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This Is The Story Of How I Embarrassed Myself On National TV

TL;DR… I made an absolute fool out of myself.

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Hello there! My name is Jameson and 10 years ago I was on the DEFINITIVE Aussie kids game show, It's Academic.

Channel 7

For those who need a refresher, It's Academic was a kids game show that began in 1968 and ran 'til 2016, pitting primary school kids from different schools together.

After someone applied our school for the show, we had an assembly where we were all told that there would be a general knowledge test.

The test determined the top 15 students who were to make up the five teams of three for the show. I was selected as captain of my team. After this came a LOT of studying, watching countless episodes of the show, and mock tests - all this in an effort to help us cope under the pressure of the show.


Five months later, our school's time had come.


At 7:30am one morning, the five teams (and a bunch of other students who were selected to be in the audience), packed into a small bus and headed for the Channel Seven studios in Epping, NSW.

As the studio was being prepared, the students who sat in the crowd were slowly ushered in.

Most had signs with their schools names written in glitter and bubble writing. This was as ‘00s as it got! It was at this point that my nerves started to kick in. I was sitting there, sweating bullets as the makeup person was applying foundation to my pre-pubescent face.

I remember feeling overwhelmed as we were led into the studio and up to the podiums. A hush fell over the audience. Eminem put it best, "His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy".

The host, Simon Reeve, came over and introduced himself.

Channel 7, NBC

We shook hands and he knew my name! This was a truly surreal moment.


As the theme music began to blare, Simon was given his cue. I sat there fixated on him, stunned, like a deer in headlights. Or more appropriately, a kid who was only just realising he was about to be on national TV.

As the applause light flashed across the studio there was an uproar of cheers from the crowd.

Channel 7

My body froze. I wasn't prepared, I wasn't supposed to be on there! Couldn't I have just swapped with someone else?!

As Simon began introducing our team, my body went into survival mode.

Channel 7

It was like I somehow forgot how to wave. My body began acting on pure impulse, and that is how THIS awkward wave came to be.

On our first question a teammate got the answer wrong and, well, my response was less than measured.

Channel 7

HOLY SHIT! I SASSY AS AN 11-YEAR-OLD! In hindsight, I apologise to anyone who was on the receiving end of this savage side-eye.


Before Simon uttered the last syllable on the next question, I jumped in to answer.

Channel 7

Was it because I knew the answer or because I had no idea and seemed to like the sound of my own voice? I think the latter is on the money. Nevertheless, it was correct.

I was starting to get cocky.

Channel 7

As I have been told, I adjust my seat when I'm right (or think I'm right for that matter). Look, I don't know if it's a power play or a nervous tick, but I guess some things don’t change, like that cocky little grin.

During the ad break, I sat there in fear, thinking of how much we were losing by. My teammates didn’t say anything. We were under pressure and I was starting to act impulsively and recklessly, but I didn’t know it… yet.


Without skipping a beat... I jumped in, which led to this:

Channel 7

HOW COULD I SPELL THAT WRONG?! WAS IT BECAUSE I WAS NERVOUS OR WAS IT BECAUSE I COULDN'T SPELL?! These are questions I'm still trying to find an answer for today.

For the rest of the round I sat there in silence.

Channel 7

I was absolutely gutted. I was screwing this all up and as much as I didn't want to I had to stick through it. Although the thought passed through my mind to run away, I think the producers would've noticed the Jameson-sized hole on camera.

Finally, after what felt like years, the final round was underway.

Channel 7

Even now I don't think i've felt time pass that slowly but this was the beginning of the end. The rules of the final round went like this: The first person to buzz in with the answer won the points… and oh boy. As we’ve all learned by now, I wasn’t coping well under pressure. And this round was a doozy.


As if it were a reflex, I jumped on the buzzer.


The actual episode didn't air for another four months and by that time I had tried to put the loss out of my mind.

All the memories of my abysmal performance, sassy glances, and horrible misspelling seemed like a distant memory.

Not ready to relive it all again, my family and I sat down to watch the show.

CBS Records

To my horror, as the theme song began to kick in, the memories came flooding back to me. My parents were proud at first to see me on TV but I think that novelty wore off by my fifteenth mistake.

When I arrived to school the next day, our prizes were awaiting us.

We recieved Sea-Monkeys, some board games, and a t-shirt. As it would turn out this merely softened the blow of what was about to happen.

At lunchtime I saw people laughing to themselves. As the day went on, I realised what they were laughing at. Everyone in the school had watched the episode last night. One kid came up to me and said, "How stupid can you be?".