Bear with me for I'm breaking away from my norm today to wag my finger at Canadian TV producers. And since it involves the Discovery Channel and highly intelligent people, it shouldn't be too much of a stretch.
Last night, I caught the season finale of Canada's Greatest Know-It-All on the Discovery Channel. This is also the only episode of CGKIA (??) I've ever seen, but my fiancee has kept up on the show enough to explain any missing details. For those of you unfamiliar or outside of the Great White North, it's a contest in which 10 self-proposed know-it-alls competed against each other through a variety of mental events to determine who was the greatest. What I saw both pleased and disgusted me.
Disgusted because of the blatant attempts at confrontation the show splattered across the screen, from the host's loudspeaker efforts to demean the contestants to bringing back a truly detested former contestant eliminated long ago for the sole purpose of stirring up shit, it was so obvious the producers wanted confrontation. Count me amongst the minority, but this is why I detest most reality TV. If I thrived on watching people argue, I'd grab a chair at the mall and be one of those people watching couples, parents, and total strangers bitch at each other.
What pleased me were the two final contestants themselves: Dave and Ted. While Ted was declared the winner, both men displayed true Canadian courtesy, respect, and admiration for the game and their opponents. They focussed on the Canadian side of "Canada's Greatest Know-It-All," even going so far as to discuss how demeaning the term "know-it-all" can be. When another contestant was eliminated in the first half of the finale, Dave defied the host's orders and made a point to walk over the soon-to-depart contestant to shake his hand in congratulations. When both Dave and Ted were forced to confront an eliminated contestant whom they didn't respect (and it was easy to see why), rather than take the bait, they agreed to turn their backs on him.
It got worse. For their final challenge, the two final contestants had to stand in front of 100 unselected applicants and prove why they were to be the greatest of them all. The entire set-up was reminiscent of victim impact statements in criminal trials. Everything screamed confrontation and the host - whose name I couldn't give two shits to memorize - grinned gleefully at the prospect of watching them bleed. Thankfully, the contestants were smarter than the show for more than one reason.
If I enjoyed the episode, it was only because of pride for the contestants. Good on ya, boys. You've done everyone proud by sticking to your guns and doing what made you smart in the face of others - marching to the beat of your own drum.
And seeing as there were commercials advertising new contestants for a 2nd season, I'm hoping producers have learned to tone that crap down or the new contestants will take note of how true winners play a game of intelligence. Will that be the case? Let's just say I'm not putting any money down on that bet.