If you can read this, then Test the Nation has finished airing on the west coast.

I didn’t win.

But I had fun, and I was on the winning team, and the winner was on our team, and hey, trip to Toronto!

Your winner, Rick Spence:

Photo by Rannie Turingan.

Some brief show notes:

I think the producers were frankly shocked the winning score was as high as 57, and that the average score of the winning team was so high (50, I think). I don’t have my score yet, but I rough estimate is low 50s. Above average in the group, but not as high as I hoped.

The bloggers group was loose, having a lot of fun (we routinely cat-called and taunted the celebrities and backpackers) and were probably too loud in the studio (the crew wanted us to make some noise, and we obliged with undying love for Samantha Bee). I think this was partly borne from the sense (early on) that we were the favorites and not by a little, and partly because we’re all naturally opinionated and outspoken. I’m not sure the crew were expecting such a perky group.

It wasn’t clear in the studio (chefs sat farthest from us), but my wife says Bob Blumer seemed really peeved by their “vegetarian” gaffe on the show. Which is a fairly massive boner if you’ve done even a little bit of pre-show research on your featured guests. The bit where the Bloggers momentarily booed our (leading) selves was a funny miscue. They had the host standing by the taxi drivers, and trying a deceptive reveal, which backfired because when he said “taxi drivers,” they started cheering, drowning out his “sit down,” which left them cheering, and most of the bloggers booing. I figured out what was going on fairly quickly (amusingly, because I arrogantly assumed there was no way the taxi drivers could be leading), but by then everything was confusion. That’s live TV!

Ms. Bee (who I have to confess, I have never heard of before) was a very generous celebrity guest, staying and meeting with numerous bloggers after the show, despite already experiencing disturbing outpourings of love from our direction during the show. Tricia Helfer wisely bailed as soon as the lights went up and was never seen again. I believe that had she not, the combination of Battlestar-driven nerd-lust and CBC-grade security may have led to a riot. I won’t name the blogger who quietly said (as she came close to our section) “I’ve seen you naked….”

Having piled us into the studio after three hours of (catered) waiting in a huge (studio-sized) holding room, they rolled us into the studio, did some rehearsals, and, well, we spent nearly three hours in the seats without being able to leave, so some people were pretty thirsty. After the show started, the celebs appeared on stage, and during the breaks, they got water! We did not. The bloggers started pleading (all during the breaks) with anyone within earshot to let us have some water. This was more in jest than in seriousness (Samantha Bee’s efforts to get the crew to take pity on us were in vain), but then even the PAs got some water on their breaks!

Every description of the nerve centre was so hokey that when the bloggers weren’t rolling their eyes, they were outright laughing. There’s some fairly nifty clicker technology involved (I’m not going to laugh at any system that can instantly tally 180 answer clickers), but the big computer was probably either that laptop on TV or a fairly lightweight server.

The odd groups made for a pretty good pre-show mixer. I have to admit that there was definite cliquishness (the white-jacketed chefs all in one corner, the cab drivers having fun at their tables), the draw of the celebrity look-alikes and air crews led to a regular stream of traffic circulating through those two areas. You could routinely enjoy the sight of wannabe-paparazzi photographic fake celebrities in the break room.

It was fun. Did I say that already, because it was.

I am a winner!