|Quiz shows: The Weakest Link in the TV listings|
In a world where information and technology are as omnipresent as flies during an attack on a summer’s afternoon, we are surrounded by people talking a different language to us. They are intellectual superiors, making us feel like idiotic peasants. TV doesn’t help by shoving experts in certain subjects on to jabber on using words we’ve never heard before, sending us sinking down through the relative intelligence quicksand into the dense and dim-witted depths of human knowledge. Metaphorically, of course.
TV people have decided that if everyone was plummeting through intellectual quicksand, then we would all be so suicidal that we wouldn’t be able to watch their programmes. They have helpfully redressed the balance by inventing quiz shows, where members of the foolish flock are asked questions that they have no idea about and we can watch them fail, laughing until our sides split open and the carpets become covered in intestines, making us feel like Gods of knowledge.
Quiz shows like The Weakest Link are great examples of this. The revolving redhead ringleader asks rapid fire questions with the atmosphere so tense you could cut it with an atmosphere cutting knife if one existed. The pressure is on and the senseless simpletons crumble like an old brick wall, exclaiming any answer that relates partially to the question. The ginger android gives a disapproving look while explaining the correct answer in a tone that would patronise toddlers, before moving on to the next quivering wreck to put them through the same ordeal.
Back in our comfy homes, there’s so little pressure on that you could be floating round the room like a weightless astronaut if there were a measurable amount less. The answers are obvious and you shout like a maniac at the box of pixels, as if the contestants can hear you. You throw your arms up in the air as they inevitably get the answer wrong and blame the education system for their foolhardiness. You become the prime specimen of brainpower in your life; you are the God of knowledge.You climb heroically out of your intellectual quicksand and stand proud as the two dimensional images of people sink slowly down below you. You’re an expert in life and you’re full of pride.
Then you walk out into the real world and find that nobody’s really that stupid. You’re just a naive buffoon who believed what the flashing rectangle told you. You’re the stupid one, and you begin your descent into the quicksand once again.