It isn’t every day that you see a Winters face on television, but Lauren Atherton’s appeared on the Game Show Network’s “Idiotest” program, which aired on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
How does one get onto a game show? Well, it helps if you have a friend to recruit you. Atherton says her friend and fellow flight attendant, Kareena Goodwin, was selected for the show first after entering herself into the Game Show Network’s database. She was called for “Idiotest,” and went to the audition with another friend. Although the Game Show Network gave Goodwin the thumbs up, her friend got the thumbs down.
“They told her, ‘Do you have anybody else in mind,’ and she said yes and that’s when she texted me,” says Atherton. “Kareena texted me out of the blue: Hey, do you want to be on a game show?’”
Atherton says she said “Yes” immediately, without even asking for more details. Goodwin’s second choice was met with network approval, and then off it was to the network studio, where they participated in a mock show, solving puzzles while executives watched their reactions “to see if they have that energy they’re looking for.”
The actual recording day was rather long and boring, admits Atherton.
“It was a big day-long event,” she says, marked by boredom while waiting, then the adrenaline rush of competing, and the moment it was over, they were immediately escorted to the door.
The segment was declared “Battle of the Flight Attendants,” pitting Goodwin and Atherton against another pair of flight attendants. The winning pair (if anyone wins at all) gets $10,000. Atherton says the challenges are tricky, asking a question that is paired with a picture that’s designed to throw you off. An example is “Which spiral-bound item transports you to a new story” and shows a wall of books. Off in the corner is part of a spiral staircase, leading to the ceiling. The answer, of course, is the staircase.
Another example from the show, is the question, “What doesn’t go back and forth?” with a photo of a family swinging on a swingset. Above each person’s head, it says either “dad,” “mom,” “sis” or “bro.” The answer is “bro” because it doesn’t read the same forwards and backwards.
“The questions are super easy, but the way it’s worded and the pictures make you think more into it and confuse you,” says Atherton.
In the end, although they were enjoying a comfortable lead, Goodwin and Atherton lost to the other team in the “one on one” round.
“Kareena likes to blame me for the loss. First it’s two vs. two, and another two vs. two, then one on one — me vs. one and her vs. one. Neither of them got it right.”
Atherton says she and Goodwin were in the lead to win the $10,000, but when it came to Lauren’s one on one, she didn’t get the right answer and her opponent did, so the other team won the round. However, adds Atherton, they lost in the final round and didn’t win the money.
“That made me feel a little better,” she says with a wry smile.
The program was actually recorded on Dec. 9, and under the contract, the contestants can’t tell anyone how the show came out until it airs, only that they competed on the show. Atherton says it was pretty hard to keep that secret at first, but she had to.
That all changed on Aug. 23, when the show finally aired, and much of the Winters community knew about it, many of them via a Winters Express Facebook post. Atherton says unfortunately when the show actually aired, she was on duty as a flight attendant with SkyWest and was in the air. By the time she landed, the whole world seemed to know how things turned out.
“When I landed, I turned my phone on, and had, like, 29 notifications on Facebook — more than I got on my birthday. And my Snapchat was blowing up.”
All the local attention, from the time it was announced that she would appear on the show through the time it actually aired was “cool,” says Atherton, adding, “and then it became overwhelming.”
“The small town of Winters, where everybody knows everybody, and I’m getting all these notifications,” she says of the days before the show aired, made it suddenly seem like reality: “Like, ‘oh crap, this is happening!’”
Despite the fact that she didn’t come home $5,000 richer, Atherton says the whole experience was “definitely exciting.
“I can now check off ‘I have been on a game show.’”
Would she do it again? “Yes,” she replies without hesitation, noting that there is a mandatory two-year waiting period before she can appear on a Game Show Network program again. Apparently she’ll be welcomed with open arms by the executives, who told them, “You guys are so amazing — we want you back.”
Until Atherton makes her next game show appearance, she can be followed on Snapchat, where she says she has “some crazy stories, that can be long and annoying.” To view her stories, look for Laureniscool10.