Stuck on Stupid
Welcome to the "Stuck on
Stupid" edition of The Block Party for the week of February 26, 2008. Of
course, you all know who I am...I am Jason Block...and I thank you guys
every week for supporting the column here at Game Show News Net. I also
thank you guys for downloading the audio podcast through the link at the
upper left...the Itunes feed and the webpage at
Okay, then. Let's start this week with people opening their mouths and
putting their foot in it. We begin with a quote from Adam Jasinski, a 29
yr old contestant on Big Brother 9. He is a volunteer for a group called
the United Autism Foundation. According to the New York Daily News, he
said this on last Wednesday's broadcast when asked what he wanted to
with the money if he won the contest. He said, "I want to open a hair
salon for kids with special needs so the retards can get it together and
get their hair done," When he was confronted by another cast member, he
shot back, "I can call them whatever I want, okay? I work with them all
The article quotes the President of the non-profit group apologizing
stating that the comments were "irresponsible, misleading, and
unprofessional." The group has posted an apology on their web page.
Autism United, called for the show's cancellation. CBS said they
wouldn't but called the comments "offensive."
CBS won't have the guts to cancel the show. Remember this gem from last
summer's Big Brother 8...Amber Tomcavage, in a rant which made world
wide news, talked about how nasty New York is. She claimed it was "all
selfish Jews who only care about money." She went on to say that she can
tell by last names and noses who Jewish people are. She tends to
automatically know if someone's Jewish and dislike them. According to
her, her mother and sister feel the same way.
First of all, as far as the "retards" comments goes...not only was it
offensive...it was dumb. I happen know people who have children with
autism. They are beautiful, wonderful people. And the fact that he said
he can call them anything they want because he works with them, is about
as asinine an argument as black people calling each other the n-word.
It's a cruel, nasty word.
But that comes with the
territory on Big Brother. CBS pushes the envelope, but in this
particular case...no one is really watching. It is getting spanked in
it's time slots and I for one, am glad. And as far as CBS goes, I don't
want it cancelled. This is the beauty of the internet...if you are going
to say something stupid, moronic or offensive...you are going to get
caught. And the blogs are going to spread it faster than you know. And I
I usually don't bring
politics into this column or podcast, but an interviewer with Time
Magazine did it for me. In a recent interview with conservative radio
talk show host Rush Limbaugh, they were discussing the rift between the
presumptive Presidential nominee John McCain and the conservative wing
of the Republican Party. But this question from the interviewer James
Carney was another "stuck on stupid" moment:
"[It seems to me that] it's a positive to have people listening to
radio, listening to issues, talking about politics and policy. That's
about an informed public. That's what is annoying about the
condescension - it's that anybody who is tuning into [talk radio], or
watching cable, is more engaged than people who are watching game
So, if I get this right...people who watch game shows are politically
unaware? That seems sort of strange to me. The people who I speak to on
both sides of the political spectrum who happen to be game show fans are
pretty damn aware if you ask me.
Take Bob Harris for instance. He is a best-selling author of two books,
"Prisoner of Trebekistan: A Decade in Jeopardy" and most recently "Who
Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts and Various
Things Blowing Up. A Woefully Incomplete Guide" both by Crown
Publishing. He and I do not agree politically at all, but he is one of
the most intelligent, well-researched, and politically aware game show
watchers and fans that I know. Check him out at
I really despise the fact that this interviewer stereotypes game show
fans as brain-dead idiots and ignorant of the world around us. I happen
to fall on the more conservative side of the spectrum and am an avid
reader and listener. And that is what most people who watch game shows
With all due respect to Mr. Carney, you have no clue if the next
contestant on The Price is Right is a liberal or conservative. You have
no idea, if a person on Millionaire is voting for Obama or McCain. You
have no idea if a person who appears or watches game shows is smart or
not. It's the same trap people and writers fall into...grouping fans,
people or members of any group into monolithic thinkers. Mr.
Carney...what you said about us is offensive to every single game show
fan out there.
We go from dumb to smart.
The President of Mensa this week announced the top 10 "smartest shows"
in TV history. And Jeopardy made the list. But, after a bit of thought,
I remember a few game shows that would carry the moniker of "smart" or
- First, COLLEGE BOWL. The granddaddy of them all. It morphed from an
USO activity for WWII Soldiers to a show which Allen Ludden and Robert
Earle hosted from 1959-1970 on CBS and then NBC. Don Reid created this
classic where teams of 4 students answered tossups and bonuses about all
subjects. To this day, College Bowl, Quiz Bowl and NAQT are played on
campuses all around the country.
- Next, COUNTDOWN. This is one of my all time favorite shows. I first
saw it on a trip to London in 2004, not realizing what a history this
show has. It is one of the longest running game shows in the world
starting in November 1982, and present. All you have to do is take
vowels and letters, and make the longest word possible...and then take
numbers and use mathematical equations to get to the target. Whenever
this game is played at Game Show Congresses, or shown on TV, it gets a
ton of attention. It is brilliant in it's simplicity and diabolical in
- And Finally, MASTERMIND. Yet another British Classic. Sit in a chair
and answer insanely difficult questions about the subject you know best.
You know it is good when British TV parodies you for years on end. This
has been on British TV for over 35 years in various incarnations, and
Magnus Magnusson became world famous for the phrase "I've started, so
I'll finish." This was and is, one of the smartest shows in the world.
These are three that I can
think of...any shows you might consider really smart shows? Email me and
you might get a shout out.
If you were one of the
chosen few who watched the finale of Dance War this week, you already
know the new cast of Dancing with The Stars. if you didn't, well here
Marlee Matlin, Priscilla Presley, Penn Jillette, Adam Carolla, Kristi
Yamaguchi, Jason Taylor of The Miami Dolphins, Tennis star Monica Seles,
Winokur, of Broadway's "Hairspray" Steve Guttenberg, R&B singer Mario,
Shannon Elizabeth and Cristian De La Fuente, a telenovela star.
While some people might see this as bottom of the barrel scraping, I
think we have setup the usual formula...you have a few athletes, a soap
star or two, an aging actress, and a few wild cards. Penn Jillette is
always good for a laugh or two. I would personally rather watch Shannon
Elizabeth kick butt on the National Heads-Up Poker Challenge myself, but
it all depends on the dancing and the fanbase...it always has. We shall
see if a non-sports person wins it this time. Tune in March 17, to see
Bruno and Carrie Ann in the place where they should have never left.
One of the biggest stories
of 2007 has repercussions in 2008. To refresh your memories, British
Telephone quiz shows were rocked by scandals as many different companies
were fined after it was proven that winners were faked. So now, ITV, the
BBC and Channel 4 have some new rules to play by. According to the UK
Guardian, Media regulator Ofcom unveiled a string of new measures
designed to help restore consumer confidence. Under the new rules
broadcasters will be held directly responsible for all interactions with
viewers via phone, email or post. Broadcasters will also be forced to
obtain third party verification of systems used in telephone voting and
competitions, with Ofcom undertaking a 12- to 18-month program of spot
checks to ensure compliance. They will be expected to have the new
measures in place by the end of June. Ofcom's chief executive, Ed
Richards, who has promised a "zero tolerance" approach to deception,
said: "Viewers must be confident they will be treated fairly and
consistently when interacting with television programs." PhonePayPlus,
the premium line regulator formerly called Icstis that was brought more
directly under Ofcom's control after criticisms of its handling of the
scandal, will also require service operators to apply for prior
This is a huge step in the
right direction. It was too bad that a major scandal had to happen, but
it will take years before the confidence level will come back.
One of the most successful
reality shows of all time comes back for a new cycle. America's Next Top
Model is in for it's 10th Cycle and one of it's judges... hated the
And still does.
Paulina Porizkova told the
New York Post last year, "the show was "completely unrealistic. They
obviously don't take girls based on who can actually be a model." "Top
Model" contestants were sorely lacking in the looks department, she
said. "I look at the girls and think, 'How are you gonna make a model
out of that?' "
She still stands by that
today...even though the producers knew it. "That's why we want you." she
said of the phone call.
I love her honesty. This
could make for a fun season...she might be Janice Dickinson without all
the craziness and ego.
Finally, week 1 of the Top
24 claimed four victims, as Colton Berry, Garrett Haley for the guys,
Joanne Borgella and Amy Davis for the girls are no more on American
There were really no surprises, as the favorites emerged on both sides.
David Archuleta and Michael Johns are still the ones to beat on the
men's side. And Syesha Mercado, Ramiele Malubay and Carly Smithson did
pretty well on week 1.
A lot of the middle of the pack singers have to sing well this coming
week, or they will be gone. The only person who is looking Sanjaya like
is Danny Noriega.
And a little piece of advice to Erin Carlson of the Associated Press.
You are trying to manufacture controversy where there isn't any.
We all know the story of Carly Smithson and others in this year's Idol
competition. They have either had record deals before or won talent
competition. But Ms. Carlson is emphasizing Carly Smithson because of
the alleged $2M publicity she had for her first album, "Ultimate High"
in 2001 for MCA Records.
But two things about her article bothered me...the article was titled
"Idol Cuts 4 but Keeps Irish Crooner." The title suggests that the 4
that were cut were better than Smithson, and Smithson deserved to be cut
because of all the controversy.
Again, there have been people throughout the 7 years of Idol who have
had previous experience in bar bands, record deals...etc. That story is
OLD news. You aren't going to get people upset because people recognize
talent when they see it and are not going to vote Smithson off because
you want them to.
And this line from her article is wrong: "The show's gimmick has always
been to pluck talented young hopefuls from obscurity and make them into
Wrong again. The show's gimmick is to find the best recording
artist...regardless of obscurity or not.
You and other writers can't have it both ways...do you want 24 Sanjayas
or do you want 24 people who have had some sort of experience to make
good music? Please pick a side and stick to it.
Ok, that will do it for this
week, this is Jason Block reminding you...don't just play fair...play to
Block loves it when people talk both sides out of their
ass. E-mail him at