Are You Smarter than a Network Executive?

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

FOX’s new show, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, premiered on Tuesday night with mind-boggling ratings. Last night, it kicked butt again, and fingers are crossed for yet another ratings bonanza tonight.

I predict that the show won’t last, however. At least, not unless some changes are made very soon.

The basic problem is that it’s way too slow. It’s boring! On Tuesday night’s show, we only saw six questions answered in thirty minutes. The UCLA graduate was a moron. He walked after hearing the fourth question (a question in the subject for which he holds a degree from UCLA, and which he would have answered incorrectly) and he didn’t correctly answer a single question on his own! In other words, the only reason he won any money at all was because the ten year olds did it for him!

The second contestant was a little better. She managed to answer several questions on her own, but still hesitated to answer fantastically simple questions. I know that when people get into game show situations, their minds blank and they question themselves, but give me a break! Answering the question, “which star is closest to planet Earth,” shouldn’t take five minutes!

Part of the reason the show is so slow and dull is because they’re trying to build tension. The problem is, we know the answer to “which star is closest to planet Earth,” is “the sun” and we know she has it right, so trying to build tension by making us wonder doesn’t work; we don’t wonder because we already know!

The only real tension on last night’s episode (for me, anyway) was whether or not the classmate got the right answer to “which star is closest to planet Earth?” The contestant got it right and the rest of the class got it right, but the contestant’s classmate hesitated for quite a while before writing down an answer we never got to see. They even pointed out that she was thinking about it for a long time, so why not show us in the end?

Another problem with the show is that it follows an all-too familiar formula. Just like Who Wants to be a Millionaire, 1vs100, and several other similar game shows, 5th Grader has the “money ladder”, where each successive question is worth more money. The contestant also has three “cheats”. They can peek at or copy their classmate’s answer. They can also be saved by their classmate, if they answer wrong and the classmate answers right. Just like Millionaire, just like 1vs100.

Is it a funny show? Yeah; you know I like to laugh at stupid people. Is it an interesting premise? I think so. Is it worth watching? It would be, if only they’d pick up the pace. With FOX ordering additional airings of the show, I’ll be watching those Nielsen numbers very closely.

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  1. I agree. The show would be better if it had a faster pace to it. That’s why I love Jeopardy: 61 trivia questions in half an hour.

    You will be happy to know that I did correctly answer the two history questions that I saw on Tuesday night.

    By the way, when is House coming back?

  2. House will be back on 6 March.

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