Friday, March 02, 2007

America, Go To The Head Of The Class

While keeping my brother company tonight during his recovery, we watched part of a new game show on Fox. It's called "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" and features Jeff Foxworthy as the host. I love quiz shows - have I told you all about how I attended an open casting call in Chicago for "Weakest Link" and did quite well on the test but they didn't like the fact that my dad (sort of) works for NBC - but I simply don't think I can get behind this one. As Robbie said, this might be the first show where you qualify by failing the test.

Consider this progression: first came "Jeopardy," which requires you to actually know things and gives up to 61 clues per game, with a theoretical maximum one-day purse of a mere $566,400. Then, there was "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" (correct answer: me!). Just 15 questions, progressing in difficulty, with a $1,000,000 prize waiting at the end. Now, we have "Fifth Grader," where all you have to do to win a million dollars is answer 11 questions in categories such as "1st Grade Grammar" and "3rd Grade Astronomy." And in true "Millionaire" style you even get 3 lifelines, all various forms of help from five cute smarty-pants child actors that appear on each episode. (And I suspect they are given the answers ahead of time.)

During tonight's episode, it pained me to watch a grown man struggle to determine the suffix of "unfortunately" and a woman incorrectly guess that the number of U.S. states bordering the Pacific Ocean is 3. Astonishingly, last night's debut was the "most-watched series debut in Fox network history" and "the most popular debut of any series since 1998." Really, in 9 years there has been no series premiere more anticipated than this? Maybe the appeal is all about that final moment for each contestant after they've answered their questions and been awarded their money when they have to look into the camera and declare, "I am not smarter than a fifth grader!" That, my friends, is something to be proud of.

Confession: I must sheepishly admit that my mom, my brother, and I all had trouble with how many teaspoons are in 5 tablespoons. You would think this would be something I should know, but as someone who does not cook the last time I probably encountered this was actually in 3rd Grade Measurements. And by the way, the answer is 15.

This is a big month for our blog. Three more of us will be entering our fourth decade. Ugh. 30 doesn't sound so bad. In fact, I'm really looking forward to embracing my 30s. But fourth decade? You know what comes at the end of it, right? 40.

I was going to try the webcam again and post another in-the-moment picture, but then I realized it would look exactly like the one from Monday. Same shirt (don't worry - it saw the inside of a washing machine just this afternoon), same yellow pillow behind me. The only difference is that Jon is now on Year 2. He is particularly entertained by Scabbers. I have no idea why.


spaghettipie said...

I have to admit, I was one of the viewers who made it the most watched series debut...although it was only because it came on right after American Idol. I find the premise interesting, and the questions suprisingly more difficult than I thought (although still not hard) - but the tension/anticipation is so fake and contrived! Do you really think it will last?

Athomemom25 said...

I have watched it also. My kids absolutely love it. It is quite funny seeing adults not able to answer some of the simpler questions. I have too admit though, there were times when those 5th graders were smarter than I. I have an excuse though. I have had 5 children sucked all my brain power. They are now using what they took