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You Ben Panced

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You Ben Panced is a fictional game show created as a story for an episode of Cow and Chicken, first aired in May 5, 1999. The shows' name is based on American slang for being "cheated". Recurring character The Red Guy, taking on the persona of Benjamin (Ben) Panced, challenged contestants to complete three tasks in a short time frame to avoid forfeits and win "big money", but that were generally impossible to accomplish, especially in the time given. The episode makes a number of in-jokes to popular game-shows of the time.

Gameplay[edit]

Four contestants play in each show. One by one, each is called up by host Ben Panced (who, despite asking them to introduce themselves at the start of the show, merely refers to them as "Contestant number X" during the game). The contestant is given three random tasks to complete; then the host would set and start an alarm clock, informing them they only had three seconds to complete all the tasks. If any contestant succeeded, the whole team would share a prize fund described as Ben Panced's Life Savings, which was kept in an oversized piggy bank in the back of the set.

Inevitably the contestant would fail, due to the time being insufficient to finish even a single task, or the contestant not even making a start due to many tasks being considered so unusual by them. As a result, the contestant was declared to have failed and were given a forfeit. To decide what the forfeit would be, the contestant span a wheel called "the penalty wheel", which was effectively a modified Wheel Of Fortune mounted vertically; and spun by pulling a cable. Rather than monetary amounts (although some spaces DID still show money - the purpose of these were never explained), many of the spaces were replaced with silly tasks - such as eating candy or chocolate - and whichever the single pointer touched when the wheel stopped was declared to be that contestant's forfeit, usually with the host making a quip at the expense of the contestant after questioning the forfeit or suggesting it was something they'd like.

Should a contestant refuse to play the game when called by the host, they will be eliminated there and then and also forced to spin the penalty wheel. Although any contestant can win for the whole team, if all four fail their tasks, they all leave with nothing.

Story[edit]

Spoiler warning: this section may contain major plot or ending details.

Host Ben Panced (really the Red Guy from numerous other Cow and Chicken episodes), devises the show as a way to make himself money, since he's actually completely broke. Reusing a studio and set pieces from former game shows (the show contains numerous props from Wheel of Fortune, among other game-show references throughout the fifteen-minute animation), he tries to create the "illusion" of a Big Money game show by using a gigantic piggy bank as a prop piece and claiming it is filled with "Ben Panced's life savings", which is the prize for the winner. He also provides his own voice-over using a studio microphone outside the set and disguises himself as a cheerleader during the shows' first minute as an "opening", before quick-changing off-set into his host's costume.

You Ben Panced is deliberately cheap; and Chicken is incredibly cynical about the show throughout the episode, saying he is "only here because my parents made me be here".

After seeing Flem and Earl (who play the first two contestants) failing incredibly stupid tasks and getting set pointless forfeits, Chicken refuses to play himself even after prompting from Ben to "come on down" (a The Price is Right reference). Ben becomes annoyed and declares that Chicken also has to spin the penalty wheel for refusing to play.

When Cow, as the final contestant, is set tasks including "suspend a truck above your head" and "speak fluent Spanish" an idea forms in Chicken's head; and he shouts out to Cow who is taken by surprise at the tasks. Chicken instructs Cow to "go get SuperCow", Cow's superhero persona, who speaks Spanish. Cow leaves the set through some unseen method as the host's back is turned while he sets the alarm clock to time the attempt; and as he sets it down and wonders where Cow has gone, Cow as Supercow re-enters the studio from above, holding a truck above her and speaking Spanish. The alarm rings just as she finishes and she is declared to have won; and the host awards them with the grand prize.

When the four of them lift the piggy bank to collect their winnings, they discover it to be empty save for a single nickel; thus revealing the secret that "You Ben Panced" was not a big-money game-show after all; and that "Ben" was over-hyping the show and setting the impossible tasks to hide the deliberate cheapness. The discovery causes Chicken to exclaim "We've Ben Panced!". Ben is then shown to be sneaking off the set in an attempt to escape; but is ambushed by the four who demand an explanation. Ben eventually admits he had no money. As punishment, the four tie him to the Penalty Wheel and spin it continually with him suspended on it, making him dizzy and causing discomfort from being hit by the pointer continually until the episode's close. |}

Characters[edit]

The Red Guy as Ben Panced (host); cheerleader and opening voice-over.

Flem, Earl, Cow and Chicken as contestants.