Missed the Mark
Those who know me know that I like to watch TV.
Specifically, I spend most of that time on game shows. I
really enjoy a good game show/contest. I love it when a
show reaches its full potential. "The Mole" may have
been too smart for its own good, but it was all that it
could be. On the other hand, I am almost hurt when a
show seems to have the proof of concept down, but
somewhere along the line the idea falls flat. This is
about shows that miss the mark at some point.
"The Scholar" is most
recent in the line of 'almost great'. There are some
glaring flaws that should have been fixed. Rob Nelson
should be legally enjoined from ever appearing in front
of a television camera ever again. From the
blink-and-you'll-miss-it "Under One Roof" to his own
eponymous talk show, Rob has shown that he has no
business putting on a suit and holding the mike. The
Admissions Showdown lacks any sort of drama. It's not
because the round isn't that great, even though it's
not, but because Rob is so nondescript that he melts
into the background. Anyone should be able to draw out
the drama in a round where each question could be worth
$50,000 or nothing at all. But there's no excitement
there. It's not even about being a competent question
reader, because he's fine at that, but there's no
element of tension or drama in his voice. Paging Pat
Kiernan, Mr. Kiernan to the courtesy phone...
The next thing is the
format itself. The first round serves only to divide the
teams. That, and eat up some show time. The winners
don't receive anything for placing high in this round.
It's just there, and frequently uninteresting to watch.
People putting together blank maps of the United States?
Whee. Just let me find my OWN map so I can play along.
The next round is almost
as much of a snooze: the Team Round, where the captain
on the winning team gets a bye into the Admissions
Showdown. This is the part of the show where the
contestants' 'extra-curricular' talents are put to the
test. I'm not watching to see which team can put
together a better pep rally, or making a movie based on
a famous quote; I want to see buzzer battles, tough
questions and high drama. I'm getting none of that.
Anyway, after the second snooze of the night, the nine
'also-rans' go before the Scholarship Committee to see
which two people will compete for the $50,000, and a
spot in the $250,000 final. Again: not liking this. No
"wild-card" round, or anything? We get to see two people
becoming the Chosen Ones.
Finally comes the Big
Payoff. Each of three students takes turns answering
questions, losing out when they miss. Last one standing
takes home the scholarship. They stand at wooden desks,
no signs of a mushroom buzzer, no isolation booths or
anything. It is quite possibly the most boring
anti-climax round in television history. A winner is
crowned, and the show goes to the final break. Yah-hoo.
ABC missed the boat. As
a quiz show, The Scholar gets an incomplete. As a
'reality show,' it gets a C-, because we do get to see
the trials and tribulations that the kids go through,
trying to win the money. I'll stick with the show to see
who the winner is, but ABC seems to do worse and worse
with each effort. That's a shame, too, because I want
this show to succeed.
Travis Eberle just proved what happens when
you piss a teacher off. E-mail him