Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fear on Family Feud

Chances are, everyone of a certain age is familiar with Family Feud, a game show that premiered back in 1976.  Two families compete against each other for money by answering survey questions. The original show was hosted by Richard Dawson.  Since 1976, the show has been cancelled a few times, in 1985 and 1993 but it was revived each time. The current show is hosted by the comedian Steve Harvey.

I enjoy trivia but I always had a problem with the show because of the system of scoring.  Typically, the two families would play three rounds before two members of the winning team went into a final "Fast Money" round.  When I watched the show, the third round earned triple points. With triple points, a family could lose the first two rounds, but still win the game in the third round because of the triple points.  It seemed to me, whichever team won the third round would win.  It didn't make sense to even play the first two rounds.  I haven't watched the game in a long time, so perhaps the format and the scoring has changed.  I hadn't thought about the game until last Monday.  A friend of mine sent a text that said, "Have you heard about tonight's Family Feud episode yet?" I hadn't heard anything, but later I saw a Facebook Post from my friend's wife.  Evidently, friends of hers were on the show that night.  My friend and his wife are both little people.  She, along with many others, had received a message from her friends, announcing that they were scheduled to be on Family Feud on November 25.  So that night, my friend's wife, along with many others who probably don't typically watch the show, tuned in.  In the "Fast Money" round, one of the questions was, "What is a toddler most afraid of at a circus?"  The second person to play in the "Fast Money" round answered, "A midget."  My friend's wife ended her email post with, "I had to try to explain to my seven-year-old why I changed the channel."  

I didn't see the show on November 25.  I haven't been able to find a clip of that segment on the internet.  But I would guess that the contest who answered "midget," didn't do so because the contestant thought it might be the right answer.  The contestant did so because no other answer came to mind, and "midget," while it might not earn any points, could generate a laugh. If that is true, it reinforces the idea that a so-called fear of little people is rooted in prejudice and ignorance.  People claim such a fear not because of any legitimate phobia but as a way to generate attention.  

It's bad enough that a contestant on Family Feud answered the question using the m-word.  It must have been many times worse for my friend, his wife, and his family to watch the show, especially considering that they knew the contestants. My question is, why did a contestant who announced a family of people of short stature use the word, and why didn't Family Feud edit that scene? 

1 comment:

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