TV Shows

Bingo Stereotypes: How Film And TV Keep Them Alive

Bingo has been a firm favourite for many game players all across the world. Having been around since the early 1920’s, this fun-filled group activity was originally called ‘Beano’. It is thanks to Edwin.S Lowe that this popular game is now referred to as ‘Bingo’.

What was at first just a simple way to ensure fundraising would be collected via a means of having fun and engaging with fellow Bingo game players, this game has since continued to only grow in popularity.

The thing about Bingo, though, is that it is an ever-changing game, dynamic in nature. The previously apt stereotypes of the game are quickly falling by the wayside, being replaced with a new bingo model that looks hip, young and happening.

So, I guess the first step here would be to unpack exactly what a bingo stereotype is? Once we’ve established what the stereotypical bingo game looks like, we can then take heed of the concept of how TV and film perpetuate these stereotypes and keep their stereotypical flames fanned throughout.

What is the Bingo Stereotype?

I’m sure it is quite common knowledge that Bingo was once quite synonymous with the elderly. Picture a community hall of sorts, complete with a number of tables and chairs. Seated at these tables are a number of grey-haired, rather animated individuals, each with a marker pen in hand, listening intently to the alpha-numeric item called out over the loudspeaker by the Bingo caller.

Next up in this scenario is the stereotypical winner of a bingo round, who upon having crossed out all the relevant numeric items, as called out, on their bingo grid card accordingly shouts: ‘BINGO’! Followed by a round of applause from the rest of the bingo players, and perhaps an individual or two showing their displeasure at having been so close to reaching that winning ‘Bingo’ call, but didn’t quite make the winning mark.

There are countless movies, TV series, sitcoms and even perhaps video games that perpetuate this bingo playing stereotype. It is still to be seen where the presently more popular mode of bingo gameplay, via online avenues, will be shown in TV and film mediums. Playing bingo at a well-known bingo site like mFortune is fast becoming the norm, and may very well be the stereotype in years to come, but for now – we’re still being fed the notion that all bingo players are old and all bingo gameplay occurs at bingo halls.

Below is a list of popular TV and film scenes that have ensured this stereotypical viewpoint of bingo playing has remained intact:

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
    This sitcom, starring Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld and many other hilarious sitcoms, showcases the bingo stereotype in one episode where Larry plays bingo with his father.
  • Bad Grandpa
    This movie, brought to us by Jackass producers, starring Johnny Knoxville, takes us into a scene of bingo where the main character causes all kinds of havoc during the stereotypical bingo gameplay.
  • Hotel Transylvania
    Even children’s movies cannot escape the stereotyped portrayal of how bingo has been played.
  • Better Call Saul
    The knock-off series based on the shady lawyer character, Saul from the ‘Breaking Bad’ series is also another example of how TV keeps fueling the flames of the bingo playing stereotype.

Thanks to these movies and TV shows, bingo as it is today is not being given its full appreciation. That is to say, the way that bingo is making a huge comeback and appealing to all manner of game players, regardless their age or demographic, means that in the not too distant future, the TV and film portrayal of bingo playing will need to reflect the current status quo. The fact that bingo is actually easily accessible via any online gaming portal, and that the bingo player is looking a lot younger than the stereotyped bingo player of yesteryear is something that we want to see being shown in TV and film going forward.

We’ll keep watching this pace, as it will be a novel experience, indeed, to sit down and watch a film that has a bingo player enjoying their best bingo game on their mobile device while on the move. Sans grey-haired bingo player, sans bingo hall, sans stereotypes altogether.

By Kait

Kait is a New Englander, a YA book and adaptation lover, and a Slythindor, as well as a red velvet and red wine enthusiast. She likes to like things. Catch her on Twitter: @kaitmary