But before I really get into anything about the game: SPOILERS! There will be spoilers past this point! If you haven't seen the game, stick your fingers in your ears and say "lalalalalala." Or actually don't, because that won't prevent you from reading the spoilers. The spoilers for today's game. The spoilers that start right now.
(Incidentally, if you didn't hear that last part in the voice of Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove, like when he says "The poison. The poison for Kuzco. The poison chosen especially to kill Kuzco. Kuzco's poison. That poison?" then you need to run out and watch that movie immediately. Well, after you read this.)
Now that that's out of the way: today's episode, which featured Barb and Jody trying to beat Joel. First, did you notice Alex turning after he ruled Jody incorrect for "Boulder Dam?" That's because there was a yelled chorus of "YesYesYesYes!" from the judges' table.
Jody seemed very nervous, and I noticed that he switched hands for the buzzer after the first break. The contestant coordinators come over and talk to you during the commercial breaks, and one of the things they'll do is give you suggestions for things to try if you're having trouble ringing in.
Before this week started airing, I thought Joel had left out the verb in his Final Jeopardy response twice in a row, but I realized after seeing yesterday's show that it was actually a reversion to form on this show. Also, I didn't make a "me Tarzan, you Jane" joke about it after Monday's show because I couldn't remember if Alex made one on the second day (you don't want to step on Trebek's jokes, do you?), but now I see he didn't. Instead he just told Joel, "you must learn to appreciate verbs." Definitely heard the laughs from the audience this time - it's the same audience for the first 3 shows, so this was everyone's second time seeing Joel do that.
As for the actual final, this was the first one of the taping that I'd been able to come up with. It took me till nearly the last second (I think I would have had time to write it down though). The clue in Animals read, "A 2005 study reported that this animal named for an island has, pound-for-pound, the most powerful bite of any mammal." The reason it took me till the final few seconds of the "think" music was because I'd been casting around mentally trying to think of islands with animals named for them. The Madagascar ... nothing. Iceland ... Hawaii ... Shetland pony! I kind of wished this had been my game because I'm sure a response that said
And that's it - Joel won again. After Wednesday's show is taped, everyone gets a break. One of the coordinators takes the remaining contestants to lunch at the cafeteria on the lot. That was 6 of us waiting to play, plus Joel. I had a salad and double chocolate chip cookies, which my companions gave me sort of a hard time about (the healthy vs. not-so-healthy components), but it was really about what I thought I could keep down with some sugar for energy. My stomach had mostly settled down, but the 2 hours of sleep was taking a toll. Lunch conversation was pretty relaxed - we talked about Wheel of Fortune and how they're the moneymaker and Jeopardy gets second-best of everything. We talked about the morning's games. Then it was time to head back to the studio.
The folks remaining got a second round of warmups at the podiums. Joel and I were both in the first group for the practice game. I very quickly got in first on three questions in a row, and they called me to rotate out. Right when they did that, Joel gave me a sidelong look and said, "you're fast on that thing." I said, "yeah, I don't know what I'm doing differently than this morning, but it seems to be working."
After the practice, they called out the names of Joel's next two competitors: "Ursula! Julie!" We went back and had our makeup touched up and our microphones attached, got our last "good luck"s from the remaining few in the contestant pool, and then headed out to the set. Meanwhile, the new afternoon audience had come in. Julie and I drew for positions - I got #2, so I'd be at the middle podium. We got settled in, wished each other luck, and then the Jeopardy theme started playing.
It was go time.