Tag: television

Local Student on College Jeopardy!


Last week, Goucher College senior Sarah Bart lived one of my life-long dreams:  appearing on Jeopardy!. The Philadelphia native was the first student from the school to make it to the show, after her third time auditioning.

To get on the show, Bart had to complete a 50-question online quiz, with only eight seconds to type each answer… that is, question. Thanks to a high score, she was invited to an in-studio test in New York this past summer, where she had to chat with producers, take another written test, and compete in a practice round using actual buzzers. Scariest of all, perhaps, Bart had to do that short “chat with the host” spot, which involved coming up with a brief but charming anecdote so viewers could get to know her better. No surprise, then, that Bart thinks that contestants are chosen for their personality just as much as their knowledge of trivia.

And while it takes up a full half-hour of TV time, the show’s taping happens over a speedy 13 minutes — yes, that’s including both regular and final Jeopardy.

Alas, the hours that Bart spent watching the show at her family’s dinner table wasn’t enough to get her to the quarterfinals. Despite getting the final jeopardy question correct (What are the Everglades?) and coming away with $18,600… she lost to Tyler Benedict of Columbia University. But Bart can take solace in the fact that she was one of only 15 candidates chosen from 12,000 competitors. Hats off to you, Sarah!

Give Up the Ghost (Sightings), Get on TV


Ever seen a ghost at the University of Maryland? Or had a paranormal experience? Maybe you know of a horrifying tale of supernatural mischief? If so, the librarians want to know.

It’s not just for their own amusement. The University of Maryland is working with the SyFy channel on a new show called “School Spirits,” And no, it’s not about cheerleaders and pep rallies. The University’s archivist, Anne Turkos, has already shared all the spooky stories she could dig up; now she’s reaching out to the community to hear all about their eerie experiences. If something spooky happened to you — and it was on the University of Maryland campus — contact Turkos here. She’ll put you in touch with the producers. Who knows, you (and your ghost) might end up on TV!

SpongeBob SquarePants is Making Your Kids Stupider


In the good academic tradition of keeping things anonymous, when Pediatrics published a study questioning the cognitive effects of a particular children’s television show, they identified it only as “a very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea.”

So all we can say is that a show that may or may not be SpongeBob SquarePants is responsible for impairing kids’ ability to remember, self-regulate, and pay attention (also known as executive function) after only a few minutes of viewing. The study’s authors hypothesize that it’s SpongeBob’s (sorry, we mean the very popular undersea animated sponge‘s) quick pace that may influence the kids’ behavior. (Children who were shown a slower-paced PBS cartoon performed better on the executive function tasks.)

This is, of course, bad news for any parent who’s had to sit through a glacially-paced (and incredibly boring) episode of Blues Clues. SpongeBob is just more fun to watch — for adults at least. But then again, I was raised on a steady diet of hyper-kinetic Looney Tunes, and I turned out fine, I think.

So what’s your take on kids’ TV — a threat to healthy development, or an overblown influence?

Q & A With "Modern Family" Star Julie Bowen


We asked Modern Family star and Baltimore girl-done-good Julie Bowen (nee Luetkemeyer) a few questions about life, the secrets to her success and growing up in Baltimore (in Woodbrook). We learned the Brown University alum and mother of three is not wholly unlike the funny, self-deprecating, lovable character she plays on TV.

Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.
If everyone gets to bed with a clean diaper and minimal whining, I win!

When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?
I thought my most important goals were career related, and in some ways they still are.  I love working and get (overly?) excited about new jobs and the opportunity to work with creative people.  Having three kids in two years, however, has forced me to shift a great deal of focus outside of myself and my own goals which is, frankly, much more healthy.

What is the best advice you ever got that you followed?
My parents told me to get an education, whether I “used” it or not, and I did.  It is still the greatest thing I have ever done even if I rarely dig out Neoplatonism in cocktail conversation.

The worst advice, and did you follow it? Or how did you muffle it?
The worst advice was never direct as much as it was implied.  Some people in my life kept saying I was “lucky” to get jobs, and I shouldn’t push my luck by asking for better salaries or even better jobs.  I spent a great deal of time undervaluing myself, and still feel I have to fight against this mentality as a default mode.

What are the three most surprising truths you’ve discovered in your lifetime?

  1. Kids are amazingly fun.
  2. Kids are amazingly hard.
  3. One person, place or thing will never meet all of your needs. Get a deep bench and keep expanding.

What is the best moment of the day?
5 a.m. Coffee, email, and a book before I go running.

What is on your bedside table?
Half a broken toy truck,  crosswords, three books to read and a picture of my dearly departed dog.

What advice would you give a young person who aspires to do what you are doing?
Get used to hearing “no” and don’t take it personally.  Auditioning is a war of attrition, and if you can resist the urge to quit when you are sure you won’t get a job, you will eventually land on your feet.

Why are you successful?
Am I?  That’s hard to accept…I suppose I have success in acting because I really love it and didn’t look at my failures (there have been PLENTY) and rejections as deterrents.

What was the best thing about growing up in Baltimore?
The Orioles and lightening bugs.

What was the worst thing about growing up in Baltimore?
The humidity!

What do you miss most about Baltimore?
My parents and old friends like Lillie Stewart, Catherine Thomas and Emily Wilson….

What is the thing you must do/place you must visit when you are in Baltimore?
The Irvine Nature Center is the best.  My dad can’t survive without a trip to Tark’s (Grill).  And for culture, the Walters Art Museum is my favorite.

What is your favorite regional delicacy? 
Berger Cookies!!!!  Oh my god!  I always thought you could get those anywhere until I moved away from Baltimore.  What a horrible realization!

Eddie’s or Graul’s?
Graul’s!  The chicken salad alone is worth it.

The creator of “Modern Family” is also from Baltimore.  Do you two ever commiserate on the best and worst of Baltimore?  Did you know each other or any of the same people growing up?

Jason Winer (Friends School alum) directed Modern Family the first season and still has strong Baltimore ties.  We didn’t talk a whole lot of Baltimore, but whenever we did, we used the full-on Bawlmer accent, hon!