Sunday, November 11, 2007

What "E" is the language in which I am speaking to you?

No, it's not a trick question.

You ever notice how game shows dumb down a bit when they've got celebrities on?  Actually, the level of dumbing down varies.  Jeopardy gets easier, but not outrageously so.  Who Wants to Be A Millionaire makes it damn near impossible not to get at least $32,000 for your charity.

Which brings us to The Weakest Link, my current Doctor Who obsession, and the wonder that is YouTube. 

The latest Doctor Who DVD release comes with bonus materials that include a little pre-show green room activity from when the cast was on The Weakest Link (in Britain, of course).  And the gang all seemed genuinely nervous that they'd go out there and come off as idiots.  Now, I've occasionally watched British Weakest Link on BBC America, and the questions do seem somewhat difficult.  They're not uniformly difficult, but there is definitely a risk that you can get saddled with two really hard questions in a single round, which will make you look like pretty bad, compared to the rest of the contestants.  So, I thought, OK, the cast has cause to be a little concerned.

Until I cranked it up on YouTube, and actually saw the questions.

I now set forth the first round questions from the Doctor Who cast's appearance on The Weakest Link.  You will note there are only nine questions, because everyone got their question right, and they banked the full five thousand pounds.

1.  In Astronomy, the Earth takes one year to orbit which celestial body?
2.  In Relationships, an instant attraction to another person is usually known as "Love at first" what?
3. What "E" is the name of the language in which I am speaking to you?
4.  In the acting profession, it is often said that one should never work with children or what? [This asked to the person standing next to the robotic dog.]
5.  On treasure maps, which letter of the alphabet traditionally marks "the spot"?
6.  In sporting physiques, who usually weighs more, a jockey or a sumo wrestler?
7.  Because of a faulty circuit, the Doctor's TARDIS is usually stuck in the form of telephone box, previously used by which of the emergency services?  [Trust me.  That's an insanely easy Doctor Who question.  It'd be like asking William Shatner what color shirt Captain Kirk usually wore.]
8.  In Math, what is 10 plus 50?
9.  When the Cybermen were revived in 2006, what was their battle cry, "Control," "Alt" or "Delete"? [Again, insanely easy Doctor Who question.  The multiple choice actually makes it funny.]

After the entire cast completed these questions, thereby proving themselves not to be drooling idiots, the audience actually applauded.

And then I realized that, yes, the cast had a right to be nervous backstage.  Because, I mean, it's one thing if you happen to miss a question that a normal human being, watching from their living room, might get wrong.  But if you don't know the Earth revolves around the sun, or that "X marks the spot," it's a moment of stupidity you will never, ever live down.

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