I just finished getting my latest fix of American Idol. It was heartwrenching, as always (all those dedications to the grandmas? Boys, you're killing me). But that's not what I want to write about. What I want to write about is the show that came on next, a new game called "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" hosted by Jeff Foxworthy.
Has anyone else seen it? The show features an ethnically diverse (and very cute) class of 5th graders, all of whom try to help the adult contestants answer questions gleaned from lower school textbooks. The adults all have to promise, if they lose, to look into the camera and say, "I'm not smarter than a 5th grader." If they can't answer a question (which no one on tonight's program could), they have three options to cheat: look at their 5th grade counterpart's answer, copy their answer without looking at it, or get "saved" by the 5th graders.
Okay. So given the fact that most American fifth graders can like, hardly read, it's a little horrifying that they all do much, much better than their adult counterparts. Especially given the questions. What month do we celebrate Columbus day in? (October, unless you're in Berkeley, where it turns into "indigenous people's day.") What was the name of the ship the pilgrims sailed over in 1620? (The Mayflower) What is REM? (The band responsible for "Orange Crush.")
But what I really couldn't figure out is what the audition process for the show must be like. You clearly need to get yourself some dorky fifth graders (which prompts the question of why this show wasn't started in 1990). But the adults? I mean, you can't just get idiots--that would be too easy. The first guy graduated from UCLA. But do they have psychologists on hand to tell which personality types are the most likely to crack under the intense scrutiny of 10-year-olds? Do they make them take social studies tests and then pick the people who fail? I'm very confused. And a bit depressed about America.
In other words, I want to be on the show.
This is the blog for Salt Magazine.