Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jeopardy by the Numbers

Here's something I thought might be a little fun: I did a (very) quick sketch of the Jeopardy set as seen from a podium, as I remember it.

By the numbers:

1 - The podium, obviously. The dark lines around it are where the dividers get put in for Final Jeopardy. To the left of your screen is a Sharpie, which is your writing implement for wagering (more on that later) and also there in case something disastrous happens with the technology in the Final. There's a piece of paper next to it where you can write your response in case of malfunction - I don't think they'd like it if you used the Sharpie on their screen.

2 - The game board, also obviously. It's true - you read the clues off small TVs that are across a large room from you. It becomes easier to understand why you sometimes see people leaning in or squinting at clues, and how easy it would be to misread something. Also, all around that border are small light bulbs that come on to show you when you can ring in. (I forgot to draw them.)

3 - A big TV screen. You might think this would be a great place to put up the actual clues so everyone could read them easily. You might be right about that, but it's only for video clues and Final Jeopardy.

4 - Cameras!  Remember when Cindy Brady went on the quiz show and she was mesmerized by the red light on top of the camera? I don't think these had any red lights. I also can't say for sure that the cameramen were standing there, but I figured I should put some people in lest you think the whole thing is run by robots.

5 - Another camera, one that they don't really talk about, and then all of a sudden the show starts and this thing comes sweeping out toward you and just when you should be smiling, your expression is a mix of confusion and uneasiness. Am I supposed to look at that thing? Ignore it?

6 - Alex! He is also across a large room from you. You need to speak loudly enough for him to hear. Yeah, you're wearing a microphone, but that only helps for the broadcast. You're relying on your own ability to project for Alex.

7 - Table of judges and other stuff. The guy who triggers the lights for ringing in sits there. When you see Alex look off-camera for a moment when he's not sure if something is right or not, that's where he's looking. They also yell "YES" or "NO" to overrule Alex when he makes the wrong call.

8 - You say "hey, wait a minute, where's 8?" Good, you're paying attention. The 8 should be right above the cameras and cameramen, and it's where the scoreboard is. When you see someone glance off to the left somewhere in the middle of the game, that's what they're looking at.

Thoughts about tonight's game (SPOILERS! Here be spoilers! And maybe dragons, so proceed with caution...)

Mike was an interesting character. If this were a reality show, he would be the first one to say, "I'm not here to make friends." Having said that, we got along pretty well. You know how long his interview felt watching at home? It felt even longer live.

I was a little surprised Joel didn't get the "a grave is a grave is a grave" reference to Gertrude Stein, since "a rose is a rose is a rose" is a pretty famous quote of hers, and she's well-associated with Oakland thanks to "there is no there there." On the other hand, Joel is not originally from Oakland so it may not have been as clear a connection to him.

Oh, Marnie. I was sad that she chose not to go for it on the Daily Double at the end of the first round.

Overall, this game felt easier from the audience than Monday's did. The Tribes category was pretty brutal, though.

When the Final Jeopardy category of 1957 was revealed, we all looked at each other and shrugged. We compared what we knew about 1957, and the answer was ... next to nothing. For the actual clue, most of us thought first of Kansas and Brown v. Board of Education, but we all knew that was wrong. Then most of us settled on Mississippi, although no one felt like it was right. I believe none of the contestants-to-be got this one right, but I could be mis-remembering.

And that's it for Tuesday's show. Oh, except for Alex saying "We'll do this again in 23 1/2 hours." Ha! More like 23 1/2 minutes. As usual, you can pop over to The Jeopardy Fan for a real recap (they're usually posted a little later in the evening), or to the j-archive (today's show is already up!) to check out the clues, responses and game dynamics. And I will be back in 23 1/2 real hours or so to talk about some other stuff and Wednesday's show.


  1. Which day will you actually be on? I want to see if someone will record it for me :)

  2. The real estate developer/champion got it...

    1. Yes, Joel got the final. I said none of the contestants-to-be (those of us waiting in the audience) got it right.