Wednesday, January 5

game shows across The Big Pond

It'll wear off, but I've become addicted to the original UK (BBC) version of The Weakest Link, and the differences to the American spinoff. Like most shows on BBC America, the shows appear to be several years old, but at least it's something.

First, they have more contestants (9) and it's longer (1 hour). There's a smaller prize (£10,000) and no audience. When the players introduce themselves, it's a well-defined format: name, age (!), location and profession (example: "Hi, I'm Nigel and I'm 32 years old. I live in Cheddar-on-Sussex and I raise edgeogs.")

Their "off the island" votes are cast on an oval hand slate, held in front of them during the entire voting round. Some contestants are into their 70s and beyond. As expected, many questions are UK-specific although there's a surprisingly large set of questions about American culture, geography and history.

The host (Anne Robinson) is even more caustic than on the US version; she often derides people for where they live. One particularly accent-free contestant mentioned that she'd taken "elocution classes" (for accent softening), which I found amusing.

The TiVo remote has no Closed Caption button, so how am I supposed to understand those UK (Scotland, Ireland, Britain) accents, not to mention the peculiar vocabulary (trebled vs tripled) and pronunciation (alternate becomes al-TER-nit)?

Some items become very repetitive: when each contestant leaves, they are commonly asked for comment and nearly all say "Aye cain't believe aye was voted off at this stage of the game! Aye wasn't The Weakest Link (they commonly answered no questions correctly that round)." Most seem content on offering excuses; I can only recall one who acknowledged his poor performance in the past few days.

I wandered across the UK version of [Dog Eat Dog] a few days ago (sadly minus host Brooke Burns) and had to laugh at the bloke who thought JFK was shot in 1981 (versus 1963). Maybe I expected too much from the Brits, well edjimicated and all that rubbish.

No comments: