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The family that plays together feuds together

Having been taped for an upcoming episode of Family Feud Canada, an Elmira resident and her family are awaiting an airdate … and the chance to see how the real-life experience translates to the television screen.

“It was amazing!  From beginning to end, the whole audition process, through to the taping – it was awesome, it was so fun. It let us really just express who we were as a family and they just kept hyping it up all the time while we were there. A big highlight was meeting Gerry Dee in person,” said Connie Maier of her experience.

The family went to tape their episode in mid-November, eager to see how they stacked up against previous winners of the game show.

“It is really competitive and it’s kind of fast-paced. Our family happens to be a really competitive family. We love to do everything to the extreme, be it sports or strategy games or Euchre tournaments. We were prepped that way, but when you’re in the moment, against another family live, it’s a bit distracting because you’re distracted by being in the studio and all the excitement of that – your brain is on overdrive, just trying to think of getting answers in the moment that will be on the board.”

Connie’s niece, Stacy Keller, arranged the team, which included her husband Mark, Connie’s sister Jackie, and Connie’s nephew Matt Sparra. Connie noted they have a large family but was happy to be nominated by Stacy as an alternate. After a new member of their family was born, Connie was called in to replace the new father and help her family take a shot at the $30,000 grand prize.

“We’re all super-competitive and high energy,” noted Maier. “I was surprised how many tapings they do,  like four tapings a day, and [they] said over the course of one season they need 130 families. I was surprised it was that many.”

A national game show, Family Feud draws families from across the country. Host Gerry Dee first rose to prominence as a comedian who later starred in his own TV show, Mr. D, a program Maier watched regularly.

“Meeting Gerry Dee was my highlight. The game was super fun, but because I had geeked out so much on his show prior, and I’ve seen some of his YouTube videos – he’s a comedian who used to be a teacher and I used to be a teacher as well. I just found it hilarious the way that he would talk about teaching –when we first arrived, I saw him backstage just as I was heading over to the washroom. I was able to get a selfie with him real quick before he went back out. I was fan-girling on him but the game itself was really fun too,” said Maier.

The locals were chosen for a spot on the show because of their family-orientated, competitive team spirit.

“They really want your personality and who you are as a family; the reason this team was pulled together was because we do an annual holiday every year where we rent cottages together, and we’ve done it for over 40 years. It started with my parents’ generation, and now it’s been passed down to my generation and my kids’ generation.  The real thing that binds us together as a family is that week that we do a holiday for all these extreme sports and extreme competitive games – that’s what they really pulled out of us while we were on the show, just sort of the family value that we have of spending time together.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the audition process and taping were a little different than usual. Maier and her family were auditioned through Zoom. Once on set, the family was happy to see it was exactly what they saw on TV.

“It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be, it actually is quite large,” she said of the set. “They had us do a rehearsal earlier on the set so we could get a feel of what it was like to actually be on the set, which was really nice.

“They kind of run through some mock up ahead of time so that you’re not just like deer in the headlights when you go in for the actual taping. They had a live audience, which was really nice to watch just like real human interaction, even though everybody was socially distant, that was fun to have some interaction with the audience as well. But it is it is exactly like it looks like,” she added.

A family watch party is set to take place, as the excited contestants have to keep their winnings or losings secret to not reveal the outcome of the future episode.

“Once we know the day we’re going to get the whole family together to watch together and we’re curious to see what did they keep? What did they take out? We’re curious to see how it all comes together. I’d highly recommend it for any family that wants to just give it a shot – throw your family name into the ring and audition. It’s a really fun process and it was really worthwhile to do.”

The air date has yet to be announced, and until then the community will have to wait to see if the local family won their round and are going on for more.

Survey says…

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

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