500 Questions

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
500 Questions TV Poster Image
Quiz show for geniuses trades cash for right answers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Genius mainly defined by higher education, high exam scores. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Contestants competitive but polite. 

Violence

Harmless competitive banter. 

Sex

Subtle innuendo that will go over kids' heads. 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcoholic drinks discussed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 500 Questions is a quiz show in which smart people answer difficult questions for money. There's some fun competitive banter and a few references to violence and drinking and, on rare occasions, some innuendo that will go over younger kids' heads. It’ll appeal to quiz show fans, but it's probably not entertaining enough to hold younger kids' attention. 

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What's the story?

500 QUESTIONS stars the smartest people in the country playing the toughest game ever devised. Hosted by journalist Richard Quest, the five-day-long quiz show requires a "certified" genius to answer 50 consecutive questions in areas that range from medicine and Asian history to '80s films and cocktails. They earn money for each correct answer and only get the cash if they get through the round. The catch? If a contestant answers incorrectly three times in a row, he or she is eliminated from the competition. Select "battle" questions force the contestant to face off directly with a challenger, who's hoping to knock the contestant out. There's no multiple choice and no one to "save" them, so each contestant must rely on his or her smarts to make it through. 

Is it any good?

Starring contestants from attorneys to neuroscientists, the show has an entertainment factor that comes less from the money to be won and more from the pressure to answer each question well within the 10-second time limit to stay in the game. Random "battles," "triple threat" questions, and the host's suggestions about potential missed strategies all are designed to add to the hype. The series drags on a bit as contestants answer question after question. Meanwhile, though the show claims an intellectual approach, the questions are mainly focused on general knowledge and trivia rather than anything academic. But if you enjoy quiz shows, you'll find it worth watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes someone a "genius." What’s the difference between being smart and being a genius? How is this measured? Is it knowing lots of answers to questions? Having a university degree? Getting high test scores? How do TV shows like this one affect the way we think about what makes someone smart? 

  • Families also can talk about answering questions under pressure. Do you think you'd be able to think on your feet on a game show like this? 

TV details

For kids who love game shows

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