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J is for Jeopardy

April 12, 2015

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If I had to limit my television viewing to one show a day–maybe even one half hour a week–first, I wouldn’t mind much.  Television is far down my list of favorite activities.  Second, I know what I’d choose:  Seven o’clock–just after the “regular” news hour and just before Pat Sajak and Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune, I choose to watch Jeopardy.

I’ll admit I have a sort of love-hate relationship with Alec Trebek. With or without the mustache. He seems to cultivate his condescension, correcting the pronunciation of contestants, while relishing any chance to lay on thick his French Canadian accent.

My children knew Jeopardy as a party of our dinner time ritual. I remember when Ben was still in elementary school and asked us, “How can they hear you?” since we usually shouted out the (correct!) answer before the contestant who rang in was recognize.  Even at home, we phrase our answers as questions.  One of Laura’s high school suitors seemed particularly off put by our dinner time behavior, eating and shouting, “What is Cucamonga?” toward the set.  We knew he was a short-timer.

When Ben was in college, he shared an apartment with what must have been like-minded fellows.  They had two or three televisions in their living room, so they could watch college sports on all networks simultaneously, but they also had their computer rigged to keep their scores as they watched–you guessed it–Jeopardy.  No other game show lives up to it.  Wheel is too lightweight; Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, too mercenary and inconsistent.

As much as we love the game, as well as we can come up with answers in the privacy of our den, we realize that if we ever made it to the big time, standing up there behind the desk, our names written in a shaky hand, the buzzer clinched in our fists, the lights bearing down, we might know it all, maybe draw the literature and Bible topics–or we might instead end up with categories of obscure geography or–heaven forbid–worse than opera, even–hip hop music or current television.  I’d be lucky to make it to Final Jeopardy.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2015 11:20 pm

    I can just see y’all!! I love it . . .

  2. April 14, 2015 1:47 pm

    I’m a fan of Jeopardy. I’m good but my husband is way better. Good luck with the Challenge!

  3. April 17, 2015 4:37 am

    I love games of all kinds, but there is something special about Jeopardy! I think it is the inversion of Question and Answer that tickles the brain. But Alec Trebek offers something sophisticated, too. I love your description/assessment of Trebek as having cultivated condescension…that is perfect.

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