Two in-studio contestants compete. Throughout the game, they try to predict the outcome of street interviews. In the first round, "Who Knew It?", the contestants are given a question and then asked to guess which of the interviewees provided the correct answer.
The aim of Round 2, "Who Blew It?", is the exact opposite: now the contestants try to pick which interviewee *incorrectly* answered.
In the penultimate round, "Pick Your Pony," the contestants pick one of the three interviewees and then predict, one question at a time, whether the selected passerby gave a "Right" or "Wrong" answer.
In the final round, the "Wager of Death," the players are read one final question as it was posed to all three people on the street. The contestants select one interviewee, predict whether he/she answered correctly or incorrectly, and wager [from the money they've accumulated thus far] that the prediction is correct. The high scorer won all of the money he/she'd earned throughout the game.
Let's be frank: this is the perfect example of a guilty pleasure. "Street Smarts" doesn't belong to what we know as the reality-show [a misnomer if ever there was one] genre, although this show has a lot more reality than the other rubbish-TV programs. The interviewees display a level of ignorance that simply cannot be scripted.
Geography, politics, religion, celebrities/showbiz, vocabulary/word pronunciation, the human body... these are all topics about which people prove to know very little. It really is amazing just how little some folks actually know.
The contestants aren't the brightest bulbs in the box, either. They're generally poor judges of character and they have little to no sense of strategy, especially when it comes to making the wager.
Frank Nicotero is a decent, relaxed host with a good attitude. Although he seems a little uncomfortable (or at least not very personable) with the contestants, his interactions with the street subjects are always amusing. Frank seems to be a devotee of the Bob Eubanks School of Questioning, which involves milking an ignoramus' idiotic answer for all it's worth.
[Eubanks, on "The Newlywed Game," had a famous exchange with a woman named Cathy, who didn't know what "urban" and "rural" meant. He proceeded to ask such questions as "How long has he been urban?" and "Did the doctor give him anything for his urban?", resulting in hilarity as the woman's responses further proved her lack of knowledge.]
All that said, "Street Smarts" is a game show that may seem mean-spirited in theory but actually is quite harmless. It's not exactly the most riveting game ever devised, but it can be fun. So when someone gives a clueless answer -- and acts quite certain that it is the right one -- go ahead and laugh. It's all in good fun.
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