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Claim To Fame’s girls trip over lies detected

Claim To Fame’s girls trip over lies detected
Kevin Jonas at a poker table, where the Claim to Fame players took lie detector tests (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

We’re more than halfway through Claim to Fame, and now halfway through the cast, with just six players remaining.

Of those six, the show has explicitly told us who three of them are: Amara is Whoopi Goldberg’s granddaughter, Louise is Simone Biles’ sister, and L.C. is Keke Palmer’s sister. That leaves Lark, Logan, and Pepper as unspoiled, for now.

For this week’s challenge, they received a handwritten note from the producers—how sad this show cannot even afford a printer—and then traveled all the way to the living room, where they sat at a poker table that’d been brought into the mansion.

The challenge: to ask each other questions, and see who could keep a poker face—while being attached to a lie detector.

The winner would be the person who was the least deceptive; the bottom two would be the most-deceptive players, as measured by Silent Polygraph Man and his up-or-down thumbs.

It’s a fun idea, except that polygraphs don’t work. Their results have been inadmissible in federal courts for more than 20 years, and even Amazon reviewers know they’re crap.

Vox says all polygraphs really do is measure anxiety, so that’d be a test I could pass.

What would have made this a particular interesting challenge is if the players received training about how to defeat lie detectors first, which basically involves being anxious or distressed during the control questions.

Instead, it went with treating polygraphs as reliable. “I don’t really think you can beat a lie detector,” Amara said, thereby contributing to pop culture’s role in convincing people that lie detectors work.

Okay, I’ll climb down off my anti-polygraph soapbox.

The actual challenge was to face several yes or no questions that the group chose, though only one person could ask: the person who drew the highest card.

While the cast decided on questions, the other player left the room for something labeled as the “polygraph briefing,” which I assume was Silent Polygraph Man’s administration of control questions.

There were a range of reactions to the actual test. Louise joked, “I have RBF, but that’s not going to help me.”

When L.C. was strapped in, she said, “I am shaking uncontrollably,” and later shared that she was “milliseconds away from a full-blown panic attack.”

While Claim to Fame loves to give us all the answers, the editing only showed us the polygraph administrator giving a thumbs up or down to answers we mostly already knew, like that the nun costume wasn’t Amara’s clue (she lied and said no; it was, for Sister Act). like Kai said her relative did not do stand up, but that was deemed false.

Was this exercise useful? Nope. It was a lot of time spent for not much at all.

Pepper’s relative remains elusive, and after she answered her three questions, Amara said, “I feel like I got nothing.” L.C. said something similar after Logan’s answers: “I know the same that I knew coming into this.”

Kai, who's Tiffany Haddish's sister, attached to a polygraph during Claim to Fame episode 6's challenge
Kai, who’s Tiffany Haddish’s sister, attached to a polygraph during Claim to Fame episode 6’s challenge (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC)

Because everyone already knows who Louise’s relative is, and she knows they know, she seemed like the obvious winner going into the challenge, because she had no reason to lie.

Logan told us, “If Louise wins this challenge and she gets immunity again, I will pull all of my hair out, lay in my bathtub with no water, and cry.” Alas, that was a promise he didn’t keep—or if he did, and the editing cut that out, which would be truly criminal.

Kai’s strategy was to ask Louise dumb questions to trip her up. Kai askd about farting and blaming someone else, whether she thinks Logan is attractive and vice-versa, and this: “Are you aware that your feet smell like Fritos?”

Logan called that “reckless,” but I don’t agree. Given the stupidity of the polygraph to begin with—can you tell I don’t like them?!—that seems like as good of a strategy as any to get Louise to have an anxious reaction and fail the test.

The winner was, of course, Louise, giving her immunity for the third time. Silent Polygraph Man gave Kai and Amara the biggest thumbs down, determining that they lied the most. That’s when the real drama began.

Amara wanted to be ready to be voted into the guess-off so she could call out Kai—and that’s something that L.C. told Kai. She had the support of the other players, too; Pepper said, “It’s your time” to Amara.

Amara came in during this conversation, and told Kai that she thought the answer to her clue was Tiffany Haddish. Kai did her best to dissuade Amara, pointing out that there were several funny women in Girl’s Trip, but Amara wasn’t swayed.

Tiffany Haddish, who's hosting the revival of Kids Say the Darndest Things, with Matthew
Tiffany Haddish on another ABC reality show: the revival of Kids Say the Darndest Things, with Matthew (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC)

Amara did, however, offer another path, saying “we can avoid this shit and pick somebody else in the middle,” asking Kai if she had anything on Lark.

Kai shared what she’d seen of Lark’s clue (that Brittany received). It was “Runway Queen in Eight Tees,” which is quite vague compared to others (“Quarterback for Packers,” please).

Amara misread it, however, thinking that the dice showed 11, not eight, which pointed her toward Sandra Bullock, between Miss Congeniality and Ocean’s Eight. Ironically enough, Sandra Bullock was not actually in Ocean’s Eleven, but was in Ocean’s Eight.

Lark confronted Kai about sharing her clue, and Kai was honest, saying it was “a last-minute attempt to save my own ass.” No lie detected there!

Meanwhile, Louise’s prize for winning was to get another clue, and Logan suggested Louise choose Amara’s clue to confirm Whoopi Goldberg. Louise did just that, though she insisted it was what she wanted to do.

When Louise looked at Amara’s clue, the answer immediately popped onto the screen. Hell, even Survivor didn’t do that for its kids’ game-within-the-game rebus puzzles! The answer was “Break Through Roll in Color Purr Pull.”

While Whoopi Goldberg starred in The Color Purple and won a Golden Globe, she was nominated for an Oscar alongside Oprah Winfrey. Could that be considered Oprah’s breakthrough role, too?

Hilariously and/or coincidentally, the rebus’s clue used Wikipedia’s language almost verbatim, saying the fim “stars Whoopi Goldberg in her breakthrough role” and also “Oprah Winfrey in her film debut.”

The rebus may not have delivered a challenge to viewers, but it was challenging for Louise, who sought L.C.’s help. In the kitchen. So Amara walked in on them trying to solve the puzzle. Awkward! Even more awkward was when L.C. refused to show it to Amara. Louse finally just said it was Amara’s clue, and blamed Logan.

Amara confronted Logan, kind of, and he lied and said that he suggested Louise get her clue “so nobody else can get it.”

Logan told us that his real “plan is to let the girls fight with each other, eat each other,” which is all language I wish he’d reconsidered.

At the guess-off, which was far less dramatic than usual, the players voted Amara as the guesser, just as she wanted, and she chose Kai, and correctly identified her as related to Tiffany Haddish.

Kai revealed herself to not be Kai at all, but Jasmine English, a game designer and sister of Tiffany Haddish.

Next week, Claim to Fame is getting rid of immunity, perhaps meaning it’ll be another less-dramatic elimination, especially if a player chooses Louise. Perhaps we’ll soon be down to players whose relatives none of us know, making the game a little less obvious to everyone.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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Happy discussing!


Tuesday 16th of August 2022

I already know who’s relatives are Pepper, Lark and Logan (or at least I think I do ha)


Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

@Andy Dehnart, on-screen clues and a combination of podcast help (RHAP does a nice podcast where they theorize about the clues)


Wednesday 17th of August 2022

@Andy Dehnart, Lark's face/hair reminds me of someone I had a crush on as a kid (in the late 80s), and Logan is from a location my sister lived in and has somewhat marketed his career as connected to his relative.

Andy Dehnart

Tuesday 16th of August 2022

Ooh! Without giving it away, what led you to that? On-screen clues? Their appearance? Something else?


Tuesday 16th of August 2022

Runway queen in the 80's...Janis Dickenson, Jerry Hall, Iman, Elle MacPherson, Carol Alt, Kelly LeBrock, Paulina Porizkova.