Monday, March 17, 2008

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is a television game show format based on asking grade-school level questions to adults. (The format was claimed to originate in the United States on the Howard Stern Show; however, it is based on a similar premise that originally aired on an Art Linkletter show in the 1960s, which Stern probably watched as a child.) The show has since been replicated in several foreign countries; some under the same title, and some under modified titles. The first season of the show ranked 28th in the Nielsen Ratings, with an average of 12.8 million viewers per episode.

Each game is played by a single contestant who earns money incrementally based on a payout ladder by answering simple trivia questions, with the game themed as a school quiz.

The contestant is presented and entered in textbook for the grade level of the particular question. Some questions are multiple choice or true/false; others require the contestant to answer without any options.

Each correct answer moves the contestant up a payout ladder with a final bonus fifth grade question moving the contestant up one more step to the top prize. At any point up to the final question, the contestant may quit the game after seeing the question. For the final question, the contestant must decide whether to quit after seeing only the subject; if they choose to see the question, they must answer it.

There are five "classmates" in the game of approximately fifth-grade age who also answer each question in secret by writing their answers. These answers are sometimes used to create tension when the classmates answers do not correlate with the contestant's. Additionally, the contestant selects one of the classmates at the beginning of the game to help them during the game. Each classmate can only help for two questions, and then a new classmate must be selected.

The selected classmate provides the contestant with two "cheats", each of which may only be used once. The contestant may choose to "peek" at the classmate's paper, which allows them to see the classmate's answer before they give their own (once the peek is used the contestant must answer the question); the contestant may "copy" the classmate, which automatically locks the classmate's answer in as their own. In addition, the contestant has one "save" which comes into play after the contestant gives their first wrong answer. If the classmate has written the correct answer, they save the contestant; otherwise, the game ends and the contestant loses the game and wins nothing, unless they have correctly answered five questions, at which point they are guaranteed the fifth level of the payout ladder. The cheats are not available on the final question; additionally, once all three cheats are used, the chosen classmate returns to the group and no new classmate is selected. The classmates continue to write answers for the questions, however, to be used for tension.

Upon leaving the game either by quitting, or answering incorrectly, the contestant must profess to the camera, "I am not smarter than a fifth grader."

For me, the show is downgrading the contestant. I mean, they are willing to be humiliated in front of millions viewer for the sake of money. I know there are alot of people willing to do anything for money and fame, but c'mon... Can they think of something else than a nationwide humiliation?

When you were a 5th grade, your mind will only occupy with study and play. "How to get a high grade, how to ask Mom or Dad to buy you that cool toys, how to finish homework on time so that you can have more time to watch TV", how to talk to that cute girl, how to attract cute boy next door".

But when you are grown up, you will absorb and exposed with more informations, from newspaper, books, internet, friends, colleagues, love story, heart break story, office politics, children, family problem, mortgage, billing statement, tax, deadline, etc. So your mind tend to forget basic knowledge when you got while you're a 5th grader. Because human brain has its limitation, we are not computer that has big memory size or even if it's not big enough, we can always upgrade our computer as big as we could.

What fair is, the contestant should read the 5th grade books first before they appear on the show. Give them some times to absorb and remind all those basic information. If they still can not answer those questions, then maybe they are not smarter than a 5th grader.


Finally Woken said...

Yeah we have the same show in the UK. If not mistaken it's on the day slot, and actually it doesn't generate many fans.

Anonymous said...

Love this show too (Star World isn't it?) Humiliation is fun.

Anonymous said...

ini versi yang australi bukan? waktu itu ada ibu2 akuntan ikutan (kok rhyming ya?), terus dia kalah aja loh, soal nya matematika 3sd, pokoknya untuk ukuran akuntan, kalahnya dia amat tidak terhormat.. heuehueh kasian, malunya se-australi :D

Unknown said...

@ Calon Artis: yang semua versi deh pokoknya bukan cuma yang versi Australi aja. Kalo menurut gw knapa si ibu akuntan bisa kalah karena justu ilmunya dia udah kecanggihan sampe dia melupakan pelajaran kelas 3SD, bisa aja toh? Coba deh kalo si ibu belajar dulu pelajaran kelas 3SD gw yakin pasti dia gak akan kalah