Ian McNamara

I'll have a P please Bob

Slowly but surely gameshows are creeping into education


Oh, how we used to laugh at the thought of that scenario, and the more risque " I'll have U Bob." being uttered by a blushing teen on a real life edition of Blockbusters. Those were the days when 'Dallas' and 'The A team' were viewed as reality TV for a generation not old enough to know better.

Now we're in a situation where the mighty gameshow, having conquered daytime TV, is know moving into all realms of society. You name it and there's a game show covering it. Anyone who's ever endured the Japanese gameshows on UBC X-YTE will know that what you and I consider mind numbingly boring pastimes, a pastime being a hobby that's a waste of time, the Japanese view as prime time entertainment. The fun loving Japanese viewer must endure a nightly schedule of shows following the never changing fortunes of experts in origami folding, model car racing and guys who possess an obsession with competing to stack small objects in geometric piles only using chopsticks.

Slowly but surely gameshows are creeping into education, in the UK the legendary aforementioned Blockbusters was one of the first. Although it hasn't yet come to Thailand I have a few ideas for any TV producers out there. But before we get to the shows, there are certain standards that must be met. The Thai TV code of all things good and wholesome ( exposed breasts = No, twitching cadavers as a result of a bullet in the brain = Yes, if TV executions go head ) which is endorsed by the third best Dad in parliament, came up with the following guidelines :

"There are a four precepts that the shows should abide by, no overt sponsorship, emphasis on brains over luck, equal opportunities for non-telegenic participants, lack of star power ( and / or talent) not considered a hindrance for a presenter."

And as with all guidelines these too were promptly trashed and the following ideas for shows mooted.

"Who wants to be a millionaire?" aka "Millenium Millionaire " A general knowledge show which plays on people's greed in a manner that avoids ever having to pay out the jackpot except when the ratings charts begin to turn convex. Students answer questions and the more they get correct the higher the prize fund. The prize fund being the amount that their school will charge to new entrants for the privilege of studying in the same establishment as the winner of a prestigious TV show

"The Sesame Street Kids Lottery" - a joint production with the Children's Televison workshop and NBC ( Nonthaburi Broadcasting Corp ) the privately owned( although no ones quite sure by who but it's someone with links to an influential politician) TV station which broadcasts exclusively to residents in the Northern Bangkok area. Every week kids can enjoy learning new numbers with their old favourites, Oscar and Big Bird. NBC would like to inform viewers that, as usual, this week's lottery draw is brought to you by the numbers '11' and '80', let me just repeat that, '11' and '80'.

"Classroom Survivor" - an alternative format for choosing the class leader. Last man standing gets the job. The teacher acts as Jeff, the host, who spends his time stirring up trouble whilst the members of Pikachu and Doraemon tribes compete pointless exercises in the playground then go off to sleep in tents on the footie pitch and cook 'Mama' (instant noodles) for breakfast lunch & dinner. The losers face the tribal council where they must vote off the least well connected member of the tribe.

"Temptation Island" - this was debated but the original concept of female university students searching for their ideal male teacher on a desert island was shelved due to the complete absence of willing female participants and UBC's computer infrastructure being rendered useless for a week under the weight of several thousand email applications from male teachers worldwide.

"Celebrity squares" aka Hollywood Squares - It's exam time an what better way to help with your exam revision that by having a top Thai superstar help answer your homework questions. Flopped in the trail due to 98% of participants completely overlooking the collective wisdom of Kru Kate & Anand Panyarachun in favour of wise words from 'Miss Thailand Freshy Smile 2001'. Dome storming out of a recording session, when asked to provide a reply to the searching question posed in one M4 student's 'Social' homework, "Should pop stars consider themselves role models for Thai youth?" didn't help much either.

"Wheel of Fortune" - considered by many the ultimate gameshow so it's not surprising that it's been earmarked for educational gameshow status in early 2002. Winning this gameshow could set any young Thai well on the way to financial security and a successful career. It's got glamour, flashing lights, large flashing objects, cards you can turn around and a few English idioms - everything that the successful gameshow needs. The format is simple, each week contestants vie for top spot, spinning the round wheel that makes a great "clack-clack" sound as it rotates, turning cards which could lead to a fortune for a lucky participant and perfecting both dumbfounded and joyful expressions. There can only be one winner though and on each show the previous week's Vanna wannabe will compete against more youthful, more artificially enhanced opponents until the ultimate gameshow hostess ( or host) is found.

Email of the week :

Bit of background - Cedar was looking for her love Cor and asked me to help, I posted a message on the site, she wrote to point out an error :

"Thank you very much for posting my search request for Cor, however, he is not from the Netherlands, he is from Holland."

Cedar is American - 'nuff said.




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