📺 WATCH YOUR "FRIENDS" ESCAPE
There's something very addicting about escape room shows.
Often times, because there is a higher budget involved, the room(s) featured are extravagantly built. The puzzles, because they are actively monitored by a huge crew of behind-the-scene folks, and not necessarily automation needed, can get quite creative.
(But please take note, I said creative, not difficult. They are built for celebrities after all, who are not obsessed like us escape room junkies!)
The NBC Red Nose Day special episode of "Celebrity Escape Room" featured some big names celebs indeed.
Jack Black, the devious game master ▪ NBC
Hosted by the mischievous and delightfully evil Jack Black, this nostalgia packed escape game saw familiar faces like Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow of "Friends" fame (love 'em!), Ben Wyatt from "Parks & Rec" (the charming Adam Scott), and of course, BEN STILLER!
How did they fare?
Let's just say, I yelled hard at my screen, and with the exception for de facto leader Monica Geller and her slight OCD personality, everyone else needed more practice. As entertainers, however, they all aced it.
📺 THE VERY BEST PRODUCTION
It's a friggin' NBC prime time special; of course no expanse was spared. John Hammond would've been proud.
I wasn't surprised at how good the set and the many rooms looked. But the overall theme, design, and execution were all impeccable. (Knowing this was partnered with the people behind 60Out, I guess it's well expected!)
Super neato 80s room ▪ NBC
Arguably, most of these celebs rose to their fame in the 80s, and appropriately so, they started off in a bedroom just completely littered, I mean, splattered, with this decade's reference.
I can still hear Madonna's voice singing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-un" in my head for some reason. I am not even sure they played that song during the special... I don't think so. But it fits!
From there on, they would advance onto the school's locker room, then the gymnasium where their prom was taking place, and finally taking the stage as karaoke-ing Prom Royalties.
It's back to the high school locker room for these four ▪ NBC
A very satisfying narrative. Again, one word: nostalgia.
And each transition from one room to the next was every bit delicious as the sets themselves. One particular segue involving balloons was EXPLOSIVE!
It caught me by surprise. Them four, too.
I am so jelly. I want that in a room I can play in!
WHOA! ▪ NBC
And I was so glad that all 4 participants were able to discover the many, many Easter eggs sprinkled throughout, all inspired by their personal lives and careers in the industry.
My personal favorite was the yellow decorative frame from "Friends", aka the peep hole frame from Monica's apartment. You can hear it from Courteney Cox's voice, too. She misses her alter ego, I am sure.
I wonder if there were more that didn't make it on air?
And all this topped with Jack Black's signature devious game proctoring? The package is, *chef's kiss*, complete to perfection.
📺 PUZZLES RANKING
By my count, there were 11 "puzzles" in these four actors' escape journey. Some resemble the ones we see in escape rooms typically, some are flat out made for TV only. None of them is particularly difficult, one should note.
Here's how I would rank them, from "worst" to best:
11: Photo Bulletin Board
It wasn't that it was bad, just that it was too simple. Arranging 4 photos on a bulletin board in a certain order was basic escape room 101. It was the first puzzle after all. Just a warm up for the players.
10: Rubik's Cube Table
Another intro filler. It wasn't particularly challenging nor was it fun to watch for the audience. Was Rubik's Cube huge in the 80s? If so, brownie points for an era appropriate game.
Can you tell who's a big Beastie Boys fan? ▪ NBC
09: Beastie Boys Karaoke
A great ending note for the show. Awesome to watch, awesome to ''play", awesome for fans of the band, not that special as a "puzzle". But fighting for your right to party is indeed crucial for all high schoolers.
08: Floor Tile Jigsaw
The discovery of the puzzle itself was interesting. I love how you see a checker pattern on the floor in an escape room, it usually means "Puzzle Time!" The jigsaw itself was a bit trite. Jack Black's face was a treat. I do enjoy how the solution leads to the next puzzle as a clue, though.
07: Picture Time
The solution was literally taking a picture. It, however, ranks this high because of the subsequent trigger for the room transition. The next room was right there the whole time?! Smart, game dev, smart.
A little bit of (or a lot of) Monica came out ▪ NBC
06: Janitor's Office
One of those "tasking" action based puzzle that we would actually get to do in a physical escape room. I thought it was done just right. Its simplicity was enjoyable, though unable to help it climb higher on this list.
05: Time For Prom
Another action based puzzle, but this one took a little bit of observation and analysis before reaching the conclusion. A solid contender for future implementation in a new 60Out rooms, I'd hope.
The scene from the trailer ▪ NBC
04: Simon, DDR Style
This wasn't so much brain work but pure memorization, embellished by eye catching colors and adrenaline inducing physicality. I am sure this would be a clear winner if we enthusiasts were given a chance to play in real life.
03: M&M's Champagne
Finally, the top 3 are actually very respectable puzzles that I can easily see being done in escape rooms across the world, if not already in existence! The multiple steps in this M&M sponsored challenge exposed how celebs have difficulties mixing colors. Priceless!
02: Trophies & Jackets
This is an actual puzzle that I can see very easily translated into a physical room setting. A little bit of video broadcast, some trophies to examine, then distribute jackets in the correct pre-determined order (perhaps by weight in design terms). Very thoroughly thought out and realized. Very nice!
Mascot Bulldog looks angry! ▪ NBC
01: Mascot & Lockers
Honestly, number 1 and 2 spots could switch, and it'd still make sense. But this first place holder took it home for me with mandatory mascot costume wearing and the resulting black light activation. (Do people not know what this is called?) Personal connections in the clues also made it very precious.
Can you imagine, one day, you walk into an escape room, and the clues are tailored to your own personal life? If that isn't #goals, I dunno what is.
📺 OTHER RANDOM THOUGHTS
◘ I have to say, Adam Scott, who always struck me as some type of nerdy genius, did not perform as well as I thought he would. It's a shame.
◘ Conversely, never had I been so proud to identify the most with Monica Geller all my life. Courteney Cox really showed everyone who's boss in this challenge. She was, by a great lead, the fastest at solving several puzzles.
◘ Was Ben Stiller holding back? He should do better than that...
◘ Lisa Kudrow embraced her Phoebe Buffay's kookiness to the max. Once a Phoebe, always a Phoebe. Not much help at escaping the rooms, though.
Plugging his new fragrance, "Billionaire's Ponytail" ▪ NBC
◘ Other celebrity cameos on Jack Black's monitor screens were cute, but the best went to talk show queen and true American Idol Kelly Clarkson. She was charismatic and was actually part of a puzzle herself!
◘ I CRAVE FOR MORE! NBC, do more of this! Ratings will go through the roof, I bet! (What a great way to raise funds for a worthy cause--I might have watched the show late, but I definitely donated now, too! DONATE HERE.)
◘ If you haven't seen this yet, currently, I could find the entire special available on YouTube. Catch it while you can, before it gets taken down!
Instagram @EscapeMattster ▪ Facebook.com/EscapeMattster
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted images from "Celebrity Escape Room" from NBC. We are making such materials available under fair use doctrine of copyright law, in an effort to advance interests for the program, the escape room industry, and donations for the Red Nose Day cause.