Real Or Fake Merit Badge? Scouts these days know how to do everything, even nuclear science. In this game, contestants guess if Boy and Girl Scout merit badges are real or fake.
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Real Or Fake Merit Badge?

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Real Or Fake Merit Badge?

Real Or Fake Merit Badge?

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JONATHAN COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., It's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Hello, everybody. Hi. Nice to see you. Nice to see you. Thank you so much for joining us. We have four brilliant contestants backstage right now. They are actually discussing a nightmare one of them had where he was the duck in a turducken.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: But soon, they're going to be up here playing our nerdy games. And one of them will become our big winner. And we have not one but two guests on our show. From "Orange Is The New Black," we have Dascha Polanco.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yeah. I'm not going to lie - there's a lot of female nudity on that show. But it's realistic female nudity. It is the only show where I stare at naked women's bodies and go, yeah, I will order a pizza.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Also, we have another comedian on our show. We have - Mo Amer is going to be talking with me on the stage.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Mo is from Kuwait but then moved to Houston, Texas, as a child. Yeah, the only thing Kuwait and Houston have in common is they both don't care about your trip to Austin.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Thanksgiving is around the corner.

COULTON: I know. Finally. It's finally here.

EISENBERG: People say that the most divisive thing at a Thanksgiving table is, of course, politics. But no. There is one thing more divisive - cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce. How do you feel about cranberry sauce?

COULTON: I don't care for it.

EISENBERG: You don't like cranberry sauce?

COULTON: No. You know why? I think cranberry's a garbage berry.

EISENBERG: Garbage berry?

COULTON: Yeah (laughter).

EISENBERG: See? See?

COULTON: Surprising pushback - surprising amount of pushback.

EISENBERG: See what's happening right now? You don't like it. How many people here, by applause, do not like cranberry sauce?

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Fair selection. Fair selection. How many people here do like cranberry sauce?

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Straight out of the can. Yeah. Straight out to the can - like, in the shape of the can with the can's indentations still on it, like it will never escape its past. It will never elevate from its former self. That sound it makes when it oozes out of the can. Yeah. That is, like, music to our Thanksgiving ears. We look at it lovingly as we glop it onto our plates and ask, are you even cranberry at all?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: But the answer is, it doesn't matter, does it? No, because whatever air of sophistication we are hiding behind, whoever we are pretending to be on Thanksgiving, that beautiful, 99-cent can of cranberry glop reminds us that, really, we're all just trash.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: Preach.

EISENBERG: And that's why I love cranberry sauce. We have a lot of fun games on this show. We're playing a game about actors who play multiple roles in the same project. Listeners actually don't know this, but I play multiple roles on ASK ME ANOTHER. I play the host. I play Jonathan Coulton.

COULTON: That's true.

EISENBERG: I do all the contestants, the celebrity guest, the audience, the bells.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: That's my work.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I think we're doing great. Let's play some games, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Our first game is about Girl and Boy Scout merit badges. Let's meet our contestants. First up, Karen Chee. You're a comedy writer and a fiddle player. Do you ever play publicly?

KAREN CHEE: If audiences are, like, willing to bear with me, yes.

EISENBERG: Are you good?

CHEE: No, not really. I play for fun.

(LAUGHTER)

CHEE: I'm not part of, like, a professional band or anything - is what I'm trying to say.

EISENBERG: OK. Do you have a dream gig in your head?

CHEE: Yes, I do.

EISENBERG: Oh.

CHEE: I grew up in Northern California. And I lived near, like, barns, I guess. There'd be, like, 40 minutes to an hour from where I lived. And they would have monthly barn dances. And there would be this band that was always there. And I dreamed of being the fiddler for that band.

EISENBERG: You want to be a fiddler in a barn?

CHEE: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's pretty great.

CHEE: Thank you.

EISENBERG: That's pretty great.

CHEE: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: So when you ring in, we're going to hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Sam Jaffe. You're a high school teacher in New York City. So, Sam, as a hobby, you like to cook eggs in novel ways.

SAM JAFFE: Oh, man.

EISENBERG: Those are your words.

JAFFE: Yeah, it's embarrassing to have on the radio. Yeah that's my - it's a hobby I have - is egg-sperimenting.

EISENBERG: I love eggs.

JAFFE: Yeah?

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(BOOING)

JAFFE: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

JAFFE: My current method - I think it's a 6 1/2-minute egg at a rolling boil. It's my tour de force right now.

COULTON: Is that a hard boil or a soft boil or a medium? Six and a half minutes.

JAFFE: The water or - the water's a hard boil...

COULTON: No, the egg, the egg.

JAFFE: ...At 6 1/2 minutes, leaves, like, a soft boiled egg.

EISENBERG: I like the soft boiled egg. OK, Sam, when you ring in, we're going to hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Karen and Sam, whoever has more points after two games will go on to our Final Round. Let's start with a guessing game called Real or Fake Merit Badge. It's simple. We're going to describe a Boy or Girl Scout merit badge. You just have to ring in and tell us if it's real or if we made it up. But be careful because if you're wrong, your opponent will automatically get the point. Here we go. At the next Boy Scout Jamboree, who needs a campfire when you've earned your badge in nuclear science?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Sam.

JAFFE: Real?

EISENBERG: Yeah, it's real.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I know. I know. Is that, like, a camping trip to Three Mile Island? Like, what's...

COULTON: (Laughter) It's fun. It's fun. In Girl Scouts, you'll easily solve the mystery of who stole the Thin Mints with the skills you picked up earning the detective badge.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Karen.

CHEE: Real?

COULTON: Yeah, also real. That's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: It's always dad.

COULTON: It's always dad.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Dad ate the cookies, and he's sorry.

EISENBERG: Requirements include fingerprint for fun. I love the couching of that - woo, fun fingerprinting.

COULTON: Also blood spatter.

EISENBERG: Yeah, exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Delightful. Young men learn that they're not the center of the universe when they earn this badge in empathy. Real or fake?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Karen.

CHEE: Real.

EISENBERG: Oh, no. They tried, but...

CHEE: They should.

EISENBERG: ...No one could fulfill the requirements.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Sorry. That one is fake.

COULTON: As a Girl Scout, avoid online phishing scams before your next fishing trip by earning a badge in cybersecurity.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Sam.

JAFFE: Real.

COULTON: Yeah, that is real.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Acquire lifelong skills that will help you conquer public radio game shows with your Girl Scout merit badge in trivia.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

CHEE: Fake.

EISENBERG: Karen. Totally fake. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Maybe redesign the Boy Scout logo as you learn all about typefaces with your badge in graphic arts.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Sam.

JAFFE: Real?

COULTON: Yes, that is absolutely real.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Oh, the font in that badge better not be Comic Sans.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. This is your last clue. Close your ears, vegans. The Girl Scouts added a badge called gutting an animal after "The Hunger Games" trilogy became best-sellers. Real or fake?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Sam.

JAFFE: (Laughter) Real?

EISENBERG: It's not real. It's fake. It's fake. It's fake. All right. Well, that was a great game. Sam, you are currently in the lead.

(APPLAUSE)

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