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.