30 May, 2006

Spelling Bzzzzzzz

Man, ABC must think we're all veeeerrry easily entertained. They are airing the Scripps Spelling Bee on Thursday night. As the dramatic promos say it is ONE NIGHT ONLY. They make it sound as though we are all in for the thrill of a lifetime.

Folks, let me explain. Spelling bees are great entertainment. If it's your kid whose brain is on the block. Otherwise, this Little- House- On -The-Prairie-gone-xxxxtreme business is just really not fun at all. It's like having an art show featuring fingerpaintings previously affixed to refrigerators with magnets. Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of good spelling. Granted, mine is sadly lacking on occasion, but only because I was a huge spelling-bee nerd in Jr. High and personal pride prevents me from using spellcheck. Still, I'm a lover of reading and as such find good spelling a boon insofar as it makes my reading-life easier. Nevertheless, unless I share vast quantities of DNA with the kid, I'm not going to spend hours of my life bored stiff by waiting to see if little Megaprecious spells "constabulatory" correctly.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the rise in popularity of Spelling Bees is just so that parents have yet another outlet to pressure their kids overmuch while grasping at the limelight. They seem awfully close to dog shows, child beauty pagents and travel teams in that 'pimp your kids' way that just grates on my nerves. Bees are really big business these days. My last trip to Starbucks was bubbling over with Akeela and the Bee propaganda. I'm not sure of the reason behind the tie-in, but I assume that deep down it's because people know how much coffee you need to actually stay awake when watching a spelling bee.


At 4:28 AM, May 30, 2006, Blogger Bec said...

Have you seen the documentry Spellbound... actually quite facinating.

At 6:26 AM, May 30, 2006, Blogger John said...

I don't get the cable channel ESPN Classic, but my brother out in California is kind enough to tape "Cheap Seats" for me. This is sort of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" for TV sports, and some of the funniest episodes have been where they've shown (and ripped apart) ESPN's spelling be coverage.

Like you, I don't understand the appeal of spelling bees on TV, but they've actually proven quite popular on ESPN, which is why ABC (which, of course, is all part of the same company) has been willing to give it a try in prime time.

At 9:04 AM, May 30, 2006, Blogger ceeelcee said...

ESPN annually showed a one hour recap of the World Series of Poker for over 10 years before it blew up, crazy-large. Until then, only serious poker players knew who any of the participants were, and the only fun came from analyzing the different characters and personalities involved.

ESPN has aired the Spelling Bee for the last few years as well, and my guess is that they're hopingt the sucees of "Spellboubd" and "Akeela" might lead to kitch culture popularity. It's probably a stretch, but during the summer it's just another form of reality TV.

At 10:41 AM, May 30, 2006, Blogger Southern Girl said...

I was thrilled to see the spelling bee go to prime-time on a major network -- haven't messed it on ESPN the last few years. Like your first commenter, I saw and loved "Spellbound." The kids' reactions during the bee are pretty entertaining...even if you don't have a dog in the hunt. So to speak. ;)

At 10:42 AM, May 30, 2006, Blogger Southern Girl said...

Naturally I *would* have a typo in a comment about a spelling bee.

Should be "haven't missed it on ESPN..." *g*

At 12:20 PM, May 30, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

ditto on the spellbound recommendation, I laughed so hard when I watched that.

At 4:16 PM, May 30, 2006, Blogger Patrick said...

My grandmother, she lives in a motorized wheelchair. And sometimes, when I get really carried away, she makes me sit down and play Scrabble with her until my medicine kicks in.

At 4:19 PM, May 30, 2006, Blogger Patrick said...

Oh, and about your Akeelah-sperience:

The deal makes Starbucks an “equity participant” in “Akeelah,” which means it’ll get a share of Lions Gate’s profits from the movie, as well as a cut of soundtrack and DVD revenue.


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