BLYTHE DAHLEM, Staff Writer— The answer: Jeopardy! (and no, I’m not using an exclamation point out of excitement, that is literally how the show is trademarked).
Jeopardy! has been running for thirty-six consecutive seasons and is still going strong since its syndication in 1984. There are so many reasons why Jeopardy! is great, but I’ll only list a few.
The first reason is something I think everyone will agree with: Alex Trebek. Trebek is America’s sweetheart. His voice has become something that every American knows, his mustache has become an iconic symbol of the show, and his consistently positive attitude has definitely helped me feel better on days that went terribly. Some of you may know that this last March, Trebek was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic cancer: a prognosis that is pretty much a death sentence. Despite the terrible news, he has continued to work and always done his best to keep a positive attitude during his treatment. When announcing his diagnosis, Trebek said, “I’m gonna fight this… Truth told I have to, because, under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years.” Alex Trebek is simply the greatest human being alive.
Now, let’s talk about the show. Jeopardy! is the only show that actually makes you feel good about watching it because you learn new things and you feel rewarded when you respond to clues with the correct question. Truth be told, the clues on Jeopardy! are pretty easy to decipher if you read them correctly. This is the $1000 clue used in a category titled “Chip & Dale” from October first: “While coaching the Oregon Ducks, this football coach sent a refund to a disappointed fan.” You don’t have to know anything about Oregon for this clue, all you have to do is look at the category and have some knowledge of football. Once I saw “Chip” in the category, I thought of Chip Kelly which ended up being the correct response to the question. Let’s look at a Final Jeopardy clue from a few weeks ago with the category “The 1940s.” The answer, “This nickname for a history-changing weapon of 1945 came from a character in ‘The Maltese Falcon.’” Now I’ve never read the Maltese Falcon, but I know enough about history to make a guess that the weapon used in 1945 was probably the atom bomb and the nickname is probably the “Fat Man”; and I was right. Watching Jeopardy! helps you learn new facts, and it also teaches you how to read questions correctly and efficiently.
The most exciting part about Jeopardy! are the contestants. By contestants, I don’t mean those boring old librarians who spend their interviews talking about stupid cats they have at home. I’m talking about people that are fun to watch, like James Holzhauer who won over two million dollars this summer in his 32-game run. James is obviously smart, but I knew he was different from a normal contestant by when he was introduced as a “Professional Sports Gambler from Las Vegas, Nevada,” a career that helped him tremendously with wagering. On the show, James would always say he was “all in” on daily doubles, and his insane bets would give me a gambling rush just watching him. James beat the record for single-game winnings ($77,000 by Rodger Craig) not once, but sixteen times, with his highest one-day total reaching $131,127 dollars.
Jeopardy! recently aired its 8,000 episodes and doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. It is on weeknights at 7 on CBS, but if you don’t like conforming to TV schedules, the show also has old episodes on Netflix and Hulu. So instead of binge-watching some show that has no benefit your intellect, watch Jeopardy! and try to learn something new.
Blythe Dahlem ’23 is an economics major from Louisville, Kentucky.