Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"Small Talk"

Years ago, when Cameron and Ryan were 7 and 6 years old respectively, they were invited to take part in a new television programme. It was called "Small Talk". It was a game show programme that involved adults on a panel being asked questions and then the adults having to choose which child/children they thought would give the correct answer to the question. I believe this was a spin off from a British tv programme of the same name, hosted by Ronnie Corbett.

In New Zealand, the show only ran for one season...I think this was due to the fact that the parents and grandparents of the children involved were the only ones watching it. The questions would be asked...then the adults would say something like "Um I choose Cameron and Ryan, I think they know the answer to this (or don't know the answer)". Got it?

The questions were asked by studio staff and the boys were taped giving their answers. Any and every answer was taped...then the studio would edit that to fit in with the actual programme for that evening. Each programme there was a total of 9 children up on a large panel that the contestants could pick out. Like this: (my 2 are right in the middle if you can't tell)

They chose to film my boys together as one unit...instead of individuals. I liked this...Mum being the paranoid person that she is, liked the idea of her boys having each other to lean on during this experience. The studio staff told me they'd never seen two children so in tune with each other...the boys fed off each other...finished each others sentences etc.

During one weekend of filming, I was fortunate enough to watch some taping from the control room. This was only due to the fact that I'd been rung to come back, after dropping the boys off, because Ryan had said he wasn't going to say anything due to feeling unwell. I was called on my cellphone to collect him and they would film Cam on his own. By the time I arrived back at the studio, Ryan had said he would be ok, he would just sit there next to Cameron and not say anything. If you knew my 6 year old at that time...him NOT saying anything would be virtually impossible. Most of the taping involved Cameron answering the questions and Ryan interrupting him or talking over him. The kids were to sit behind a small school desk while they were being "interviewed". While Cameron answered the questions as best he could at the time, Ryan sat beside him playing with a Batman toy ignoring what was going on.

I heard one of the recording staff say under his breath "Come on Ryan, DO something". Course, Ryan couldn't hear him...but like magic, the "action" switch flicked on in my youngest son. From that moment on Ryan spent the rest of his time, leaning all over the desk, leaning against Cameron....fallling off his chair etc. At one stage he was lying across the desk looking up his brother's nose. He reached up to put his finger up Cameron's nose. Cameron was becoming tense with this new turn of events. He was on camera, and very aware of it...his brother's activities were going to blow his chances of stardom. He politely brushed away Ryan's hand...all the while answering questions with as much decorum as possible. The recording staff were wetting themselves laughing. Cameron just kept going, trying his best to ignore Ryan, but the occasional "look" was directed at his brother...I could read his mind.....oh the shame of it all.

As parents we were invited to particpate as the studio audience, and invite whomever we liked. Besides myself and my husband, the boys' primary school principal, the majority of her teaching staff, their grandparents and aunts and uncle were present. There were obviously lots of other people too, but I don't know who they were...so they're not important for this post lol.

This pic was taken just after Cameron had finished introducing himself...he then pulled Ryan to centre screen so he could introduce himself too..."and..and...my name ith Ryan, and I'm hith bruvver and I'm sith yearth old" (kid had missing front teeth at the time, can you tell??).

I'm not sure how I felt about how things went that first night....the adult contestants were actually starting to annoy me. When one chose my sons he said "I'll take the "Terrible Two" Cameron and Ryan"....I wanted to stand up and say "I beg your pardon?...how can you be so judgemental??!".....when another said that he didn't think either of my two knew how many stars were on the New Zealand flag I wanted to stand up again "How DARE you make such assumptions!!". But...I didn't, I sat there quietly simmering instead. My husband spent most of his time hanging onto the bottom of my blouse...he'd seen the look on my face and was ready to yank me back down, should the need arise. Smart man. (Incidentally, Cameron answered the flag question immediately with "4 and there's a Union Jack as well" (that's correct in case you didn't know lol)...his school principal told me later, it took all she had not to jump up and yell "Ha!, Take that LOSER!" to the contestant.

Some questions asked, and answered:

What is a spitoon?
Cam: "It's one of those things that are in pubs...people bite the end off a stick and spit in the bowl"
What are dreadlocks?
Cam: "Goldilocks' sister?"
What country is Nelson Mandela president of?
Ryan: "Um...that question is a little bit too hard"
Cam: "America? United States of America? uh....Australia?!"
Do you know who the Beatles were?
Cam: "They're a band like The Monkees."
Do you know anyone who smokes?
Ryan: "My mother smokes but she's giving up at the moment....I think it's going to take a long time." *rolls eyes and sighs*

This pic is taken right after both boys say "yeah" about Mum giving up smoking. Look how happy they are about that...It made me take note of how smiley that thought made them both.

and my favourite question/answer:

What do Mermaids wear?
Ryan gasped "I know!" and his hand shot up to answer (in fact, his hand shot up several times during the tapings, must've thought he was still in school)
Cameron takes over again: "They wear a fishtail and..um...*blush*...breasts...they wear breasts" *nervous giggle*

100 POINTS!!!!

The boys were on 6 episodes during that season. I've just finished watching all 6 episodes this morning and thinking back to how cute and innoncent they used to be *sigh* Oh well, can't expect them NOT to grow up now, can I?

(PS: sorry about the quality of the pics, I took them all while I watched the telly today lol)

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