User:Reverend P. Pennyfeather/Clean, Unclean, or Abomination?

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Just a bit of a whim of mine. If anyone has any ideas, or thinks they can improve my writing, please, go ahead.


"Clean, Unclean, or Abomination?" was a popular game-show in ancient Judea, running from approximately 1400BC to 200BC. It was notable for being the first show of its genre, pre-dating the medium of television by over three thousand years. Initially intended as educational programming, it soon developed into family entertainment after the introduction of public stoning of the losers. The discovery of transcripts of the show has given historians useful source material about the era, including the first known reference to Bruce Forsythe, as a guest presenter in 376BC.

edit History

When Moses first brought God’s law down from Mount Sinai, he had difficulty teaching his followers all 613 commandments, and soon found that quizzing was a popular and effective way of educating them. When the Jews finally took possession of the Promised Land, the newly-formed JBC decided to continue this tradition. The JBC, or Judean Broadcasting Corporation (so called as their cast-iron moulds were wider than their competitors’), was a company which used moulds to mass produce clay tablets. They would print a clay tablet with messages and hang it on a public wall for people to read. These messages at the time were often a little boring, however, and it was decided to have a quiz, whereby contestants would be quizzed and the transcript published the day after. A pilot was hastily produced and it proved to be a great success. A man was employed to stand by and count the number of readers, thereby providing future scholars with the first viewing figures, another innovation. The show soon became a permanent fixture.

Over the next few centuries the programme went through a few changes, including the introduction of a studio audience (their reaction would be transcribed as LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE, or STONING as appropriate) and prizes for the winner (two-score shekels of silver and a bushel of grain, usually). Not all changes proved popular or practical. A team format proved so unpopular with viewers that both the Malachites and Reubenites teams were stoned, and was quickly abandoned. The introduction of a picture round, although more popular, was also short lived, largely due to the impracticalities of commissioning single-use sculptures for use on the show. The fact that viewers couldn't see the picture ruined the fun a little. Despite these changes, however, the show continued largely unaltered for a good eight or nine centuries.

Around 500BC, the show experienced a sudden decline in popularity. Viewing figures took a plunge, and the programme never truly recovered. Although the causes are uncertain, this decline is often attributed to a rival, independent broadcaster pioneering colour tablets. This, accompanied with 24 hour viewing and more contemporary programming, caused many viewers to defect from the JBC, and the show suffered accordingly. After various attempts to modernise failed, the JBC pulled the programme, replacing it with "more sensitive" religious broadcasting in the form of "Sodomy: Live!", which proved to be a great hit.


edit Format

The programme consisted of several rounds in which contestants tried to score as many points as possible. A description of the object/activity was read out, and contestants buzzed to answer either clean, unclean, or abomination. The more obscure an answer was considered, the more points it would score, eg. “temple prostitution – A” would score 2, whereas “cooking eagle or osprey along with dairy products – A” would score 5. Examples include “an animal that cheweth the cud, but hath not cloven hoof – U” (3 points); “a woman ten days after her monthly discharge – C” (3 points); “a soldier returning to a military camp before sunset the day after a wet dream – U” (4 points); “yoking an ox and a horse together – A” (2 points); and “using rigged scales in the marketplace – A” (5 points).

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