Monday, 9 January 2012

Bad Luck!

I've talked before about our fondness for game shows.  I've recently noticed something about quiz shows here in England.  Maybe it's just certain shows.  I can say I've noticed it on both Pointless and Eggheads as well as on the morning music quiz "Pop Master" on BBC Radio 2.

When a contestant gets an answer incorrect- even if their answer is the dumbest, most unlikely answer ever- the host will let them know that they are incorrect and then say "Oh... bad luck!"  It always strikes me as funny.  It isn't really bad luck to get the answer wrong.  Wait- that's not true.  Sometimes it is.  Like if the person was guessing between two options and chose the wrong one.

But for the most part "bad luck" just sounds like a strange response to me.  I mean, a quiz show is ostensibly about knowledge.  If you don't have the knowledge required, it isn't bad luck... it's just... bad.  Bad preparation?  Bad knowledge?  Maybe.  Bad answer!  Definitely!

It just strikes me as the host's (perhaps on order from the producer) attempt to coddle the offending player's feelings and ego.  Is this just another symptom of a society overly concerned with people not being made to feel bad about themselves?

I don't think that American quiz show hosts do this, but maybe I just didn't catch it.  Anybody out there know?

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