Friday, July 11, 2008

Smarter than a 5th grader?

Watching the original US game show yesterday night got me thinking about the contrast between how Indians and Americans look at people. The Indian version is SRK-centric, over-hyped, loud and garish. A preening Shah Rukh Khan is the hub of the show. The American version, debuted in February 2007 and replicated in several other countries, rightly focuses on the participants. It seems lighter, more fun and natural. The Emcee, Jeff Foxworthy, a stand-up comedian, doesn't behave like God's gift to mankind. Everyone else appears to be acting as natural as they can under a camera's gaze. They cheer and laugh but not overmuch. The atmosphere says "Let's have fun", and not "Let's worship God's gift to mankind, fawn on him and kowtow to him". There are no superfluous visiting celebrities cluttering up the action. In spite of all this extra baggage, the TRP score of Kya Aap Panchavi Pass Se Tej Hai is nothing to write home about. So, what's the problem? I haven't a clue. Maybe, the Indian idiot box viewer is no idiot. Maybe, he instinctively feels a screen star belongs to the big movie screen, not in his living room. Anyway, better ask the fifth grader. She or he is smarter than me, I concede. Remember The Beliot College Mindset? P.S.: The Cultural Learnings blog hints at the "school kids" on Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader? being Screen Actors Guild cardholders and coached in advance. Also that their school chums peer-pressure-and-wisecracks act is a sham. A reiteraton of the same "scandal" theme is found here: If there is even a grain of truth in this, who comes out the smartest in the final analysis? P.S.2: Can you think of a smarter gift than the new digital camera that recognizes faces and waits for the subject to smile before it clicks?