Flipping the Scripps

Tonight, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will take place, allowing some bookworm kid (not Charlie Brown) to add a nice little crown jewel to their college application by becoming the National Champ. Last year, Evan O’Dorney took home the prize by nailing “serrefine” in the final round. Nice work, Evan.  Now go outside and play something.  Please.

This year, like last year, the final will be held live on prime-time network television, and millions will tune in to watch Websterites correctly spell words like euonym, elegiacal, and vivisepulture. (It should be noted that all three of these words have been clinchers for past champions, yet Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize any of them.) However, as fun as it is to see kids in white polo shirts correctly spell stuff, I think it would by much more enjoyable to watch the complete opposite. Without further ado, we give you the Versus Presents the 2008 Versus Studio Team Spelling Bee, shown exclusively by Versus on Versus.

Doc Emrick: HELLO!  And welcome to the 2008 Versus Studio Team Spelling Bee, shown exclusively by Versus on Versus.  Since we’ve found out that America does in fact know that we exist in the upper reaches of your cable dial, we’ve decided to compete head to head with ESPN’s parent, ABC, this evening with our own showdown of the not-so-vernacular.  For those unfamiliar with our new and making-it-up-as-we-go history, the goal of our Bee is to crown America’s worst speller.  And rather than collecting hobos, babies, and drunken thieves, we’ve represented you, the people, with our contestants.  The winner will receive a Webster’s Dictionary, a Speak and Spell, and Brooks Orpik.   We have four contestants here in the finals, so let’s just get started, shall we?  Our first contestant is Keith Jones. Mr. Jones, your word is “AFINOGENOV.”

Jones: Afinogenov. A-F-E-E-N-O-G-E-N-O-F-F. Afinogenov. (DING!)
Doc: Excellent. Next, we have Brian Engblom. Brian, your word is “FILPPULA.”
Engblom: Filppula. That’s a great one, Doc.  And I love the effort this guy gives.  F-I-L-L-L-P-P-L-ARG. Filppula. (DING!)
Doc: Well done. Our third finalist is the janitor on Scrubs-

Bill Patrick: My name is Bill Patrick!


Patrick: Sigh.

Doc: Your word is “UMBERGER.”
Patrick: (looking immensely confused) As in R.J? -U-M-B-E-R-G-E-R.  Umberger. (HONK!)
Doc: I’m so sorry, that’s incorrect.
Patrick: What the f-
Doc: I’m sorry, you’ll have to leave the stage.  (and then mop it later.)
Patrick: How am I going to explain this to the Fly-, I mean, my boss.

Doc: Our final contestant my boothmate Ed Olczyk.  Edzo, your word is “PEREZHOGIN.”
Olczyk: (thinks about how he’s not the Pens’ coach, cries into microphone) (DING!)
Doc: Correct, well done! Ok, back to you, Jonesy. Your next word is “OVECHKIN.”
Jones: Ovechkin. “O-V-I-E-T-I-M-E.” Ovechkin. (DING!)
Doc: Clever, indeed. You pass. Brian, the word is “BRYZGALOV”
Engblom: B-R-Y-Z-G-BO-BOP-S-H-U-N. (DING!)
Doc: Splendid! Edzo, the word is “OLCZYK.”
Olczyk: O-L-C-Z-Y-K?…(HONK!)
Doc: I’m sorry, Captain, that was surprisingly correct.
Olczyk: It’s my own name, man.  Give me some credit.  I held a job where my name was written on my shirt.  You know, what?  I don’t need this.  Maybe the Maple Leafs will make me their GM and I can leave this two-bit network forever.  (Or until I get fired again.)

Doc: What? Eh, whatever. Our final two spellers are Mr. Jones and Mr. Engblom. Let’s enter the Lightning round, shall we?

Jones: Lecavalier. L-E-C-A-V-A-L-E-E-Y-A-Y. (ding!)
Engblom: Kuba. C-U-B-A. (ding!)
Jones: Karlsson. C-A-R-L-S-O-N (ding!)
Engblom: Tarnasky. T-A-R-N-A-S-K-E-E. (ding!)
Jones: Boyle. B-O-H-Y-G-L. (ding!)
Engblom: Roy. W-H-A. (ding!)

Doc: That was some truly horrific spelling right there – well done! Ok, Mr. Jones, let’s take this up a notch. Your word is “BUCCIGROSS.”
Jones: (sighs.) Ok, you may have just doomed me, but Buccigross. B-U-C-C-I-G-R-O-S-S.  (honk!)
Doc: I’m sorry, that was accurate. Mr. Engblom, for the win, the word remains “BUCCIGROSS.”
Engblom: Buccigross. B-U-faintsandfallstofloor. Buccigross. (ding!)

Doc: We have our champ, Brian Engblom. SCCCOOOORRRRREEEE!!!!.



  1. Those kids need to be socialized like nobody’s business.


  2. @Dani: In the 4th grade my teacher wanted me to do spelling bees. Even at that age I knew I was too punk rock for it. I was like “Naw, I will take a pass.”

    At least their cup didn’t break.

  3. @ wraparoundcurl: I wish my school’d had spelling bees in the fourth grade. All we had was Mathletics. Long division was my specialty.

  4. Any mock trial teamers in the house?

  5. I kicked ass in the foosball league and cribbage club.

  6. Knowledge Bowl represent.

  7. It was proposed to me by a friend that we go see the Bee live (the benefit of living in DC, I suppose). The question was presented to me as such “I want to go see kids cry. Whaddya think?”

    I never entered another spelling bee after I lost in elementary school for my inability to spell “kayak.” Academic Decathalon was where all the all-stars really hung out, anyhow.

  8. I did a mathletes competition in the fifth grade only because I was the called in alternate. The start player was suspended the day before for bringing some Hustlers to class.

    I also did DECA, debate and student congress.

    I am too nerdy to function.

  9. @CRA – I choose…..Business….Ethics….

  10. Geography Bee champ of my school, not once, but TWICE (still got mopped when I went to the state finals). Also on the goegraphy bee team (and kicked ass.) My first two years of university I did Model United Nations. All through middle and high school I was active in 4-H (actually secretary for a year and later vice president.)

    I think about all that and then I realize that I don’t do shit now.

  11. MYFO; where the dorks converge!

    Wow, as I type this, BBC-A is doing promos for the spelling bee.

  12. I feel so left out of the dorkfest.

    WAC: We had spelling bee’s in 5th grade, but our teacher picked her favorites. She also got fired. I guess you could count me briefly majoring in English education as close as it gets? But you were a mathlete? Did you have a rap like in Mean Girls?

  13. We had weekly spelling bees in 5th and 6th grade. I would win frequently, to the point where the teacher came up with a rule that each week’s winner couldn’t participate the following week. This resulted in me and one other girl winning most of the time.

  14. @ Dani: The punchline is I am fucking awful at math. I wish we had a rap. I can do Kevin gnapoors rap if that counts.

  15. We have the Mathletes in my school, and there’s a TV show here — “It’s Academic” — daily and students from the Mathletes in every school compete for scholarships. Think Jeopardy but with high school kids.

    If I’d have known that there was a Mathlete club in my school (I’m moving and I’m not going to be in the school anymore), I would have joined. But my school only promotes things that they get money for. :'(

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