Archive for January 18th, 2020

Jeopardy!—We’re All Stars Now, in the GOAT Show

Saturday, 18 January 2020

The Jeopardy! folks fucked up.  Why in the hell would they run the GOAT show on another channel?  I had no idea it was on and missed all but the last 10 minutes of the first episode.  Caught the middle ep but not the last (final?) one, now saved on the box and waiting for Sunday.  I have my suspicions about who won.  You could be a dick and spoil it in the comments but there’d no payoff for you as I don’t care. 

I happened to be an avid watcher during Ken Jennings’ 2004 run.  Everyone was amazed and thrilled with the winning streak, less so, I think, with Ken himself.  A friend told me he saw an interview where Jennings referred to himself as a “genius,” and that was the end of Jennings for me.  (There are two things in life you cannot seriously call yourself, a genius and an old soul.)

Nothing much happened Jeopardy!wise until Holzhauer.  He, too, was thrilling.  At first.  Soon I became a ‘Holzhauer hater,’ not of him in real life but as his game show “character,” starting with his dubious claim of a career in sports betting.  I didn’t care for that weird non-smile of his either. 

As Holzhauer’s wins grew I suspected he was cheating, damned if I knew how.  It would be extremely unlikely but not impossible.  Maybe he makes it on his own for a week when a disgruntled clue writer makes him an offer: “Give me half your winnings and I’ll give you the categories/answers in advance.”  Maybe two of the buzzers aka signaling devices are rigged to misfire every 3 clicks.  Absurd?  Stranger things have happened.   

What is Jeopardy! really?  A memory recall game of factual data based on speed. Finally I admitted “Jeopardy James” (I hate that title) wasn’t cheating and was what he appeared to be: well-studied and able to accurately recall information faster than his opponents.  He seemed to have mastered the signaling device early on and his strategy of huge bets and sweeping the bottom row obviously worked.  He also got another advantage that had nothing to do with skill.  I could be imagining this, but didn’t regular shows have a long-assed pause for Teen Week or something?  That may have broken Holzhauer’s rhythm but given him plenty more time to study. Towards the end of his run I savored every answer he missed, especially the few he missed but I got.

Gradually I began to hate Holzhauer’s opponents almost as much as him. Even after the long Teen break, new contestants still seemed oblivious to whom they were going up against.  Their only hope was to rob His Smirkness of the Daily Doubles.  It was an evening of cathartic joy when that very thing happened and he was finally taken out by a one-hit-wonder woman, same as Jennings had.

I underestimated Holzahauer’s effect on the game itself, I thought he’d changed it forever, like the Fosbury flop changed the high jump.  But no, bozos still waste time reading the entire titles of categories instead of one key word.  They still don’t sweep the bottom row, even in categories they might be strong; rarely do they go big on bets except in dire straits.

I haven’t much to say about Rutter as I never heard of him or saw him compete before last year’s Tournament of Champions Group Orgy or whatever TF it was called.  Rutter won the most Jeopardy! money ever you say? Ha. That wasn’t going to save him during the GOAT show, and from what little I saw it did not. Still, I found myself rooting for Rutter, because he was the least unlikable.  Probably he’s  as arrogant as the other two, just able to hide it better. Being the least nerdy/most handsome of the GOATS I understand he parlayed his winnings into a career in Hollowood but have never seen him in anything else. Of the one and one-eighth shows I watched he was losing badly.

So did Jennings win? Last I saw he’d won two games to Holzy’s one and Rutter’s none.

I would be a smidge happier if Jennings won.  But not really.  

 

 

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Saturday, 18 January 2020