29 September 2007

Australia's 'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader' reviewed

Australian television has recently hit a new low with the first airing of the Oz version of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. That the show lacks any form of originality can be seen merely from the title—in Australia, the terms ‘Grade 5’ or ‘Year 5’ are used, rather than the American ‘5th Grader’. Channel 10 is obviously low on talent, so they have stuck Rove McManus into the hosts chair, a man hailed by more eloquent critics than I as “the least funny comedian in Australia’. Indeed, Rove is true to form—he talks a lot and only manages to raise a smile on his own face.

As for the show itself, it’s inane, clich├ęd nonsense of the highest order. The premise of the title is stupid, as obviously the comparison alluded to is not one of intelligence but knowledge. Even then, the premise turns out to be false, because there is no competition between the Year 5 students and the adult competitors. Rather, the kids are there to assist the adults in winning money—they’re all on the same team.

The questions are ridiculously drawn out, in the style of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Rove insists upon borrowing from that show’s host, Eddie McGuire, by constantly describing the simple act of answering a simple question as “locking in your answer”. A piece of advice, Rove—if you are the least funny host on Oz TV, Eddie is no funnier, and a whole lot less likable, so perhaps he’s not the best person to be emulating.

The first episode only managed to maintain a semblance of entertainment by virtue of its supporting cast. The kids were generally bright, chirpy, enthusiastic and likable, and the first contestant, Elka was a good looking blonde with a range of quirky facial expressions that were passingly entertaining. And although she was forced to look at the camera at the end of her stint and admit “I’m not smarter than a fifth grader”, she didn’t look very depressed by this admission because she’d just won $100,000 for a few minutes easy work. Assuming that the kids didn’t walk away with the same kitty, then who was the smarter?

Australian Quiz shows are generally pretty pathetic affairs, in which half-literate hosts grin their way through stupid questions fired at largely dumb contestants for huge amounts of money. Even long-running classics like Temptation have got dumber over the years. The ABC’s Spicks an Specks is a lone oasis in the wilderness, but where are the truly cerebral programs like the BBC’s exceptional QI, or the old ABC classic Mastermind, which actually celebrated the intelligence and knowledge of intelligent, knowledgeable people?

Today’s quiz shows on Australian commercial TV are clearly aimed at making couch potatoes at home feel smarter. This one will do that, and may even boost the ego of the family dog, cat or goldfish.
Go to eebahgum!


Anonymous said...

How about you make a better show then, faggot.

eebahgum! said...

Dear Rove's Mum,

Sorry if you disapproved of my comments about your cute but unfunny son. I would indeed be overjoyed to take you up on your invitation to make a better show, which I and most others in the country would be able to do with our eyes tied behind our backs. Show me the money and it shall be done.

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...


You are completely correct about '5th Grader'. What a stupid show and insulting title. And as for that loser who commented first, I think he's just jealous that you can construct a half decent sentence, when he can't.

By a TV Personality said...

You are completely incorrect. I know it's a bit late to comment but this show is for some peoples liking. Me myself have worked on the upcoming series and it smashes the previous series. Dont judge a book by its cover jerk. It doesnt HAVE to be exactly the way you want. There are some shows i hate too (aka. Dexter Who want's to be a millionare and Supernatural)but i dont make a massive article about that now do i? I bet you hate game shows because it would seem hypocritical for a low life nerd with nothing better to do, to like them.
That's my statement,

PS: I'm not being hypocritical as i didnt point out that the show wasn't the best.

eebahgum! said...

Ah, Anonymous, thanks for your eloquent and intelligent comments. You do realise, don't you, that every anonymous illiterate moron who writes in to defend the show inadvertently strengthens the points I was making.

You are at liberty to write against shows you dislike, as I am. The fact that you haven't written 'massive' articles may have something to do with your inability to string together enough words to make a sentence.

By the way, how did you know I was a low-life nerd? Have you been talking to my son?