Plot: Like millions of other people, Theodore Slauson was a huge fan of The Price is Right, but while a lot of viewers watched the show often, few paid as much attention as Theodore. As he was a math professor and had an interest in patterns, he started to see that the same products were often repeated and over time, he build a database of those price patterns. Soon he was able to know the prices of almost all the items brought out on the show, so of course, he wanted to be a contestant. He would attend numerous episodes and help the other contestants, often leading to exact bids and piles of prizes for his fellow players. But would the producers catch on to his pattern recognition and would Theodore ever have his own chance to come on down?
Entertainment Value: In the realm of game show scandals, this one is a little tame, even wholesome, but Theodore Slauson’s story is an interesting one and here, gets told in grand fashion. Slauson’s passion for The Price is Right is wild, as he not only was an avid watcher, but he made comprehensive lists of prices and even programmed his own video game version of the show. I also love that his persona is so genuine, as he seems to have gotten so much out of helping the other players and holds no ill will that none of them ever compensated him as they’d promised. The documentary goes into detail about Slauson’s system and how he developed the price patterns, while he also shares some strategies on how to guess when he was stumped. Some personal insight is offered, but for the most part this piece is about The Price is Right itself, just shown through the lens of Slauson’s passion for the program.
The movie is able to bring Slauson’s story to life in vivid fashion thanks to access to the show’s archival episodes, so we can see Slauson’s involvement first hand and see how he impacted the episodes he attended. This provides a kinetic, in the moment kind of feel that narration couldn’t achieve, so watching the actual episodes with the inside story really elevates Perfect Bid. In addition to the wealth of broadcast footage, there is also behind the scenes material shown and for fans of the show, these scenes are quite interesting to check out. Bob Barker turns up for interviews, as do others involved in the production and via podcast video, Drew Carey curses his way through a rather bitter take on Slauson’s fandom. A documentary about The Price is Right might sound odd, but this was a fun, well crafted piece.