Thursday, March 22, 2007

It's Academic Sneak Peak

A few weeks ago, my son came home with a permission slip. If it weren’t for permission slips, we would have no idea what he was up to. He nonchalantly mentioned he was captain of the school It’s Academic team.

It’s Academic, as a recent Washington Post article on stupid game shows explained, is the last of the 1950s style quiz shows where teams of high school students compete in academic trivia, hence the name. If you have ever seen The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes or the greatest episode ever of Boy Meets World, you know what I mean.

I was baffled by the synchronicity of it since I had just finished reading two books on quiz shows. A lot of Jeopardy champions get their start on the local high school and college trivia circuit.

My son had never even seen the show. Ten in the morning on a Saturday is not in his schedule. Fortunately the miracle of the interwebs means you can find anything. WJZ has a whole section of previous episodes available on line.

The day of the taping, the three team members, the alternate and the school madrigal group all boarded a bus to head over to the station. My wife and I had breakfast at a diner in nearby Hamden and caught up to see the taping. The staff handed out posterboard to all the parents and friends that came along so they could make signs. They coached us on when to scream and when to golf clap.

And then the competition started. The questions seem easy, but they come so fast it's tough to keep up. A twenty five minute quiz show goes by real fast. The pace is nerve-wracking to watch, so I can’t imagine what it’s like to be on the other side of the lights.

The show airs on Baltimore’s WJZ Channel 13 this Saturday (March 24) at 10 am. I’ll have both a VCR and a DVD-R running so that every second can be preserved for posterity. I won’t spoil the suspense by telling you who won, but would I be posting this if it were humiliating?

Have you ever been on TV or involved with some sort of game show?


Anonymous said...

I just found out I made it to the second (of God knows how many) rounds to try out for Jeopardy! -- I am going to DC in May for a mock game/screen test. Any advice for me from all them books?


PS Sorry about no love for the Gonzales thing. I'm not in charge of the random link collections this time around!

yellojkt said...

Hey, no hard feelings about the Wonkette thing. I'm just busting your chops. I've been in Defamer. That will do.

Both books talked about building the associative memory. Everything has to be linked to a funny image or something so it can be recalled instantly. Also practice behind a podium holding a practice clicker. Either book would be good to read.

2fs said...

After graduating from college and before I got a real job (wait - do I have a real job?), I worked in an administrative position in the city of Madison's parking ticket bureau - which is where I was "discovered," and asked to play the role of Bad Guy #13 or whatever in one of those McGruff the Crime Dog Crimestopper videos. I believe I was asked to pretend to punch a cop (playing a homeowner) and run out into the backyard.

The funniest aspect of the whole thing was that after the ad aired, I was riding the bus one day, and a clearly agitated passenger wandered up to inform the bus driver that the guy who robbed that one house on TV was on his bus...

(The punchline should be: and that was the closest I came to getting caught. Ah well...)

Anonymous said...

Is that a corsage he's wearing? Please tell me it's not.

Anonymous said...

I've never been on TV, unless you count waving like a fool at the NBC weather helicopter when I was 11 or 12. Nor have I ever been involved in a game show. But your post reminded me of a story one of my college roommates told me about College Bowl.

In College Bowl, you can buzz in any time during a question, but you have to answer without hearing the rest. If you're wrong the other team gets to hear the whole question and then answer. So, the moderator says, "What composer..."


&"§&%! Now the guy has to answer something, right? "Uhhhh...Aaron Copland."


As my roomie put it, there's a Zen to it. Sometimes, you're just in the zone.

yellojkt said...

That is a buttonaire. It was the coach/sponsor's idea. I don't get it.

The Jeopardy books explain that buzzing in early is the biggest difference between Jeopardy and College Bowl. There is a sixth sense they develop.

Anonymous said...

I remember being in the cheering section when my high school friends were on the show. I also remember being so scared (at 16) to drive into the CITY! Now I live right around the corner from the station - funny how time changes perspective. Where did you go for breakfast? We've been skipping Hamden and heading over to Mrs. Shirley's lately.

Bonvallet said...

Whoo Hoo! And my what a nice looking young man. He doesn't seem at all nervous.

The ex and I were once at a big shindig of some sort. Reporters were walking among the crowds doing interviews, they approached us expecting us to be more than happy to be on camera. We both said, "no thank you." To which they seemed surprised.

Mooselet said...

How cool is that? Congrats to your son, and I can't wait to hear all about the results.

I was interviewed for a bit piece on the local news about the nursing program I was in and why I wanted to be a nurse. With my permed hair and Bruins jersey, it's a real time capsule.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that I forgot to add this before! My husband and I met at high school - as teachers not as students. Whenever the news around here (multiple stations) gives a report on the failing school system, we are BOTH in the footage they use of the students and teachers. My husband is featured prominently - white, reddish hair and glasses - several times in the clip. You see me through a doorway if they use the extended footage. We have seen this footage on both Fox and WJZ.

Elizabeth said...

Wow, your son looks so relaxed!!
In Nome we have a show that just airs in town and it's called "Hello Central" It's like a weekly magazine type show about what was going on in Nome,Alaska. Sounds thrilling, huh? I was the camera person and showed my face once and a while. Not a big deal since there were like three people who watched (except for Iditarod time) but it was fun!

yellojkt said...

We wanted to eat at Golden West Cafe, but they don't open until 9 on the weekends. We ended up at Mike's across the street and felt like we were the only ones that didn't know everybody there.

perrik said...

Yes, being on the other side of the lights was nervewracking! I was the captain of the 1982-83 team for Paint Branch HS, in the viciously competitive Washington division. We made it to the semifinals, not bad for a small school in the unfashionable part of Montgomery County.

After all these years, most of that knowledge (or trivia, whatever you wish to call it) that we practiced has faded away. But I've never forgotten that a perfectly ripe cranberry can be dribbled like a basketball. And I don't even like cranberries.