Meredith Mickaliger may have studied English in college, but the Riverhead native’s favorite new language is “Pyramid.”
When talking with her mom on the phone, she may chime in with the answer “Things your mother says.”
At a party on Wednesday in Los Angeles, food selections were labeled with names like “Things that are salty.”
There’s a good reason. Wednesday’s event was a viewing party with Mickaliger’s friends to celebrate her appearance on “The Pyramid,” the game show once hosted by Dick Clark that was revived earlier this year by GSN (formerly Game Show Network). Mickaliger, 29, played with screen stars/cousins Nicholas and Aida Turturro, and won $2,050.
Mickaliger, 29, is a 2001 Bishop McGann-Mercy High School graduate who received her undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond and her master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University before moving to Los Angeles in 2007. She is currently the assistant director of residential education at Occidental College.
A lifelong game-show fan, Mickaliger’s new home allowed her to attend numerous audience-participation game shows, such as “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal.” While she was never called on to play at any of those, she answered a casting-call email forwarded to her by her aunt to in June to try out for “Pyramid.”
“She forwarded to me because it said they were looking for energetic, outgoing people who like word games,” said Mickaliger, whose favorite college pastimes included playing games such as Taboo and Catchphrase with friends.
Following a couple of tryouts, Mickaliger taped the episode at the end of July. (The portion of the show where host Mike Richards remarked that Mickaliger and Turturro both happened to be wearing leopard-print shoes ended up on the cutting-room floor.) Mickaliger earned a pair of $500 prizes by going 7-of-7 once in each of her Round 1 games with Nick and Aida Turturro as her partners. She made it to the “Winner’s Circle” with Aida Turturro, best known for her role as Tony Soprano’s sister, Janice, on the HBO mob series “The Sopranos.“
In the Winner’s Circle, Mickaliger earned an additional $1,050, coming up with clues for Turturro to answer.
There, Mickaliger said she “blanked” trying to come up with clues to the answer “Famous Clowns.” She swears she doesn’t suffer from coulrophobia — the fear of the face-painted circus performer.
“[Richards said] when I saw the answer I scrunched up my face,” Mickaliger said. “He was like, ‘Do you have an aversion? Because when that came up you were like, ‘No!’ "