Notes from attending Test The Nation as part of Team Bloggers:
– Pleasant chat in the waiting area, where we were served an mediocre buffet meal (but, hey, free food) with the other members of Team Bloggers, most of whom were from outside Toronto and thus flown in and given hotel accomodation. Those of us actually living in Toronto realized that we were kind of a bargain for the CBC at this point. Considered asking people to give us money. Decided it probably wouldn’t work.
– I wanted to punch that Borat impersonator in the crotch so much. He never turned “off”; he was Borat the entire fucking time, and I don’t just mean on camera either – he was Borat for like, five hours straight. I seriously wanted to rip off his moustache and shove it down his throat. (I know, I have issues.) Moral: if you’re going to do an annoying comic shtick, at least come up with your own goddamned annoying comic shtick. Ditto the middle-aged guy dressed up as Austin Powers. I mean, for crissake – Austin fucking Powers? Argh.
– That having been said, there was one guy who did a mean Dr. House. I mean – you’d look at him, and wonder “why is this guy a celebrity impersonator person,” and then he’d just switch on and BAM, it’s House. Not House -> House! Not House -> House! It’s nice that he has a talent, is my point.
– The flight crew team members were far and away the nicest and most polite. The backpackers engaged us in a merry war of words, which they of course lost. The chefs mostly kept to themselves, oddly enough.
– I am fairly sure Team Bloggers will never, ever be invited back on Test The Nation, not only because we were so brutally dominant (come on, an average score of 50 out of 60 correct? We rocked house), but because we were, as a group, wholly and utterly unrespectful of television as a medium. The other groups were sitting politely and cheering when told to cheer. I’m not sure how much of this made it onto air, but Team Bloggers was cracking jokes through the entire thing whenever we felt it appropriate (IE, whenever we felt like it, which was often) and cheering like maniacs, not least because our celebrity representative was Samantha Bee. Very frequently we broke into chants of “Bee! Bee! Bee! Bee!” You don’t see people doing that for Carlo Rota, you know?
– This is not to disparage the other celebrity representatives of the other teams, who were all cool – but the other teams were not all rabid fans of The Daily Show, and to a person we were all, well, rabid fans of The Daily Show.
– That having been said, I can’t help but imagine somebody at the CBC was laughing maniacally when they assigned Farley Flex, one of the judges from Canadian Idol, to be the celebrity representative for the celebrity impersonators. You can almost hear them thinking. “Man, who would be a good representative for pretend famous people? WAIT! I KNOW!”
– Incidentally, Samantha Bee is very, very short.
– But, getting back to my point: we were far and away the loudest and silliest faction. Highlights included chants of “Web 2.0,” people (okay, frequently me) saying “bloggers!” in a silly voice whenever a computer-related (or dork-related) question came up, snickering when a particularly obvious question about Youtube or Facebook came along, and a brief but abortive singalong of “We Will Blog You,” which lasted for one chorus before we all broke down laughing. Of course, throughout the entire thing, people were commenting to one another about whatever took their fancy as regards the show, which, and I hate to say it, felt like being on a living messageboard.
– So naturally of course we swept the damn thing (and chanted “sweep! Sweep! Sweep!” because if we’re not getting invited back then we might as well live it up). Our team won. Samantha Bee was decisively the top-scoring celebrity guest. And the overall winner prize, with 57 questions correct out of 60, went to Rick Spence of Canadian Entrepreneur, which is a pity because he has, like, an actual real job and stuff. No, I’m not bitter about only getting 56 right. No, you shut up!
And the cabbies, for coming in last place, get free almanacs. For coming in first place, we get jack. YAY CBC. Although there were gift bags with travel mugs and pens. And Cheap Eats Toronto gave all the blogger team members free copies of the most recent edition, presumably so we would hyperlink to them. (Cunning of them, eh?) No free T-shirts, though, which is a pity because free T-shirts are the currency by which new media individuals (SUCH AS MYSELF) measure their self-worth.
– For those wondering, I was in the fourth row in the blue shirt with the goatee and glasses. I’ll post a picture later when somebody with a camera emails me their pictures.
EDIT TO ADD: Yes, Tricia Helfer was there, and like most of the celebrities beat a hasty exit once the show was over. Team Bloggers’ total interaction with Helfer during the show, during one of the commercial breaks, was as follows:
(Tricia Helfer has wandered over to our seating because the water cart is there. Incidentally, we got no water during the taping. We were hella dehydrated by the end.)
SOMEONE ON TEAM BLOGGERS: Hey! Battlestar Galactica!
(In response, Tricia Helfer waves and smiles and gives a thumbs-up.)
SOMEONE ELSE ON TEAM BLOGGERS: (deadpan) Yes. That is a show she is on.