Being stucked in hotel room most of my time in Papua New Guinea, I turned my whole nightlife to television. One of my favourite tv program was "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?", in Star World channel. It was actually a Fox TV program, but for cable tv in Asia you can watch in Star World.
The setting is in a huge classroom (tv studio set), watch by many
people. There are 5 classmates, each is 10 year-old boys and girls.
Original cute and smart classmates were: Laura, Spencer, Kyle, Alana,
and Jacob . An adult contestant bring to the show can choose classmate
to accompany him to answer questions. There are 10 questions, ranging
from social science, animal science, earth, grammar, 1st grade spelling,
etc, all are subjects taught to grade 1 to grade 5 students in primary.
Each question given will be also answered by all classmates by writing
to their 'worksheet'. From here you might think that it must be a very
easy question? You're wrong.
The questions are quite easy, such as: 'How many gallon in a liter?' to difficult like 'How many moons Mars planet has?'. In case you cannot answer, you have 3 cheat options: "Peek", "Copy", and "Save", that can be used once of each. Peek means you can peek your little classmate answer but you don't have to follow his answer. Copy means you have to follow classmate answer, and Save means if your answer is wrong but classmate's correct then you're Saved. The last question is worth 1 million dollar!
Upon leaving the game either by quitting, or answering incorrectly, the contestant must profess to the camera, "I am not smarter than a fifth grader."
This program brings a new idea that a basic lesson learned by children under age 10 is sometime can't be answered by adults. What make this show interesting is not the questions given to contestants, but their expressions and way to answer the questions usually raise your eyebrow and make you laugh. Some not-to-bright women ended up in only answering 2 questions, brought back USD 2000. A bright man that I watched reach USD 500,000 just to give up not to continue to Million Dollar Question.
Then I wonder, why copy-cats in Indonesia haven't bring this show to local TV channel? Oh yes actually. 'An adaptation' with titled "MASA KALAH SAMA ANAK" in TV One in the morning (Mon-Wed, 08.30), sadly not in the night primetime and this adaption is not interesting as the original one.