I was browsing the shows on YouTube the other day and I came across some episodes of this 11-year-old quiz show called “Repo Games.”
All I can say is I’ve finally found a quiz show that makes me feel like Einstein.
The premise of this show is the host, a hulk of a guy, arrives at some poor, unsuspecting person’s house to repossess his or her vehicle. He makes sure the vehicle is securely hooked up to the tow truck, then he knocks on the owner’s door and says, “If you can answer three out of five trivia questions correctly, I’ll not only let you keep your car, I’ll also pay it off, free and clear!”
Having nothing to lose at that point, the victims usually agree to give the trivia game a shot…and make complete fools of themselves on national TV.
On one of the shows, for example, the repo guy asked a woman, “Who flew a kite in a thunderstorm to prove lightning was a form of electricity?”
“Bill Clinton!” she enthusiastically replied.
“What were the names of the three Kellogg’s Rice Krispies mascots?” he also asked her.
“Um…Fred?” she answered.
With each trivia question, depending on whether the contestant answers correctly or incorrectly, the tow truck slightly raises or lowers the vehicle. When the vehicle finally touches the ground, the owner is allowed to keep it. This woman’s car was raised so many times, it could have doubled as an airplane.
Another woman and her boyfriend, desperately trying to save her car, were on another episode.
“The popular band called ‘Boston’ hailed from that city,” the host said. “Tell me, in which state is Boston located?"
The woman shrugged. “Boston is just Boston. It doesn’t have a state.”
When the host told her she was incorrect, she exploded, “You’re purposely giving me really hard questions!”
Her statement reminded me of something my dad always used to say: “You think a question is hard only when you don’t know the answer. If you know it, then you think it’s easy. So don’t blame the question!”
If watching Repo Games makes me feel intelligent, all I have to do is switch to another quiz show, “Jeopardy,” and I’m instantly made to feel as if my brain is on vacation, lying on a beach somewhere in Hawaii.
I can remember when my husband and I used to watch the show every night as we ate dinner…for no other reason than to torture ourselves
“The three main stages of this art movement are: facet, analytic and synthetic,” Alex Trebek, the host back then, said.
Immediately, one of the contestants buzzed in. “What is the Cubist movement?” he answered.
His answer was correct. My husband and I just stared blankly at each other.
Another art question in that same category was answered with “Baroque.”
My husband didn’t quite hear it, so he asked me what the contestant had said.
I responded, “He said ‘What is Baroque?’”
To which my husband muttered, “Ba-roke? That’s what I am at the end of every month, before I get paid.”
I also remember another quiz show called, “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” which first aired back in 2007. I was certain I’d finally found a show where I’d be able to answer every question with ease. After all, I reasoned, the show’s description said the questions would be taken directly from textbooks used in grades one through five. What could be easier than that?
“I’m going to ace all of these questions!” I said to my husband as we prepared to watch the show.
“Don’t be so sure,” he said. “Things have changed a lot since we were in grade school. Back in first grade, we were learning to read stuff like, ‘See Spot run!’ Nowadays, first-graders are reading the Wall Street Journal.”
I eagerly awaited the first question on the show, which, according to the category, was third-grade science.
“What kind of rock is created from lava?”
“Volcanic!” my husband said.
“Igneous,” the smart-aleck kid answered…correctly, of course.
“Iggy who?” my husband asked.
I shrugged. “Don’t ask me – I thought he said ‘icky knees’!”
The next question also was from third-grade science. “What phenomenon might be felt on the surface when two tectonic plates rub against each other?“
My husband changed the channel.
I hate to say it, but I think I’ll stick with watching Repo Games. I can relate better to someone who thinks spaghetti comes from underground mines in Italy.
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Sally Breslin is an award-winning syndicated columnist who has written regularly for newspapers and magazines all of her adult life. She is the author of several novels in a variety of genres, from humor and romance to science-fiction. Contact her at: email@example.com.