BC Crew Makes A Deal

‘Hippie’ Communication Professor Wins $800 On CBS Game Show

Posted: April 30, 2013

Bridgewater College communication professor Michele Strano was a recent contestant on CBS’ “Let’s Make A Deal.” The rare opportunity came during a 15-day trip with 46 students, which included visits to the set of Dr. Phil, Craig Ferguson, Mike and Molly, Ricky Lake, The Doctors and The Price is Right. (Photo by Timothy Schumacher / DN-R)
Wayne Brady points toward the crowd of screaming costumed contestants.
“One person. Let’s go. Who wants to make a deal?” he says. “Hippie, you right there, Michele. Hippie jester, whatever that is, that’s you.”
The tie dye shirt-wearing hippie with pink John Lennon glasses and a multicolored jester hat jumps out of her seat and does a quick dance with her arms pointed in the air before walking to the stage.
“Hello Michele, nice to meet you,” Brady says. “What do you do for a living?”
“I am a professor at Bridgewater College in Virginia,” the hippie jester excitedly replies.
Brady sarcastically answers back, “I know where that is. It’s in Virginia.”
After a chuckle from the crowd, they get down to business.
Brady hands Michele two pink softball-sized dice.
“I will give you a $100, times the number that you roll,” the former “Whose Line Is It Anyway Star” says. “If you are really lucky, that’s $1,200 bucks, right? That would be great. Or, you can take this here envelope.”
“Oooh,” Michele says.
She looks backs at the crowd.
“We’re rolling, rolling,” she replies.
Brady opens the envelope and pulls out a certificate for a $2,500 luxury makeover from Fred Segal Salon.
“Oohs” of disappointment ring out from the crowd.
“That was a better deal, but still, cash is cash right?” Brady says. “So, roll ‘em up, Vegas-style.”
Michele blows the dice for good luck and rolls the die down a blue slide. One lands on five; the other on three.
‘Just Great Fun’
Bridgewater resident Michele Strano was a contestant on CBS’s “Let’s Make A Deal,” which aired April 23.
She attended the filming with a group of 46 Bridgewater College students as part of a three-week travel course offered by the communication department in January. The class focuses on the film industry and TV.
The 15-day trip included visits to the set of Dr. Phil, Craig Ferguson, Mike and Molly, Ricky Lake, the Doctors and The Price is Right. The group also took tours of Sony Picture Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and Universal Studios. They worked the Critic’s Choice Awards as seat fillers and escorts, and attended the People’s Choice Awards.
Strano said BC’s closeknit community made the trip fun.
“Having such good interpersonal relationships with my students and being up there and having them yell ‘Yay! Go Strano!’ and having them yell what I should do and everybody being so upbeat was just great fun. We had a great time.”
Jonathan Trejo, 21, a double major in psychology and communication, said it was exciting watching his fellow Eagles be contestants.
“It was really great seeing them win something and be on the show,” he said. “Usually, when you are sitting there in front of the TV, you don’t know anyone. You are just like ‘I hope you win’ out of human desire for your fellow man. But, when you have a friend up there, you are like ‘Aaah! Yeah! Let’s go! Pick No. 1! Pick No. 2!’ It was really great seeing that and feeling that.”
TV Will Never Be The Same
While it may seem like all fun and games, the intent of the trip was to educate students about the reality of TV. They then analyze and write papers about the experience.
Strano said the trip is designed to give students an idea of what the industry is like behind the TV screen.
“The whole thing is just about students getting out there and seeing what happens behind the scenes,” she said. “Bridgewater College puts a lot of emphasis on experiential learning in getting out in the field and applying what you learn in the classroom. This is one of the best opportunities we have in the communication department for them to go out there and do that. Otherwise, we are limited to our location and what we can get them involved with.”
Trejo said he hasn’t watched TV the same way since the trip.
“They showed us how they made different noises,” he said. “When people are walking on screen, and you hear them walking, they hire people who basically walk around in shoes on different types of floors. … Then, they edited that into the movie to give it a more lifelike experience.
“The guy told us a funny joke: ‘So, yeah, whenever you hear that sexy girl walking onscreen in high heels, you can now imagine a big, burly tough man wearing dainty little heels on a cement floor.’ ”
Behind The Scenes
Strano said Let’s Make a Deal is one of the better run game shows she’s attended.
“I thought this show did a particularly good job of being polite and upbeat,” she said. “It was one of the better ones to wait for.”
The group had to arrive four hours before filming.
“There was a lot checking of ID’s and signing papers, and moving from one holding area to the other,” Strano said.
Once they finally got checked in, they were seated in a big room.
“[The producers] talked about how they are looking for you to be enthusiastic,” she said.
After the pep talk, they were put in a big line where they had to introduce themselves in costume.
“They use that [to judge] what you might be like when you’re onstage,” Strano said. “It’s just sort of funny to think you are sitting there talking to the student next to you and somebody is watching you.”
Next, they had to wait a little while longer before they were let in to the main studio to be seated.
“That’s a very deliberate process, as well,” Strano said. “They kept moving people around trying to get the right look of the crowd. That is the kind of stuff that is great for the students to really learn about the way television is put together and sort of debunk some of the reality of reality television.”

Contact Timothy Schumacher at (540) 574-6265 or tschumacher@dnronline.com.

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