‘Quiz Lady,’ Hulu’s comedy film, equips a wild narrative as it follows two sisters and delves into their chaotic mission of winning a game show to save their beloved dog, Mr. Linguini. Responsible introverted Anne and her older sister Jenny, who’s a bit of a trainwreck— in a whimsical fashion— could not be more different from each other. Yet, when their mother’s gambling habits lead to the kidnapping of Anne’s dog, the two sisters are pushed back into each other’s lives. Hard-pressed for cash, Jenny comes up with the idea for Jenny to apply to her favorite trivia game show that she has been obsessed with her entire life, jumpstarting a messy journey.
The game show in question, Can’t Stop The Quiz, and its subsequent host, Terry McTeer, inform a defining feature of the film and become instrumental in the emotional arc of several characters. Since these plot elements are interwoven in the entertainment industry, viewers must be wondering if the film takes inspiration from any particular real-life game show or host.
The Game Shows That Inspired Quiz Lady’s Can’t Stop The Quiz
The game show within ‘Quiz Lady,’ Can’t Stop The Quiz, is not a real-life television show. Still, the idea holds some resemblance to multiple counterparts from reality. In the film, the show is used as a crucial plot point and progresses the Yum sisters’ relationship around every corner. At first glance, it seems like a simple, regularly broadcast trivia show with new contestants every episode.
The show is made of three rounds. The first round holds a simple question-and-answer format, while the second seems to be a “name as many as you can” test on a ticking clock. The theme of putting contestants’ knowledge about arbitrary topics to test noticeably parallels the real-life show ‘Jeopardy.’ In fact, the show actually has a deeper connection to the origin of the film as a whole.
When screenplay writer Jen D’Angelo first came up with the plot of ‘Quiz Lady,’ she partly based the idea on her brother and his interest in the TV show ‘Jeopardy.’ In an interview with ScreenRant, the filmmaker discussed the same and said, “So, my older brother is very similar to Anne in that he is a genius and just remembers literally every fact he’s ever learned. He has been obsessed with ‘Jeopardy’ his whole life. He’s tried out multiple times. He always makes it into the contestant pool but never gets the call to be on the show.”
As such, after D’Angelo’s brother served as a foundation for Anne’s character, Can’t Stop the Quiz ended up replacing ‘Jeoprady’ as the game show of Anne’s choice. The rules and the general format of the show were fictionalized to serve the narrative and allow for an emotional arc to unfold between Anne and Jenny. Thus, although Can’t Stop The Quiz may have an origin in ‘Jeopardy,’ it stands as a work of fiction.
Furthermore, in designing the perfect set for this fictional show, the filmmakers took inspiration from sets of real shows, namely ‘The Prize is Right.’ Director Jessica Yu wanted the game show to have a colorful atmosphere that would set it apart from the rest of the film. Therefore, production designer Jeff Mann pursued a “Wizard of Oz-like” vibe and visited the ‘The Prize Is Right’ set for inspiration.
Will Ferrell’s Terry McTeer
The game show host Terry McTeer from ‘Quiz Lady’ is also not based on a real person. Terry McTeer’s character remains a defining aspect of the film, given Anne’s general obsession with the man and his show, which remains an everyday ritual for the woman. Still, his character only comes into the fold once Anne arrives at the game show set, reluctantly prepared to participate.
For the most part, Terry’s character exists solely for Anne’s character development, bestowing important advice and relatable stories whenever necessary. Overall, his on-screen presence helps the viewers understand why Anne, coming from a tumultuous family life with unreliable parents, would choose him to look up to. In classic game show host fashion, Terry has a bright and friendly personality and seems to be loved by all.
Therefore, Terry’s general disposition as a charming game show host can be compared to Alex Trebek from ‘Jeopardy,’ Steve Harvey from ‘Family Feud,’ or ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’s’ Regis Philbin. While none of these individuals present a direct inspiration for Terry’s character, his show host caricature is bound to remind viewers of the same. Nevertheless, Terry McTeer remains a fictional character and has no real-life origin.