waynepygram.com: Matchwits Mini-Reviewed

waynepygram.com: Matchwits Mini-Reviewed

What is it? Locally-produced half-hour quiz show for high school competition 
Where did it air? On local area Colorado Public Broadcast Stations, so you can only view it if you live in this specific geographic area (or go to the Matchwits website, I guess. I don't know where that is, uhh, Google Matchwits I guess?)
Who stars in it? Craig Eliot, the "quizmaster," and...I'm sorry, but he's a complete and total putz. He's got all the personality and presentation skills of toast - but not just any toast, specifically an attempt to make toast by taking a slice of Wonderbread and leaving it out under the Colorado sun on a cloudless day in early January, between the start of a rerun of Henry Danger and when you get it back during the first commercial break. But I'll rant on that more during the actual review. Beyond that, it's strictly whatever random high schoolers happen to be competing in whatever particular episode, very likely in their only television appearance for their entire lives. 
Why are we reviewing this? Well mostly because I want to rant but in my defense it does fall within the incredibly broad, expanded purview of "Nickelodeon and Disney Channel."

So a little bit (more) background about me: when I was in high school, when I wasn't pissing my precious social time away arguing not just Star Wars, but Star Wars canon status (yeah, seriously, don't do that) I was really into the local quiz bowl competition scene. Like really into it, hardcore. It was my sport. I have particular, fond memories of that time, my fondest memories of high school by far. Yeah, it was a simpler (and sadder) existence. 

Anyway, and so that is why I feel I have the authority to piss all over Matchwits, because as far as something actually being on television for entertainment's purpose is concerned, it's a gigantic flaming trainwreck of epic proportions.

I understand that's not strictly the primary purpose of the show, but really - if you're going to televise it at all, put some effort into it. From an objective television standpoint, it's an extremely poor, amateurish and outright sloppy production to the extent where it makes you wonder just want kind of care are they actually putting into it. From the standpoint of just being a high school quiz bowl competition - it's still an extremely poor, amateurish and outright sloppy production. Really, it's freakin' embarrassing. I mean it.

Of course don't blame the kids on this, they're just along for the ride really. The fault lies two-fold at the feet of Craig Eliot himself, who is just woefully under-equipped to be in front of his own selfie, let alone any camera even a modicum a step above that (no seriously where the hell did they find this guy?) and the general behind-the-scenes team.

I mean, if you're in the Colorado area watching this (or if you can find it online) and if you've ever had quiz bowl experience, you'll know exactly why this is such a shocking embarrassment.

For starters, the rules and structure of the competition itself is rather sloppy, if not outright thrown together. Inconsistent rules, frequent acceptance of flat-out wrong answers, categories are often esoteric beyond any possible genuine audience interest (and unsurprisingly often beyond any ability of the competitors to get more than a measly handful of points) and I swear are stacked to favor certain teams over others, to the point where utter blowouts are the freakin' norm. Seriously, competitions are often decided well before the second round, or about 8 minutes of air time (being a local PBS station production, there's no commercial breaks). And by that I mean, there have been many if not most games where by the end of the second round (out of four or so) the ability of the team falling behind to catch up is mathematically impossible, as in there are not enough points left to be awarded in competition to allow them to tie or exceed the score of the other team. You know what that is the result of? Extremely bad competition design.

Then there's Craig Eliot who...hooo boy. I should get clips of this. Frequently slipping up questions, frequently mispronouncing even relatively basic words or just stumbling over his speech, all the while eating up valuable competition time and just being a genuine liability to the competitors. I'm absolutely serious when I mean, get this guy otta there.

Putzes like Eliot severely undermine the teams, the players, and the entire competition in their ineptitude and utter inability to actually be proper quiz hosts, and when combined with his Wonderbread toast-under-the-sun personality makes the frustration for the viewer a palpable endurance test. You just can't help but feel sorry for the kids and their parents and family in the live audience (let alone those who are there thinking they're in for a legitimate treat) who are forced to sit through this. 

I'm not even kidding when I say my old freshman math teacher who served as our school's host did a far better job, not only in the liveliness of his presentation but in his actual fairness - careful enunciation of words so that there wasn't any fatal misinterpretation, professional delivery so to avoid tripping over his words, and done in a way such that the question was delivered clearly, but didn't obviously cut into competition time. Hell, I can literally be a far superior host to Craig Eliot. I mean it. Consider this my official application, Rocky Mountain PBS.

TL;DR: Matchwits is a fucking trainwreck. Fire Craig Eliot.

Series Grade: F. Given how much of an embarrassment this entire spectacle is, I feel I have no moral choice to award any grade other than this. These kids seriously deserve better.
Series MVP: The students who compete in this, definitely
Series LVP: Craig Eliot by a wide country mile. Again, who the hell is this guy and where the hell they'd get him in the first place?  It's been brought to my attention just exactly who the hell Craig Eliot is - a weatherman for one of the Colorado Springs stations, and...he's also a survivor of a horrific accident that resulted in a brain injury so...I'm officially withdrawing all criticism I have of him, and removing him from being the "LVP." That said, I stand by my original grade because it's very clear to me that the problems are endemic to the basic structure and organization of the competition, and that wouldn't change with Eliot or someone else in his place. So I'm instead awarding LVP to the behind-the-scenes runners and organizers as a whole.


Extra Thoughts:

 - for some reason this competition seems to favor schools up in the mountains on the Western Slope; schools along the Front Range and even on the plains (that'd be the flat part) seem to do rather poorly.

 - Oh yeah when my alma mater competes from what I've seen they kinda suck too, although I think they won the championship last year, for what it's worth
Baca Juga
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