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Somebody does something stupid or amazing; another character (or several), who witnessed the event, holds up a sign with the score. Frequently, the sign comes from nowhere; a table might be provided as well. The score can be anything, but it's usually high-- a common gag is for one of the judges to award a 6, only to realize they had it upside down and switch to a 9. A lot of times, the score goes Up to Eleven--literally. And then sometimes the score doesn't even make any sense, such as in the picture provided here.
In works with international judge panels, there will often be a judge who's stereotypically hard to impress--back in the day, it was the Russian judge, and in food competitions it's usually the French judge. Reality TV shows favour the Mean Brit.
This comes from the world of sports, like figure skating and gymnastics, where athletes' scores are announced by having the judges hold up signs with numbers on them. Or at least, that's the trope-- nowadays, they just punch numbers into a computer.
- Teen Girl Squad did this once, for a contest of, apparently, diving into a lion's mouth. One of the girls got a two (and was thus "TWO'd"), and another got a score of "Three noses?".
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Lawn Gnome Beach Party of Terror!", where Phineas enters a surfing contest and gets a score so high it causes one judge to reconsider Einstein's theory of relativity!
- The "Silly Job Interview" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, at around 3:28.
- Originally written for the one-off How to Irritate People with Tim Brooke Taylor in the Graham Chapman role.
- In one episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy, several of the kids were holding a gymnastic competition on the playground, and a few of the kids played the judges complete with the score cards (notably, Kevin). On Ed's turn, he epic fails his run, causing him to crash into things, fly several dozens of feet in the air and land face flat on the ground. Kevin's rating: d0rk.
- In one episode of Pepper Ann, the title character tries Playing Sick in front of her mother at breakfast so she can get the day off school. As she coughs and moans pathetically, her younger sister holds up scorecards judging her performance.
- In the Adventures in Care-a-Lot episode "Stand Up and Cheer," the judges at a talent show use cards with either a heart or a storm cloud on them.
- Done in Beauty and the Beast during Gaston's number.
- The Looney Tunes Ensemble Cast did this in Space Jam after watching Michael Jordan and his seat plunge downwards from the sky to the ground. Pepé Le Pew's rating: ♥
- There's an episode of The Fairly Odd Parents in which Timmy dives into a pool and gets marks, including a low mark from a kid dressed up like a stereotypical Russian. Timmy then uses one of the cards to cover his modesty when his swimming trunks fall off.
- During the NBA dunk contest, it's gotten so ridiculous that, although there are official judges whose scores are the only ones who count, most of the fans in the stands will have score signs as well to show their approval.
- Used on Futurama during the Miss Universe pageant. One of the judges is Zapp Brannigan, who holds up his room number instead.
- A moment with the "punch in numbers" modern version in Iron Wok Jan; at the end of the second major tournament arc, the last judge is unable to enter a score due to an ostrich attack sending everyone running. One of the chefs punches in the numbers he thinks Jan deserves, and they call it a day.
- In Bamboo Blade, Sayako tells a sob story about why eventual Sixth Ranger Azuma Satori had to give up kendo and can't join the team. Saya's teammates, unimpressed with her tale, all rate her story a 3 out of 10.
- Jo Jo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged: After ordering four iced teas, and drinking them in unison, Jotaro and the gang are scored. Everyone gives them perfect scores, except for Germany (a 7.4).
Joeseph: Oh, f*** you, Germany!
- Sadlygrove does this at one point in Wakfu. He's judging Evangelyne, so unsurprisingly he gives her a 10.
- Chapter 47 of Urusei Yatsura had Cherry making an Incredibly Lame Pun (rendered in Viz's Woolseyfied translation as "We would know your powers, oh demon! How about demon-strating a few of them?") to which Sakura, Lum, and Shinobu responded by holding up signs reading "2", "3", and "2" (respectively).
- Spoken rather than held up, but on CSI:NY Danny Messer's failed attempt at a Quip to Black gets graded pooly by Detective Flack.
- During his WCW days, pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page would have his valet Kimberly hold up scorecards whenever he executed a particularly effective move. Naturally, winning the match earned him a "10."
- Statler and Waldorf rated the performances on one episode of The Muppet Show. Everyone except guest star Diana Ross got low marks. After the audience booed Fozzie Bear off the stage before he could begin his act, Statler surprised Waldorf with his score:
Waldorf: You gave him a 1?
Statler: He's never been better!
Serious Examples (examples with actual judges):
- The judges of Dancing With the Stars do this
- The Gong Show
- In She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown, the girls doing the judging skate onto the rink and display their scores. Each score is higher than that of the previous competitor, with Peppermint Patty, the last to skate, unsurprisingly placing the highest.
- This is the basis of one of the puzzles in Escape from Monkey Island. Three judges score you in a diving competition against a resident champion. Winning is achieved by finding out how to impress each of the judges and also sabotaging the competition.
- The Brady Bunch Movie did this with the judges from the talent competition. They were the only ones who liked their act - everybody else at the show hated them.
- Harry Potter featured Barty Crouch, Cornelius Fudge, and the three magical school headmasters as judges for the Triwizard Tournament. Igor Karkaroff was the hard-to-please judge, blatantly favoring his student with high scores.
- The judges on Hey Hey Its Saturday do this for Red Faces.
- The pizza competitions in Pizza Tycoon are judged like this.