spare time, I hear, makes a mean batch of Crepes Suzette!"
Frasier smiled. "Yes, ah, yes, but that's CREH-ps, Regis, CREH-ps, not CRAYPES. Crepes Suzette."
"Of COURSE it is!" Regis slapped a hand on his thigh. "HOW could I be so SILLY?"
"It's an understandable mistake," Frasier said. "See, many people don't realize that crepes were first produced--"
"Of COURSE they don't!" Regis whooped, slapping his hand again. "But you know how to play the game, you know the lifelines, so if you're ready -- LET'S PLAY!"
The lights did their switchy thing, and Regis locked eyes with Frasier. "Okay, for one HUNDRED dollars, here's the question. Kenyan, Colombian, and Sumatra are well known types of what hot beverage? Is it--"
Frasier cut him off with a satisfied smirk. "It's coffee, Regis. And, before you ask, yes, I think I can safely make that my final answer."
Regis widened his eyes. "And, you're RIGHT! For one HUNDRED dollars! The answer was C: Coffee!"
"Of course it was," Frasier said. "Even the most unsophisticated cafephile knows the difference between a dark, pungent Kenyan and a rich, full bodied Sumatra brew."
"They sure DO!" Regis said. "So let's move on! Ready for the TWO HUNDRED dollar question, FRASIER CRANE?"
"I believe I am," Frasier said, shooting the audience a grin and rubbing his hands together. "Let's hope it's something a little more challenging, shall we?"
Regis sneezed. "And here we go! Which 19th Century novel opened with the famous line, 'It was a dark and stormy night'? Was it A) Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 'Paul Clifford,' B) John Pendleton Kennedy's 'Swallow Barn,' C) Russell Lowell's 'The Vision of Sir Launfal,' or D) William Cullen Bryant's 'Thanatopsis'?"
The other contestants tittered. Frasier shifted in his chair.
"Well," Frasier said. "That's a very interesting question."
"Come ON, Doc!" Queen Latifah hollered from the peanut gallery. "Even I know this one!"
"As do I," Frasier said. "But we mustn't be too hasty."
"Dude, it's two hundred dollars," grumbled Lance Bass. "Come on, you want me to help you?"
Frasier turned around. "I most assuredly do NOT need your assistance, young....crooner."
"Would you like to use a lifeline?" Regis asked. "Got three left."
"I hardly need a lifeline for a question so academic. The answer is obviously...hrmm." Frasier muttered something and swiped his hand across his mouth.
"What was that, FRASIER CRANE? I'm sorry, I didn't hear your answer."
Frasier looked at the answers again. "Of course," he said. "The answer is B. Swallow Barn."
"Final answer?" Regis looked dubious.
Frasier took a breath. "Indeed. Swallow Barn. B."
The squawking dead sound happened again, and the lights went out and on and out. "NO!" Regis hollered, sounding triumphant. "I'm SORRY!"
"'PAUL CLIFFORD'!" The other contestants shouted in unison. Sam Seaborn snorted.
"So you're a SOUTHERN boy, Mr. SAMUEL NORMAN SEABORN! FAN-tastic!" Regis reached across the blocky console to grip Sam's hands in his.
"No, I'm from California," Sam said.
"Well, says here you went to DUKE, how 'bout those BLUE DEVILS, eh? I saw a hell of a GAME down there last year!"
From somewhere, Casey McCall hiccuped. Dan shushed him.
"I did my graduate work at Duke," Sam said.
Regis scratched his forehead with four fingers and peered up at the teleprompter. "That's right, that's right!" It sounded like Sam had won something for his good guess. "Undergrad at PRINCETON then, huh? What, what, you're one of those POCKET-PROTECTOR fellows?"
"Princeton, class of 1982," David Duchovny said from the audience, pointing to his chest with both thumbs. Someone cheered; someone else shouted "Go Cornell!" and Casey McCall hiccuped again.
"Yeah, I was class of '90," Sam said.
"Very good! VERRRY good!" Regis whooped. "You should have no problem with the questions HERE, then. My GOD, all the BRAINS in this room, I can't BELIEVE it! You'd think this was COLLEGE-edition Who Wants to be a Millionaire, my GOD! You feel CONFIDENT, then?"
"I'm ready when you are, Regis," Sam said.
"Fan-TASTIC!" Regis said again. "You know the rules, you know the lifelines, so LET'S PLAY!"
Sam breezed through "Namibia" and "Motorola" and "flying squirrel" and "theramin" and "Purim" without a single lifeline. 77% of the audience gave him "Hank Hill," and then he was at $125,000 and they'd returned from a commercial break and his water jug had been refilled. Regis looked very proud.
"One HUNDRED twenty-five THOUSAND dollars and TWO lifelines intact, Sam Seaborn! HOLY MOLEY I think you're gonna make it!"
Sam nodded a couple times. "I feel good," he said. "I don't usually win things. Actually, that's not true at all. I always win things. Well, I often win things. If intelligence is required, I frequently win things. Sometimes I lose."
"RIGHT!" Regis said. "Absolutely. So you're ready to go?"
"Let's hear it," Sam said. The lights went boom-boom-boom and the background music changed tempo, or something. Regis read.
"For ONE HUNDRED twenty five thousand dollars! Which of the following foods does 'Nsync heartthrob Lance Bass hate? Is it A) Cheesecake, B) Turnips, C) Grape Jelly, or D) Mushrooms?"
The room went quiet. Sam swiveled around to look at Lance Bass. Lance Bass shrugged.
"Don't look at me," Lance Bass said. "I've got no idea."
Sam scrinched his forehead and looked dubious. "I should probably use the 50/50. Since everyone likes grape jelly."
"I know I do," Regis said. "Can't get enough of that GRAPE JELLY! So, computer, why don't you go ahead and take away two of the wrong answers, leaving one incorrect answer along with the FOOD LANCE BASS HATES."
The computer did its thing, and "Turnips" and "Mushrooms" sat side by side on Sam's monitor.
"Well, THAT was no help," Regis said, helpfully. Sam agreed.
"I can't stand turnips," David Duchovny said. Sam didn't care.
"Neither can I," Queen Latifah said. "Those things stink. I can't stand mushrooms, either, though."
"I like a certain kind of mushroom," Dana Carvey said, rolling his eyes in their sockets. Frasier seemed fascinated.
"Oh, shiitake?" Frasier asked. "We must exchange recipes."
"We must," Dana Carvey said.
Sam groaned. "If I get this wrong, I drop back to $32,000. I lose $32,000."
"If you get this wrong, SAM SEABORN, you lose THIRTY-TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS," Regis confirmed. "So what do you think?"
Sam looked at Lance Bass again, but Lance had found something fascinating under his thumbnail and was playing with it in the blue light of his Fastest-Finger monitor.
"I'd better phone a friend," Sam said. "Though I think I have the wrong sort of friends."
"Now, Sam Seaborn," Regis said. "Do you think we could get the President of the UNITED STATES here on the phone to help you out? Come on. He's a smart guy."
"Maybe if it was a economics question," Sam said. "Or something about yams or polo or the world's most obscure palindromes. Or the life-cycle of the pigeon. Unfortunately, I don't think President Bartlet's got much knowledge in the way of Lance Bass's likes and dislikes."
"SHAME!" Regis said. "I'll bet our friends at AT&T would have LOVED to place THAT call."
"I want to get this right, Regis," Sam said, studying the answers. "Let's have your friends call Joshua Lyman."
"My friends?" Regis looked confused. "OH! My friends at AT&T! And who's Josh Lyman?"
Duchovny and Frasier both cleared their throats, and Lance Bass looked up from his thumb. "Just some guy," Sam said with a grin. "He thinks he knows everything, though."
"Just some guy," scoffed Frasier to Duchovny, who scoffed back, "Just some upper-level White House staffer, that's all."
Regis' friends came through, and, from somewhere, Josh picked up. "Hello?"
"Hello JOSH! This is Regis Philbin from ABC's Who WANTS To Be A Millionaire!"
"Oh, hey Regis," Josh said.
"I've got your friend SAM SEABORN here, and he's got a REAL tough question, going for $125,000. He says you know everything, so you think you can help him out?"
"I said he thinks he knows everything," Sam said, but Regis was busy.
"I do know everything," Josh said. "And absolutely. Let's do it."
"You hear that, folks?" Regis laughed. "The guy knows EVERYTHING! So let's do it!"
The clock started ticking, and Sam read the question to Josh.
"Lance Bass, huh?" Josh said.
Josh sighed. "You really said I know everything?"
"Twenty seconds, Josh."
"You're very sweet, you know that?"
"Eighteen seconds. Mushrooms or turnips?"
"Lance Bass is a hottie," Josh said. "His birthday is May 4th. He's going to be twenty-two, can you believe it? That little kid? I want to kill him."
Lance Bass sat up a little straighter.
"Twenty-two years old, Sam," Josh said. "That's how old you were when I met you, remember? You were a hottie too."
"Nine seconds, Josh," Sam said. Regis shrugged, loudly.
"That's how old you were when I fell in love with you," Josh drawled. "Twenty-two years old. Cocky as hell. Totally gorgeous. Scary smart. Made me feel like a dumb old man."
Sam shot the panel a look of panic, but Duchovny seemed distracted and Lance Bass looked as scared as Sam was.
The clock ran out and buzzed, and Josh went away.
No one looked surprised when Sam decided to cut his losses, take the $64,000 and return to the audience to hide.
"I've lost control of my ass," Dan Rydell said. "I think my ass has actually fallen asleep."
Kathie Lee tittered.
"WELL!" Regis shouted, slapping his hands down on his legs.
Casey elbowed Dan for more room on the hot seat. "You've lost control of your ass? Do you usually HAVE control of your ass?"
"Not as such, no, but I can usually feel it, whereas now, I cannot. As I said before, I think it has fallen asleep. Or perhaps gone into a coma." Dan planted a hand on the flatscreen monitor and turned to look behind him, checking to see if his ass was even there.
"DANIEL RYDELL!" Regis called.
Danny looked immediately meek. "Yes, sir."
Regis put a hand out like a karate chop. "Tell us about the charity you and your partner are playing for TONIGHT!" Hi-YAH!
"Regis, I put a lot of thought into this," Dan said seriously.
"WE put a lot of thought into it," Casey corrected him.
"No, mostly I thought about it and you made paper airplanes."
Casey nodded. "That's true."
Danny nodded. "It's like I said, my friend, I put a lot of thought into this. There was of course the Oneonta Children's Fund, which is dedicated to providing the children of Oneonta, New York, with equipment for extracurricular activities like music or sports."
"And what a WORTHY CAUSE that is!" Regis exclaimed.
"But we can't forget the good people of Sequim, Washington, who need money to build a new library," Dan continued. "Their old one was flooded."
Regis looked contrite. "What a SHAME!"
"I also received a very touching letter from a group in Murray, Kentucky, that will be travelling to Burkina Faso this summer to help build houses and give the children immunizations."
"I'm sure that's VERY important!" Regis agreed.
"I think you mean 'vaccines,'" Casey said to Dan.
"That's what I said," Danny said.
"No, you said 'immunizations,' which means the act of rendering immunity or the state of being immune. A vaccine is the agent that can bring about immunization, but actually--"
"Dan RYDELL, Casey MCCALL, let's play WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE!" Regis announced somewhat desperately.
"That's what I said," Dan mumbled.
"FOR five hundred THOUSAND dollars," Regis pressed on, "THIS is your question: WHERE will Super Bowl XXXVII be held? A) Dallas, Texas B) San Francisco, California, C) Miami, Florida or D) New Or-a-lee-ahns, Louise-e-anna?"
"San Francisco!" Danny and Casey both shouted.
"Is that your FINAL answer?" Regis asked with a huge fake wink.
"REGIS, you FREAK!" Danny yelled, falling off the hot seat.
"Yes, Regis, that's our final answer," Casey said, scooting over to take the whole chair.
Regis punched the air. "San FRANCISCO it is!" The music made a congratulatory thumpy noise and the lights swirled.
"I can't feel my ASS," Danny said, feeling his ass. Rosie and Duchovny made wolf whistles from the audience. Frasier looked annoyed.
"Well I'll BE!" Regis said, looking at the scoreboard as if he'd just shown up in this game and was trying to figure out what was going on. "We're at the million dollar QUESTION!"
"We rule," said Casey.
"Move over," said Dan, pulling himself back up into the chair.
"And with one lifeline LEFT!" Regis clucked his tongue and shook his head and widened his eyes and waved his hands around and altogether looked spasmatic. "I'll BE damned. And you're SPORTSCASTERS!"
Dan looked at Casey. "Is he insulting us?" Casey nodded. "Marvelous," Dan said. "We'd like to try for a million dollars, Regis."
"Bring it on," Casey twanged, rubbing his hands together.
"All RIGHT! For one MILLION dollars for your charity, AND the distinction of being the ONLY celebrity guests to ever reach the million dollar mark, LET'S PLAY!"
"There are two of them," Duchovny pointed out, pointing. "It's an advantage."
"In their case, I'd say it's a handicap," Frasier muttered.
"Is he insulting us?" Casey asked Dan. Dan nodded.
"For one MILLION dollars!" Regis said again. "According to the 2000 Census, what percent of the population was born in their current state of residence? Is it A) 67% B) 88% C) 61%, or D) 73%?"
Sam Seaborn said "HA!" really loudly and then sat back down again and said "Ha!" more quietly.
"Want to share?" Dan looked at Sam.
"Not really," Sam said, with a shit-eating grin. "I'm okay."
"We gotta call Jeremy," said Casey.
"We don't have much choice," agreed Dan.
"You want to call JEREMY?" Regis was happy to be involved again. "And who's JEREMY?"
Dan looked at Casey, and then at Sam. "Just some guy," Dan said.
Regis squeaked. "All you CRAZY people with your CRAZY friends! So, AT&T? You want to get Jeremy on the line?"
AT&T did. Regis did his thing, and then the clock started going round and Casey slapped a hand over Dan's mouth and read the question. Dan bit him.
"The 2000 Census, right?" Jeremy asked. "Not '96."
"2000," said Casey.
"Whatever it is, it's off by a margin of error practically great enough to make this data insignificant."
Sam squeaked, and then yelled "Ya!" and sat back down again.
"Do you know the answer, Jeremy?" Dan asked. The clock said sixteen seconds.
"I know that over 17 million people reported on this last census speak Spanish at home. That's up two hundred thousand from the 1990 report. Can you believe it?"
"I can," Casey said.
"Nine seconds, Jeremy," Dan said.
"What was the question, again?" Jeremy asked.
"Born in the state they live in now," said Casey.
"What percent," said Dan.
"Three seconds," said Casey.
"Oh!" Jeremy sounded like he just now realized he was being timed. "Sixty-seven point one percent."
"You sure?" asked Casey, but Regis' friends had hung up on Jeremy.
"Of course he's sure," said Dan.
"He'd better be sure," Casey said.
"67.1%," Dan pointed at the monitor, "is 'A.' We want 'A,' Regis."
"Are you sure?" Regis oozed, raising his eyebrows and looking surprised.
"We're sure!" Dan snapped.
"But are you sure?" Dana Carvey asked, imitating either President Bush or Johnny Carson.
"How about telling us the answer, Regis," Casey suggested, one hand on Danny's arm.
"The ANSWER?" Regis repeated. "The answer. IS 'A'!" he shouted, throwing his arms into the air. The room played a winning song. Sam Seaborn made a yipping noise.
Dan and Casey tried to stand up and hug each other at the same time and they both fell out of the hot seat and onto the glass platform, with Danny landing on top of Casey.
Regis was smiling like a toothpaste commercial. "CASEY and DANIEL, you have won a MILLION DOLLARS for your charity!"
On the floor, Casey had his hand on Dan's ass and was saying, "You know, I can feel your ass."
"I can feel you feeling my ass," Danny said, pushing a knee between Casey's legs.
"You're cured!" Casey giggled.
"I'm REGIS PHILBIN!" Regis shouted.
"No, I'm Regis Philbin!" Dana Carvey announced, taking Regis' seat.
"And I'm Dan Rydell," Dan said. "On top of Casey McCall," Casey said.
"And THIS has been CELEBRITY WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE!" Regis yelled. "Good night!"