I think I answered most questions the average viewer might have about Jeopardy and how it operates last week. But there are still a few odds and ends that seemed worth noting, so this is just to cover anything I missed before.
First off: John and his pink-shirt-Friday friend Adam, as well as Adam’s brother Aaron, did a podcast concerning John’s run on the show. After watching the January 15 show, we listened to part of it and tracked down the 4 youTube video segments (from 1984) of the first Jeopardy! show hosted by Alex Trebek. It’s much the same in essentials, but Alex gives so much more detail about how the show works; there’s much more applause from the audience; and unless I’m much mistaken, it was possible for contestants to ring in before the question was over – a “hack” buzz that isn’t possible today.
Reading through Ken Jenning‘s second AMA reminds me that oh yeah, Jeopardy doesn’t normally cover travel costs – so if you register and make it to auditions/the show, be reading to pony up for the flight, car rental, and/or hotel stay. The second- and third-place contestants get $2000 and $1000, respectively, but that doesn’t necessarily cover everything.
Ken also noted that he’d been blackballed from game shows, “like the card-counters who get kicked out of casinos.” This isn’t the case for everyone, as Jeopardy is probably the biggest stickler where its contestants are concerned. The registration page reads “You are not eligible to be a contestant on JEOPARDY! if you have appeared on a nationally broadcast game show/dating show/relationship show/reality show in the last year or three game shows/dating shows/relationship shows/reality shows in the last 10 years.”
Another perennial point of interest is the stories that the contestants share right after the show’s first commercial break. Sometimes they manage to be fascinating, often they come across a little dull or strange, and sometimes they’re just random.
Well, not without reason. It’s a bit difficult, we (family and friends) decided, to tell a story of any significance to a nation of strangers when you’ve less than a minute to do so, context and all – and any time taken on storytelling is time taken away from answering questions on the board. So it’s best to be brief, especially because Alex spends some 5 to 15 seconds introducing the story. Moreover, you can’t be not-boring without attempting to be unique, or at the very least uncommon; you can’t do that without some people finding you very strange, or a jerk, or a very strange jerk.
We learned from John that contestants give the show 5 topics or fun facts or tidbits (free of any sort of promotion or advertisement), highlighting the one they find most interesting to discuss. But Alex gets the list, and he’s the one who picks which story goes on the show. During John’s week of play, a lot of different people ended up discussing how they met their spouses; someone joked during a post-game discussion that Alex should write a book concerning all the meet-cutes he’d heard about.
Since I have no meet-cute of my own, this leaves me wondering: what stories would I tell? What 30-40 second-story could I share with the country without feeling weird about it?
Anything posted here, I guess, edited accordingly. Perhaps I’d relate details about my ongoing project of fashioning a liturgical calendar of cocktails, or volunteering as Boswell for every trip I go on, or confess touching the manuscript containing the LeFay Fragment. Maybe I’d discuss my affinity for parodies.
But maybe I’d just say “Well, my brother got on the show, and it was so much fun I wanted to do it too.”
What story would you share on Jeopardy?