A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader features kids helping adults answer questions taken from grade-school textbooks that could win the adult contestants up to $1 million. That said, the kids are mainly on the sidelines in this program. The content of the questions is completely unobjectionable, and kids are treated with respect (though young girl's are sometimes compared to pretty celebs like Halle Berry). One aspect of the game -- in which a contestant can "peek" or "copy" a child's answer -- might be seen to endorse cheating.
What's the story?
Family-friendly game show ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER? pits adults against standard elementary school textbooks. Each adult contestant faces a class of real fifth graders (the kids ham it up for the camera) and chooses one to be his or her "classmate" for up to two questions. The chosen student then stands at a podium next to the contestant and can be called on for help if needed. If contestants need help, they can use one of two "cheats." A \"peek\" allows the adult to look at the student's answer and choose whether or not to use it. A "copy" lets the contestant use the kid's answer without viewing it first. Contestants can also use the "save" option -- which lets them get out of an incorrect answer if their student helper gets the answer correct -- once per game.
Is it any good?
The show has a unique concept, though a pretty standard format. Overall Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? is pleasant and innocuous, though it may move too slowly for some teens and adults.
There's a lot of focus on smarts and learning, but ultimately, it's a game that can win a player lots of cash. Nonetheless, viewers who like this sort of thing will enjoy answering questions along with the contestants, and younger viewers might get a kick out of knowing more than their parents for a change.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's hard for grown-ups to answer seemingly simple questions. Kids, how well did you do on the questions? Grown ups, how about you? What do you think this show says about adults' intelligence? Or the type of learning that occurs in grade school?