Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Game Show created for FOX hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy in which contestants tested their wits on common school-related topics (geography, spelling, math, etc.) against a panel of 5th-Graders for a chance at $1,000,000. It had the typical 21st-century game show Tropes of a money tree, pseudo-lifelines to help with the questions, and a loud audience, but it's a surprisingly good watch. The show first aired in an hour-long format for three seasons between 2006 and 2009. (There were been many complaints from actual college students who insisted they never learned this stuff, most likely due to the subject material having been changed since they moved on from 5th Grade.)

In September 2009, the hour-long show ended and a half-hour syndicated version replaced it, with a top prize of $250,000. The syndicated version featured a slightly different format; each category was worth a dollar amount based off its level, winnings went to a bank (which got erased if a player answered incorrectly), and the player could opt to play a bonus question to increase their winnings by 10. This version was canned in March 2011.

The following Game Show tropes appear in Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?:
  • Bonus Round: The Million-Dollar Question on FOX, the 10× (5th Grade) Bonus Question in the syndicated run.
  • Celebrity Edition: There were two runs of celebrity weeks, where celebs from Ken Jennings to Larry the Cable Guy (talk about Obfuscating Stupidity!) played for money.
    • This would eventually become a recurring feature on the half-hour syndicated version.
  • Let's Just See What Would Have Happened: Even if the contestant chose to quit before seeing the final question, they made him answer it anyway just to fill up the time slot.
    • Seemingly averted in the half-hour edition, or if the person didn't want to even see the question.
  • Lifelines: "Peek", "Copy", and "Save". The first two showed your classmate's answer (and with "Copy", locked it in), the third allowed you to continue even if you gave a wrong answer, as long as the student had it right.
    • The syndicated version only had "Peek" and "Copy" -- any incorrect answer by the contestant emptied their bank.
  • Personnel:
  • Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: While most questions fit the theme, a few might better suit the show "Do You Remember All the Footnotes In Your 5th-Grade Textbooks?" Yet others were, while still solvable by any clear-minded adult, clearly higher than 5th-Grade level; algebra appeared on the show, for instance, even though algebra is traditionally taught to high-schoolers and occasionally middle-school upperclassmen.
  • Who Wants to Be Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?: Mainly with the lifelines.
Other tropes include:
  • Catch Phrase / (partial) Title Drop: The theme song.
    • At the end of each game, if the top prize wasn't won, the contestant (at Foxworthy's insistence) turned to the camera and said "My name is [name], and I am not smarter than a fifth-grader." If the contestant won, they declaring themselves Smarter Than a 5th Grader.
    • Also used in the Couch Gag.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: Played hard. Foxworthy talked so slowly, you could see a commercial coming a mile away and easily look up the answer online before it happens.
  • Couch Gag: Jeff Foxworthy usually tossed off a one-liner in the show's closing seconds, which replicates his famous "You Might Be A Redneck If..." comedy routine.
    • Sometimes this was also heard in the middle of commercial breaks.
  • Did Not Do the Research: One commercial-break question asked about the world's tallest man, Robert Wadlow. The show misspelled his name as "Ladlow", and Foxworthy pronounced it as spelled.
  • Grand Finale: The last FOX episode had the night's contestant, a Nobel Prize winner and actual rocket scientist, win the million.
  • Spiritual Sequel: Don't Forget the Lyrics, a sister show, had a very similar format. It's almost a carbon copy of it, too.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Cathy Cox's million-dollar win aired as the second hour of a night (the first had Kathy Ireland). The trailers hinted that at least one of them would win the money — then, after Ireland's game aired, that Kathy would win the million. Many viewers went somewhere else for 50 minutes, then came back to see her answer the Million-Dollar Question.
  • Trans-Atlantic Equivalent: The UK's Are You Smarter Than A Ten-Year-Old?