Derek No Brain

This post is prompted by BDFL‘s pissed off post on the  Quiz Blog.

When I was in school, I used to always watch the Bournvita Quiz Contest. I’ve seen, I now admit with shame, almost every episode between 1997 and 2001. This includes all the special episodes and the behind the scenes episodes etc. On one such special episode, they showed the kids asking the celebrity guests some questions. One kid asked Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia about different types of flutes etc. One kid however asked Derek O’Brien ” How does one decide what is an easy question and what is a difficult question?”. The point of this question was, I presume, to figure out how they decide what goes in elims and what goes in finals of a quiz. Derek’s answer was, ” Any question to which you know the answer is an easy question and any question to which you don’t know the answer is a difficult question.”. At the time this answer meant nothing to me, but now that I am exposed to so many facets of quizzing (largely thanks to the BCQC) the true impact of this answer becomes obvious.This answer explains a lot about why Derek quizzes are the way they are i.e. why they suck so much.

As far as Derek O’Brien is concerned, any question can be asked in a quiz. As far as he is concerned ” What is the capital of India?” and “What is the capital of former Soviet Oblast of Tatarstan?” is the same question. Whether its easy of not depends on whether the person answering is insane geography freaks like  Yash Marathe or anyone else.

This means that all Derek quizzes are decided on luck.What question you get may be common knowledge or obscure trivia that only a few people in the country would know.

Isn’t it sad that the biggest money quizzes in India are done by Derek and are the ones where many a times the team that deserves to win loses simply because the companies that sponsor these quizzes are too idiotic and lazy to even check if what Derek is doing still qualifies as a quiz or not ?

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8 Responses to Derek No Brain

  1. Abhishek Joshi says:

    lol… Well said. I admit with much shame that I had reached the pre-TV round of BQC in my 9th std once. Thankfully I didn’t make it. I’d have died of shame had I qualified. And become a doctor, like both the idiots who actually qualified for the event. lol

  2. Ramanand says:

    I’m actually going to have to disagree here 🙂 DO’B would not ask the Oblast qn, because the audience would not have heard of it. I think the choice of qns is dictated by what appeals to a lay audience, with some designed to evoke laughter or hilarity (such as qns on Viagra, contraceptives) at the expense of some participants. The formula isn’t designed to appeal to the quizzers, unlike in the hardcore quizzing set circuit, where almost everything is designed for the quizzers (which is why the stands empty in some of our (my?) quizzes i.e. more oblast than delhi, because you’d assume everyone knew the latter). The Landmark quizzes try to balance both with some degree of success.

    There has also been a change in the average BEQ quiz – IMO, the qns have become more general because the lay audience does not really want hardcore biz qns. Ask a qn where the qn or the answer is known to the audience and you will, 95% of the time, get applause. Hence a qn on Kati Patang is better than on operating margin. The luck, unfairness etc. comes from not really caring much (and if you do so many in a year, I bet you’ll stop bothering too) about participants or audiences as long as the show is good, the goodies are better, and almost everyone goes home happy.

    I must admit that based on recent viewings, I’d take BEQ any day over Tata Crucible – which I found mind-numbingly banal in its content and connections, a QM who gives the same performance each time, and another luck-based format.

    • Aditya says:

      Wow! You wrote an entire blogpost here. I prefer Crucible to BEQ as at least the questions are real questions and not bullshit like Jhoote dedo, paise lelo. Some questions may be idiotic but they are still better than BEQ.

  3. If only more than 14 people would hear this!

  4. If only I had a greenback for every time I came here… Superb writing.

  5. Yash Marathe says:

    Sorry for the late comment, been a long time since I’ve read your blog.

    Replying to your last point, Derek unfortunately is a brand name these days, and about the only quizmaster 90% of Indians know. So unless your target audience is the other stuck-up 10% who are only interested in frivolous things like quality questions, fair passing, etc, it makes more sense to go for a known name who’ll attract a bigger audience, whatever be his style of quzzing.

    PS: Tatarstan is not an Oblast, it’s a republic. :pp (Couldn’t resist)

  6. Can’t say anything more than, that I second you.

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