As blood to the vampire, as flesh to the werewolf, so are children's game shows to me. They are my morphine, my opaline, my laudanum, my whisky, my nicotine, my crack. I love them. It is for the heady victories, the dazzling falls from grace, the sudden tantrums, the tears, the triumphs that I long. The winner will be heaped in praise! The loser will be cast into the outer darkness!
It is because children treat victory and defeat with the seriousness it deserves: an adult is forced to stand in front of millions of television viewers after the ignominy of losing - losing! - at the Wheel of Fortune or Family Feud, and shrug his or her shoulders. Only a child can truly give vent to their feelings on such an occasion, and allow the full virtues and vices of their natures to come to the fore.
It is perhaps wrong of me to admit this. I’ll get over it.
It all began two years ago with Australia’s Brainiest Kid. The concept was devilishly simple: children from all over the nation cast into the gladiatorial arena in an ultimate blood feud! There could be only one victor! To one would fall worshipful glory; to the other, shame, despite, and ignominy. The victor would feast upon the losers tears and be feted nation-wide; the loser, thrown to the lions!
I was reminded, again, of my addiction two weeks ago when, on The Einstein Factor, children were invited on to talk about their subject areas. Appropriately enough, the subjects chosen ranged from cane toads to children’s literature to Nazi Germany. Tony T caught a bit I didn't:
Bizarre episode of the Einstein Factor last week. In a Smart Kids contest, three youngsters, one boy and two girls, were on deck to strut their stuff. The boy's special subject was Gary Kasparov and he blitzed. Can't remember what the first girl's topic was (TT: Boynton reminds me it was frogs of FNQ, or more accurately after looking it up accurately, Frogs of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. What fool said all girls think about is boys? It's not easy being teen. Teen, green: that's a joke, boy. I keep pitchin' 'em, ya keep missin' 'em.), and anyway, she was a strange zombie child. The second girl must have thought she was on Straya's Top Model the way she kept tossing he hair, but interestingly, her special subject was Adolf Hitler. She did fairly well, but at the end Barry Jones asked her "What text would you recommend as a starting point on Hitler?" To which she replied "Mein Kampf. That way you can see where he's coming from." I'm sure she didn't mean it to come out like that, but what if she did? Either way it stunned Barry, the other two panel members and Peter Berner into an embarrassed silence.
But on that night, the boy’s braces gleamed with the light of victory…
My addiction has reached virtually unmanageable levels in the past couple of days with the show Hotspell on SBS. A spelling bee program! I sat, in equal parts horror and elation, watching children stumble over letters, snaring themselves on syllables, clashing with consonants. When asked to spell ‘Inauspicious’, one contestant replied:
Another somehow misinterpreted the word ‘vivacious’ thus:
But, horror of horrors! one child was asked to spell ‘Tawny’. He answered:
An acceptable spelling - look it up in the dictionary if you don't believe me. He had no way of knowing as the word was not used in a sentence, and no way of asking as it was in the speed round.
Another child, similarly, got caught on the word ‘Cornice’. The child replied, sensibly:
The presenter was also unable to pronounce himself – ‘Timbre’, properly pronounced ‘taem-be’, was pronounced ‘tim-ber’, causing the child contestant to answer:
Terrible! After all, why should one's enjoyment of bloodsport or shows of public humiliation and embarassment be ruined by poor production values or thoughtless presenters? Exactly.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2016 (60)
- ► 2015 (106)
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- WTFF Classifieds
- Rhyming couplets with unlikely words
- Do you prefer footbrawl or thugby?
- Consonant cravings
- Crypto Fascism
- I go mad with power
- Caution: this jar may contain traces of mastodons
- Watch out! That bustle is out to get you!
- Our new anti-Donald workplace policy
- It's propaganda, dammit!
- The nude in art and the art in the nude
- The great Australian brain shortage
- The goyim does not know...
- How to read backwards, upside down, standing on yo...
- Idea for mystery novel
- Hello, goodbye, hello
- Convenience caused
- An application for the position of John Laws
- Belloc, the game show
- Robert Herrick, goth poet
- The archeology of the species
- A blogger dies
- Self-yelp books
- Consumerism is evil! Here, have a newspaper.
- This rental life
- My life, so much better than mycosis
- Gnuts to ewe!
- Just keep Dexter the bloody friendly robot out of ...
- Disgracing you with his presence
- History Segment! (Again)!
- ▼ September (32)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)