So here we are. Finally! The finale of “The Scholar”. And you’re trusting me to help you through it. You are in sad, sad shape because I am drunk. Or maybe I’m just up past my bedtime. I can never tell what the hell is causing the little men to appear in the corner of the room over there.
The final five contestants are Scot (who needs a haircut in the worst way), Melissa (the braided hottie), Milana (who will cure cancer or die trying), Liz (a smart blonde girl - no I am not making this up), and Amani (the official producer-sanctioned underdog).
At the beginning of the show, we hear a little from some of the other five contestants (collectively known as the Not-As-Smart-As-We-Are-neener-neener-neener-Losers or NASAWA‘L). They tell us how smart these other kids are. DUH! Then we run through the intro where these 10 scholars exhibit their naiveté about their places in the world. Then USC gets a giant plug because the contest takes place on their campus. Trojans suck.
Just want to point something out that was really queer: one of the judges is heard to ask during the preview “If you could have dinner with any famous person, who would it be and why?” But if you run it with closed captioning on, the text reads “If you could have dinner with any Phillip Morris person, who would it be?” Go back and see for yourself. This show about idealistic teenagers has officially sold out to a giant tobacco company.
Sorry, but I had to get that out.
rob nelson from Stanford comes on to tell the five finalists that the final competition is in three parts: baseball, softball and…no, wait…I’m sorry but those have been dropped from the competition. First, the scholarship committee will ask them each a set of questions. At that point, three of them will be chosen to go on to finish the last two parts.
The five finalists receive their questions in a sort of montage so that sometimes you are not sure who is being asked which questions at which time. Not that it matters, the questions are pretty lame, softball-questions. No really tough SAT-style subjects. The questions that each of them receive are:
“If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be? And why?” Scot answers “Jesus Christ“. Since he looks like he just walked off the set from Godspell, this is no surprise. Melissa says “Plato”. With closed captioning on, though, she says “Plateau”. I gotta find out what those closed captioning people are drinking. Milana talks about her dead godmother. Touching and sentimental but not what we were looking for. Here’s a nice parting gift of $50,000. No they don’t say that to her face, but you can feel it coming. Amani drools over Obama Barack (a smart Democratic Senator from Illinois for those of you not up on US politics. You’re welcome.) By the way, Amani, you go ahead and wear that shirt for your interview. There are two men on the committee and with the ahem assets you’ve got, you just might make that woman on the committee take notice, too. Liz takes a moment before answeing “Angeline Jolie”. I laugh my ##### off. The judges do not. The pasty white judge almost bites his tongue off. Bye-bye Liz, don’t go playing with loaded guns, dear because you are likely to remove a few toes.
“What is your greatest weakness? How have you overcome it, and if not how do you plan to deal with it?” Scot: my problem is that I am super-terrific but lazy. Amani: paying too much attention to what others think of me. Which explains the tight shirt.
“What keeps you up at night?” Me: writing summaries for this show Scot: human laziness. do you sense a theme here? Melissa: tolerating each other Milana: stem cell research. Really? Milana has stem cell research on her mind? Over these past six weeks we never would have guessed that, right? Liz: the Patriot Act. We all know that Cheney is a peeping tom and I just don‘t want him to see my oobies.
After this, the five stand around trying not to wet themselves while they discuss how things went. Scot seems sure that he is not getting picked to go on. For those of you who don’t know much about spoiling on reality shows, here’s one typical trick to look for - the person who is really down on their chances is likely to go on. On the flip side of that coin, the person who is pretty sure of him/herself is about to get smacked. Liz, for instance, thinks she did a good job picking Angeline Jolie for her dinner companion. Okay, yeah, I would like to eat dinner off of with Angeline, but I would not pick her as a guest over the hundreds of theoretical dinner guests you could have.
The three members of the scholarship committee, meanwhile, talk about the kids. Let’s remind everyone who the judges are, shall we: Peter Johnson, “ivy league admissions” whatever the hell that means; Marquesa Lawrence, the hip lady from UC Berkeley; and Shawn Abbott, the token white guy from “ivy league admissions”. They all seem to like the progression Amari has made. Abbott says Melissa is more mature than the others. Then they had a good laugh about Liz’s answer. Or maybe they were stoned. We’ll never know. They more or less agreed that Milana was stuck on the whole stem cell thing. Scot was nervous and the producers played back every “um” and stutter that Scot had during the interview. The “ivy league admissions” duo tried to jump on Scot, but the sister from Berkeley was having none of that.
Commercial break: although I love bashing the sponsors of the programs that we watch, I regrettably do not have the time to do so on this summary. And there’s that whole court order thing that I’m not supposed to talk about. Wal-Mart sucks.
Rob nelson is back, and he’s carrying an axe. Two kids are not going on - Milana and Liz. *whack**whack*. I like it short and sweet. These two girls will go far. In my dreams they go all the way. What?
Rob explains to Scot, Amani and Melissa that the next step is for them to have one of the other former contestants (or NASAWA‘L) speak on their behalf before the committee. Amani takes Liz and Melissa takes Milana. Good choices since they were the two who made it the farthest. Scot goes with Jeremy. Yes, that’s right, the Jeremy who never got chosen to go for one of the Captain’s Challenges. Bad choice, Scot. The third and final part of the competition is grovelling before the committee and making suggestive offers.
For some reason we spend a little time with the NASAWA‘L. I will tell you that every time I write NASAWA’L, I giggle a little to myself. Did I mention that I am tired and/or drunk? Davis is especially annoying. You lost, we don’t care about you anymore, shut up.
Probably the most funnest part of this entire show is when they show the kids goofing around and Melissa wrestles with one of the guys. Might have been Davis, but who cares. I watch this several times and I just have no interest in figuring out who the guy is. Did I mention that Melissa was in her pj’s? Yum. Melissa wins the contest. Ooops, I mean she means the wrestling match. Don’t take that as foreshadowing from me or the producers that she wins the whole thing. The show has been over for nearly a week but some of you may still want to be surprised by the winner.
The next day, the scholarship committee gets ready for the testimonials. As each person speaks, we see clips of the person they are talking about. Milana goes up for Melissa, who puts on a good “aw shucks” face. Jeremy goes up for Scot and talks about crying when he didn‘t make it to the final five. Dude, do not ever start a speech about someone else with a little personal story about your emotional fragility. Scot stood off to the side looking like he was a security guard or something. Liz goes up for Amari and actually does a decent job. Amari can’t stand still, though, and it detracts a little from what Liz is saying about her.
Then the “surprise” comes as a favorite teacher or counselor comes to speak for each of the three remaining contestants. Here’s the summary of these comments: “Scot/Amari/Melissa is the greatest student I have ever had. They deserve to win. Our school is getting national recognition and I am basically saying that all of the other kids at our school are losers because they are not on this show.”
In the final stage of the show, the kids speak for themselves. Let’s make this brief, o’kay? Melissa: “I was so inspired by what other people said about me that I threw away my notes. I would like to give back to society.” Scot: “I had a vision. I must go to the Dagoba system. And then I will come back and change the entire world.” Amani: “Life is like dinner. Open up a recipe book.” You know it’s pretty well wrapped up at this point.
The scholarship committee goes into a free-for all with punches and chairs being thrown and one really weird fantasy scene with a rooster and sticks of dynamite. You should have seen it. If you are still reading this summary at this point, there is probably something wrong with you.
We come to the finale and I swear it looks like a wedding scene. Bride’s family on one side, groom’s on the other. Rob nelson is the preacher. He explains that the original five NASAWA‘L each get $20,000 and Milana and Liz get $50,000. These are some pretty nice consolations prizes. Nelson then introduces Eli Broad, the hundred-year-old man who helped put the winner’s full-ride scholarship together. We do the inevitable commercial break when the envelope is opened and then come back to see…
Melissa is “The Scholar”
Congrats to all of these kids who, according to the postscript, make it into their college of choice. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go chase away those little men in the corner.