Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Know I'm Smarter Than a 5th Grader

Now, you probably know by now that I'm not an elitist when it comes to television. My parents, being from France where television comprises only of news shows about non-celebrities like academic people and dead politicians and documentaries about ruins in countries most of us didn't even know exist, are always quite horrified when they come down to visit. I expect that they will be horrified once again when they visit us for Easter. But can I really be expected to not find out on the spot if Brooke from the Real World was finally able to get her nails done?

Because Sweetie Pie and I have one unspoken rule in our marriage: if it's on MTV, we'll watch it. Actually, I wouldn't call it a rule per se. That would be like calling breathing a rule. It's not a rule that we should breathe in and out, we just do it naturally, without even realizing we're doing so. The same goes for watching crap on MTV. If there's a snooty 16-year old having a birthday party that will cost more than our house and our two cars combined, by golly, we must know about it.

When you have such low standards for television, there's not much that offends you. There is not much that makes you say "ok, now that's freaking stupid."

And by golly, the television gods have managed to do it. I don't know if I ever thought this day would come. I kind of maybe just a little bit had the thought cross my mind during the Anna Nicole Smith Show (I know, I know, may she rest in peace, blah blah blah), but finally, the thought was able to fully form and sit in my brain, like the time I realized when I was pregnant that being a mother meant that I was going to be expected to feed the kid every day. Both of these thoughts were frightening and disturbing for different reasons.

If any of you watch American Idol, I'm sure that you were unable to avoid the myriad of commercials for "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" This question was asked over and over again, the way one might coax you to jump off a bridge with your bungee cord severed.

Since there was nothing else on at that time yesterday night, and watching Jeff Foxworthy (wearing glasses! So he must be a really smart host now) not being funny seemed like a better option than cleaning my house so that my sister, who's arriving tomorrow, won't find out how we live like swines who've given up any sense of keeping up with the pig version of the Joneses.

And so we watched as some lady was asked extremely difficult questions like "what color do you get when you mix red and yellow?" and "What country shares the world's longest border with the United States?"

And here's the worst part. Should the lady get it wrong, if the kid got it right, she still would get the question right and get the money! Whoo-hoo!

Is this what we're reduced to to give people a million dollars nowadays?

The woman only made it to 100,000 dollars, which horrified both Sweetie Pie and I and convinced us that the contestants must have been pried from the local mental institution in the too stupid to be out in the real world wing. Because how else can the preview for tomorrow's show give us a man who blanks on the question "what is 5 times 2?"

Seriously? Seriously?

Maybe I'm just turning into my parents. But I am shocked and horrified. And disgusted too that these are grown people with jobs. Yesterday's contestant is a computer consultant. Seriously? How does she even find her way to work every morning? Does she look at her computer and giggle and says "lookie! The funny box has buttons on it!"

I need to go wash off the slime that still remains on my body. And the worst part of it? Is that Mark Burnett created this show. What? How did this happen? Is the man officially out of ideas? You invent Survivor, the show that created the Reality Show genre. You created The Apprentice, a show I still love, even though it has nothing to do with the realities of the business world. And then you think to yourself "for my next show, I'm going to show America how stupid they really are?"

Well, British man, genius of the television. Bravo! Your point is made.




The Keeper of Cheerios said...

I tell you what, hun, Americans in general, are NOT smarter than a 5th grader. They don't teach us stuff in school worth anything and you see what our television is like. I think I didn't learn Algebra unti I was in 10th grade. I don't know how we function. :)

M said...

You husband made me record this on our DVR last night. I'm horrified. Just horrified. (and pleased to know other people have such low class tv standards. :) I also dvr up engaged and underaged. though I had to turn off the moron family one because it made me far too pissed. Little prissy...*bleep bleep bleeeeeeeeeeeeeep*)

Beccy said...

I can't comment on the dumbness of some US television contestants but it sounds like people will watch just to see how dumb the contestants are, because it is so unbelievable. The more people watch the more they make from adverts which I believe constitutes a successful show>

Julie said...

Oh, that show is awful. I do enjoy me some MTV though. Sweet Sixteen is the biggest train wreck but I'm so excited new ones are on now!

Emma in Canada said...

Did you not see the first episode where the guy needed help with the first 3 questions? He got what month Columbus Day is in wrong and even I, as a Canadian, knew that one.

I'm sort of missing the pink.