Friday night, holed up in our hotel room in Quebec City, we ordered room service and watched The Great American Celebrity Spelling Bee on tv. What could be more fun than racing to outspell famous people?!
Apparently it ran for three Fridays, but it was only by chance that we tuned in for the final faceoff. The setup was straightforward:
Kept backstage is a little boy named Simir, who won the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee and seems to be smarter than all of the celebrities combined. When a celebrity is stuck, they can use Simir as a cheat sheet. . . . Seeing marginally famous people look terrified at the prospect of spelling ‘cappuccino’ is entertaining, and watching them plead to an 11-year-old boy for assistance just adds to the fun.
Most of it was laughable: The dumb blonde getting really easy words and still missing them. Sherman Hemsley. There were a few smart cookies. And I feel strongly that Alan Thicke was wronged. C'mon. "Ecdysiast"!?! You can't tell me the game wasn't fixed. After making smart jokes for an hour, nailing "sommelier" to the raised eyebrows of his competitors, conquering American spellings (a subject of heated discussion during commercial breaks), and watching his "peers" stumble over words like "maneuvre" and "epitome," even he rolled his eyes at the monster planted to elimninate him.
(I can relate. Grade 11, representing my school, I was ousted on "machicolation." Do not underestimate the import of enunciation and definitions in a spelling bee.)
Brett Butler was a very gracious winner, lucking out on "cornucopia."
So thank you famous people for being dumb, Simir for being a smart-ass and FOX for adding yet another show of good, clean, lowbrow fun to the reality genre.
I want more.