Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Yeah, OK...so we watched the premier of “Are you smarter than a 5th grader”, the new FOX show, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy The new format features bright, articulate animated young geniuses, purportedly real life 5th graders, although I am more apt to believe they are Cal Tech midgets. In the three night premiere, all of the 5th graders answered every question correctly. Amazing…simply amazing; or maybe not.

Our family waited around after American Idol to watch this latest spin off from Fox, primarily out of curiosity more than anything else. After all, we live with a Fox40 meteorologist who also happens to be a 5th grade teacher. Armchair producing results in brilliant observations in this family.

The show launches with 40 year old Seth, a UCLA History graduate, who, when posed with the first grade Social Studies question, “In what month do we observe Columbus Day?”, crumbled under the pressure of it and resorted to taking one of his 3 cheats. Yeah, let’s just say old Seth got off to a bad start. I was horrified. So was my 10 year old. Most pre-school kids know that one; at least the Italian ones.

For the most part, the questions were set up for the first through fifth grade student, but somehow the adult college graduate contestants struggled with simple answers to mind bending questions such as “How many e’s are in the phrase “pledge of allegiance?” Yeah, Larry, the Worcester University Graduate, answered incorrectly, but luckily his “5th grader” bailed him out. Larry went off the episode failing to calculate the number of teaspoons in 5 tablespoons. Worcester University assumes most of their students know the answer to that by the time they get there; however somewhere in Massachusetts sat a retired third grade teacher very disappointed in Lawrence’s performance.

It really became too much for computer consultant, Lakisha, when faced with the really hard question “How many decades are in two millennia?” She decided to opt out. Good thing. Her answer would have been 20. That puts her only into the second century…about 1800 years short. She also had a very difficult time determining whether the Canadian border was longer than the Mexican one. Yikes.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for the grown-ups, along comes Susan, the real estate agent who indicated quite confidently that only “three states bordered the Pacific Ocean, Washington, Oregon, California and Mex…wait…not Mexico!” She forgot about Hawaii and Alaska…but hey, who’s counting? 5th grader Spencer bailed her out and we’re left wondering if she knows anything at all about real estate, let alone geography.

Are the fifth graders smart? You bet. Are the adults a little dim? Well, that’s debatable. J.D. thinks they freeze when the camera’s rolling which can sometimes happen to people, like Jan Brady. I wax a little more skeptical. Surely they test potential contestants, take all the airheads and their wrong answers and formulate a show around them.

Perhaps the worst part of the show for me was when the UCLA, Worcester, and Oregon State graduates “flunked off” by officially declaring as they stare into the television camera, “I am not smarter than a 5th grader!” I’m thinking that if you are smarter than a 5th grader, then you probably can’t be in the show. Poor Lucy.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and a bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at familyfare@sbcglobal.net or on the web at http://www.familyfare.blogspot.com/


tom mcgowan said...

Although I am not much of a Jay Leno fan, this 5th grade show is a rip off of his 'Jay Walking' segment. In which the chinned one asks simple questions to everyday people on the streets of L.A. With the exception of that segment, much of his other work is a direct rip-off of Letterman. (Don't get me started)

larry david said...

Please send more 'We Were Seinfeld'!

lewis 'scooter' libby said...

Can you send a subscription of your newspaper to me. I'll need something to read. Plus having a name like 'Scooter' in prison, well, let's just say it will not be easy!

jack o'connell said...

We pride ourselves on educating the finest 5th graders this nation has ever seen! We be number won!!

billy said...

no, i am not smarter than a 5th grader.

i am in the 3th grade

alex trebek said...

You bet your sweet boopie, I am much, much smarter than a 5th grader. Smarter than a 10th grader at that!! HA!!

wink martindale said...

Yes I am

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