2017. A lot happened that year. LeBron James averaged 27 points per game. Riverdale hit the air. The world hinged on the whims of a petty madman. And Fred Savage became the host of the ABC game show Child Support, executive produced by and co-starring Ricky Gervais. It’s funny: One minute you’re just a 41-year-old actor and director, navigating the hallways of television production studios and trading baseball cards with your friends. And the next thing you know, you’re asking adult contestants to answer 10 questions and, if they get one wrong, letting Ricky Gervais put the same question to a group of spunky 6 to 9-year-olds.
I guess that’s the day Fred Savage learned that, just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you always have the answers. Sometimes all you have is each other, plus a panel of kids and Ricky Gervais. And as Fred Savage stood there, looking at Ricky Gervais’ giggling face while those kids said the darnedest things, Fred Savage knew that he would never be the same. From now on, things would be a lot like Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?, only… different.
Oh sure, Child Support would still be its own variation on a familiar intellectual property, and he’d still be Fred Savage, directing episodes of shows like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Modern Family, occasionally starring in series like The Grinder, and playing touch football in the lot behind Mrs. Stempel’s house. But something had changed that day—something big, whether he recognized it or not.
Maybe that was when Fred Savage realized that becoming a game show host isn’t like a series of trivia questions that you can just make someone else answer for fun and prizes while Ricky Gervais makes cheeky quips in the background. Pretty soon you learn we all have to answer them together, because that trivia—the little stuff—those are really the moments that matter. And when the show is over, there are no winners and losers. Not really. There’s just the players who stepped up to the plate and gave it their all, in the game called “life.”