To The Makers Of The Price Is Right (first letter)

Dear Creators,
Your show persists because of something unwittingly radical (a something you couldn’t anticipate within the context of commercial television).
It’s continued unabated across four and a half decades, thanks in part to a lack of explicit description, explanation or naming.  People crave this unspoken gift at the heart of the show, this something that can’t be colonized, now more than ever.
It’s not about the drama of gambling, showcase thrills, vicariously winning and losing, or the equivalency of all things under capital (illustrated with each range of bids and actual retail price, conflation of Rice-A-Roni, Turtle Wax and ski-jets, gas BBQs, Ford Fiestas and bedroom sets, every reconfiguration of contestants etc).
There’s no distraction, didacticism or transgression in this something.  Each broadcast is occupied by a seamless inversion of legitimacy and marginalia instead (devoid of flash, statements or titillation).
Come on down indeed.
The everywhere all the time of market value, commodities and competition is contained within a finite carnival, chock full of random chances and absurd trivialities.  Model bodies blend with the objects they accompany.  Diverse audience members are called to play by lottery.   The unchosen cheer on the chosen.  Groups arrive by the busload wearing matching t-shirts.  Contestants hug each other ecstatically as each winner advances from the bidding row to the stage.
The coveting of possession is ritualized, removed from the everyday, theatricalized to a point of melodramatic excess, a kind of manic collective insanity.  It’s not meant to be taken too seriously.
The world outside of the show is constituted by other values and means of existence.  It’s an absent presence that spectacularizes the event.  Win or lose, contestants walk away unscathed, returning to something never rendered but obviously essential, something that has allowed them to see the situation for what it is, to enjoy it as a lark together, to take pleasure in knowing it’s just a game.
This can’t be priced and is held in common.
Perpetual consumption within The Price Is Right is posited as a dream.
With the close of each episode there’s an intimation of waking to the reality of something else.  There’s hope in that.  I’ve seen it my whole life in the eyes of others watching.
jeremy