Monday, March 07, 2011

The Official Rules of the University Challenge Challenge (Drinking version)

1.1 The University Challenge Challenge (henceforth 'the game') is not endorsed by University Challenge, the BBC, ITV Studios, or any other affiliate of the show.

1.1.1 Probably.

1.2 The game is for two or more players, who must provide their own alcoholic beverage (henceforth known as 'the drink').

1.2.1 There is no upper limit to the amount of players.

1.2.2 There is no lower limit to the amount of players, but playing a drinking game on your own is sad, even for University Challenge viewers.

1.3 Players watch the first broadcast of University Challenge (BBC 2, 8pm Mondays) and attempt to be the first to provide the correct answer to the questions. If a player is successful, they must consume a shot of the drink, and cannot answer subsequent questions until their drink is consumed. They are then awarded a point.

1.3.1 Players are only allowed one attempt to provide an answer.

1.3.2 In the event that two or more players give the correct answer at the same time, they each get to have a shot and a point.

1.4 Total silence is paramount for the music round until an attempted answer is provided. Contravention of this rule is penalised by the player taking a shot and having a point deducted.

1.5 The winner is the player with the most points at the gong.

1.6 Twitter interaction is encouraged, using the hashtag #UniversityChallengeChallenge.

Friday, February 04, 2011

On the whole Top Gear-Mexico thing

I watched the recent offending episode of Top Gear, where the usually entertaining Clarkson and May were joined by Hammond, offered their insights into a new Mexican car, and wondered aloud who would want a Mexican car? Fair question; Mexico doesn't exactly have a proud history of motor manufacturing - so who would shell out money in recessionary times for a Mexican car? I was expecting the follow up comments to be jocular car-related rants about the ineptitude of their cars handling, or something similar. Instead I was treated to five minutes of second hand stereotyping. Second hand in that commentary on the work ethics of Mexicans is entirely derived from America, since Britain does not have a significant Mexican community on which to base such frivilous assertions.
Auntie has defended this by saying that exploiting stereotypes for honour form a large part of British comedy. This is true, and when middle of the road comedians are making jokes at the expense of the French (they're rude!) and Germans (towels on the deck chairs!), it can be passed off as banter, mainly because these countries have long histories with each other. Further evidence could be gleaned from Boris Becker's interview later in the show, where he revelled in the accusations of efficiency. But to simply poach a hackneyed cliche from a different culture and ring every unfunny drop out of it, just for the sake of picking a fight (which it appeared was what they were doing) is just, ironically enough, lazy.
Top Gear has definitively jumped the shark (I would say when they started getting guests like Tom Cruise on it, rather than the usual blend of mid table actors and washed up rock stars, although the unmasking of the Stig debacle probably didn't help) and this is probably another piece of timber for the coffin, but let's hope they can get back on track and make the show we love again. I refer you to the feature where they challenged the Australian Top Gear presenters with Ashes jokes and reckless manoeuvring in oversized vehicles - more of this kind of childishness please!