It was kind of like art-imitating-life-imitating-game show.
That’s how Peggy Sue Cochran recalls that daytrip and lunch in Charleston from a couple of years back, when she told her cousins they were really there to audition for “Family Feud.”
In fact, it was pretty much like the game show itself, the way the responses came in.
And the survey says:
“You’re nuts, Peggy Sue.”
“Yeah … right.”
“NOW, you tell us.”
And the No. 1 answer:
“Of course, we’ll do it.”
Then, everyone laughed. Then, everyone went out and nailed it.
“It was funny, how we just went along,” she said.
Let’s play the ‘Feud’
You can see how they continue to get along as returning champions during Monday’s show, which will air locally on The CW/Direct TV. Check your listings for times.
Here’s some backstory, in the meantime, to get you caught up.
The Mountain State’s capital city was the one of the sites that summer for families wishing to try out for the widely popular game show.
Families — matriarchs, patriarchs, adult children, grandchildren — match up with other familial units of the same.
Everyone tries to guess the most-common responses to questions and scenarios farmed from random surveys to groups of 100 people beforehand.
Cochran, a recently retired businesswoman from Reedsville, is an unabashed fan.
It helps that the show is currently hosted by comedian and author Steve Harvey, who has a decided West Virginia connection, as he’s the son of a coal miner.
Harvey was born in Welch.
The mines went down when he was barely out of his toddler years and his dad moved the family north to Cleveland for a factory job.
Cleveland was where they lived, but not where they were from.
In the ways of ex-pat Appalachians everywhere, the patriarch always followed the country roads back to McDowell County for vacations.
“Steve called us his ‘homies,’ ” Cochran said.
The team is competing as the “Rhodes Family,” in honor of the two brothers who were patriarchs on one side of the tree.
Cochran was joined by daughter Carly Lemley, a dentist who has her own practice in Morgantown.
Another cousin on the team, Rhonda Rhodes, teaches second grade at Terra Alta/East Preston School.
Shannon Rhodes, a cousin who also teaches at Mineral Wells Elementary School, rounded out the team with her daughter, Rebecca Rhodes.
Rebecca is a communications specialist at WVU-Parkersburg. She also plays country and old-time fiddle, as generations of her family have done.
The Charleston auditions were held before the pandemic hit.
In those contagion-free days, the family was told it would soon jet to Los Angeles for its appearance.
COVID-19 changed the itinerary. Months passed during quarantining and shutdowns. The Rhodes Family was finally in the running this past May, as the show’s season was drawing down.
Tapings were shifted to the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, where the West Virginia contingent went in hot.
Color-coordinated blue and gold outfits, as a nod to WVU. Pom-poms of the same color scheme, since some of the team cheered in school.
Even a West-by-God-Virginia coonskin cap, which served as a talisman from the mountains for Cochran.
“We wanted to have fun with it, but we also wanted to represent our state well,” she said.
“In the pre-show interviews Carly talked about how West Virginians do have teeth, since she’s a dentist.”
No one got nervous, Rhonda Rhodes said. Not really.
“The staff did such a great job of putting everyone at ease,” she said.
Shows were taped four a time, with a pandemic twist, she said. Families waiting to compete filled the studio seats, which were closed to the public.
Families also had to have COVID tests at home, then in Atlanta.
And survey said … they’re not sayin’
Meanwhile, aside from that “skinny wiener” answer from an earlier show that prompted a take to the camera and some muttering by Harvey, the Rhodes Family didn’t generate anything too cringe-worthy, Cochran said.
“We did OK,” she said.
That said, though, what is the “Family Feud” fate of this particular family from the hills and hollows of the place where Harvey was born?
Cochran made just like that Charleston daytrip, in her response.
“Can’t tell ya.”
And the survey said “coy,” for Rhonda Rhodes, the teacher from Terra Alta.
“I can’t wait to see how we do.”