Do TV trivia game shows really help people know more?
I still remember one day when I watched Jeopardy! when the host asked what was the event that happened in the upper room recorded in Acts was. A contestant pressed the buzzer and answered “Pentecost.” To which the host replied “No.” “The last supper,” the host added. But of course the contestant was right and the host was wrong. In Acts, the event that happened in the upper room was indeed Pentecost and not the Last Supper. All of United States and Canada who watched that show that evening who did not know better now gained a wrong piece of pseudo-knowledge. Last week a Canadian Spelling Bee contest happened to be on when I walked by the television. One contestant was asked to spell “trummelled.” “T-r-u-m-m-e-l-e-d. Trummeled.” “Incorrect.” She looked confused, looked around, looked at the judges, and the same judgement was pronounced once more: “Incorrect.” So she walked off the stage, still looking very confused. But of course her spelling was correct; it was simply American. So do these game shows really increase the audience’s knowledge? I don’t really think so. They can’t possible increase the audience’s knowledge when even the judges do not even know all the correct answers.