Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2007

Impromptu Trev-o-Vision: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Sorry for the interruption, everyone, I thought tonight would be a quiet night in front of the TV, but NAY! ABC is showing the finals of the 2007 Spelling Bee. ESPN...spelling....they're not going to attack children are they? YES THEY ARE!

A brief tally of the first 30 minutes:

15 finalists
3 kids from Canada
10 words
5 kids eliminated
10 kids asking for the language of origin
1 kid taking almost all of his 2 minutes unable to repeat a word he has heard

Let's start with that. ESPN started its rivetingly glossy coverage with Mike and Mike, their morning talking heads, and Stuart Scott making sure he has puns ready for every part of speech. First kid up? Well, he reminds everyone that we're at a spelling bee. I'm not going to knock his stereotypical pastiness because he can probably shut down this site with mind powers, but it was still a sight to see him mispronounce not one, but two, pronunciations of "girolle." I dont know what that is, but I sure as hell could have repeated it like Dr. Ginormous McDictionary C.S.C.

With the first kid done in record time (Thanks for the shot clock graphic, WWL!), we move on to something like 4 out of the first 5 kids getting cut almost immediately. That's ok though, its a 2-hour program, and what can ESPN do better than anyone else? FILL TIME! That's right. 10 minutes in, and we've got ourselves a slick puff piece following a nice girl out in the forests of the Pacific whatever. Great story: adopted to a family of adopted children, plays sports, flute, piano, etc etc, she even knits for premature children. Seriously, that's phenomenal, good for her! I cant take away from that, but ESPN sure can. Ah, the irony of the puff piece. By the way, no sooner did the vaseline lens come off the camera, she grabbed some bench.

And we're back interviewing the mispronouncing kid! Again, nothing to take away from his extremely high INT rating, but do we really need to have Stuart Scott interviewing him? The kid is a nervous wreck, he just had to spell in front of the largest spelling audience ever, and he didn't seem all that well adjusted to begin with. I just feel sorry for him as his voice shakes and he tries to give Stuart what he wants, post-interview sports cliches in spelling terms. "I thought to myself 'Was it a word I'd practiced?' 'I thought I had it.'" Poor kid. I think he's going to cry. Hell, I might just cry for him. Stu signs out mentioning that his favorite NBA player is Steve Nash.

Coming up on 50 minutes in, and we're down to roughly 8 contestants. I just feel like the producers are pulling their hair out, trying to get the dictionary guy to throw "couch" or "Rizzuto" out there, just to stretch it out. It's not even halftime, and I don't think they have fluff reels lined up for all of these kids, or do they? Check back, as your now unshifted Trev-O-Vision starts.....now...

Top of the hour, 8 kids left. The rules of the spelling bee in 30 second musical-comedy form. I can't make this up.

"Someone to watch out for, Amy Chyao." ESPN, now giving 13-year-old girls the Kiss of Death. If you told me she was the Black Widow of spelling, I'd believe you. But...time is running out for her to write imaginatively on the back of her name placard...the word is grognard....DING! The infernal bell brings us down to one young lady in the remaining 7....Let's meet her now! Cue the funky beats the young people listen to!

I think we're having a television-enforced recess. Either way, what a perfect time for an interview/puff piece! This one is easily twice as long, following young Evan's math and musical background, and, after all of that, we're still in recess. At least they didn't cut immediately to a commercial break, and we're back into round 8. 7 kids with the newly endearing Evan up to the plate. Great...my tivo is tied up recording "Pirate Master." I think I heard a bell, but now I want to know what happened to the loveable scamp. (He's OK, I think...)

Restarting the round. We're back to my favorite character, Joseph Henares, he who guesses the definition of each word after it has been read. He misses the guess on "triticale"s definition, but he still says his trademark "Oh, my gosh!" Big Joe nails the Latin root and lankily skips back to his seat. Good on him.

Poor nervous Conor. Knocked out by "cachalot," a sperm whale. What is that? Just say, "Your word is 'sperm whale.'" We're down to 6? Worldwide graphics, why have you forsaken me!

The ever wily Latin to French, French "fauchard" claims another victim like the long convex medieval sword it is...and another one bites the dust. I have to start feeling that the Canadians are at a natural advantage with all of the French showing up this year.

"Shaq's Big Challenge"-Big Aristotle takes 6 kids to fat camp. Words....they should have sent a poet....to the tivo!

Now we're at a time crunch...something like 20 minutes left, and we've still got 5 kids hanging on. It's not the time for analysis on "theyre all winners," and it's certainly not the time to interview the newly minted non-winners. Stuart Scott, back in the interview nook thinking he should have Olbermanned years ago.

Supercalifragilisticexpeali-get on with it!

Definition Joe fails to attempt the definition of "aniseikonia", I'm getting a little worried for our gangly contestant. Is everything alright? Perhaps he's hiding an injury. Stu? Too late! The bell claims another victim, and then there were 4. DING! Now 3! We're on the verge of "championship level" words here, people. I'm fired up.

Before we can even get into the finals, the lone girl falls. The puffed-up Evan and the non-puffed possible-Canadian Nate. We all know who my money's on. I'm calling up the Germans right now for odds. Off the Board after round 7. Bastards.

Commercials in Spelling Bee overtime...what a good idea.

Zoilus! Pappardelle! Yosenabe! The heavyweights are toeing the line! It's like Rocky IV with Canada! This rerun of Grey's Anatomy will definitely not be seen in its entirety! We may just go straight to late local news! Riveting. (Ok, maybe it will be shown in its entirety...take THAT local news!)

Oh no! The Canadian is cut! He's down on "coryza!" Let's go, Evan! I can't believe how riveted I am!

The word is "serrefine", a small forceps for clamping a blood vessel. We have ourselves a winner! A large cup, a British looking aide, and a forlorned Canadian. God Bless America!

Stuart Scott with the final interview, first question, "Why didnt you like the spelling bee?" Our champion, Evan, still disillusioned with the "rote memorization" of spelling. I feel betrayed by the puff piece, but still riveted just the same.

Trev Alberts is FireMarkMay's Il Duce Emeritus. We don't have any alternate pronounciations.



Blogger lawzme said...

The enunciator at the Spelling Bee competition should have been disqualified. The bee was difficult enough without his lack of articulation and phonetic abilities. Get a Brit next time or someone who can speak with more clarity.

I love the Bee and it would be more pleasant with someone more articulate.

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