I can’t stand Child Genius – it’s exploitative, uncomfortable viewing

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It’s all fun and games while it’s going well, but these things can’t always go well – and it’s the response to failure that makes Child Genius rather different from an adult quiz show. There’s something almost voyeuristic about the way Child Genius presents the inevitable moments where its young prodigies begin to struggle. A long shot down a hallway, or a covert pan through a window frame – it’s little short of invasive. Does anyone actually like watching these children cry?

My article on Channel 4 quiz show Child Genius. I was nearly on the radio to talk about this, but then I wasn’t. (I got cut for time.)

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On Two Tribes

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There’s this new quiz show, Two Tribes, which is hosted by Richard Osman and it’s on BBC Two. The catch, apparently, is that their success is dependent on how similar they are to their teammates – seven contestants are split into two teams based on their answers to Yes/No questions like “Are you single?” or “Do you like karaoke?”. The contestants are then asked general knowledge questions, and the team with the most points goes through to the next round. One person is removed from the losing team, and then they’re divided up again for the next round.

But oh my god it makes no sense. They make these divisions, but then that’s it. It’s just a silly little quirk, they don’t actually use the idea to their advantage.

For their success to be dependent on how similar they are to their teammates, the questions should revolve around the thing that split them. So maybe you split them initially based on something silly, like the karaoke questions, and then the questions would be based on a specific area, like World War Two or something. You’d then have to hope that the people similar to you, who like karaoke, are also really knowledgeable about the second world war. (I’d also change it so the entire team goes out each round, because that would spend things along quite a lot.)

Though maybe I should just accept the fact that quiz shows are only ever going to get more ridiculous and we’ve passed the point where they’ll make sense. Oh well, so long as I can answer the questions. (I got a Pointless answer the other day!)

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