What is utter sadness, Alex

Since coming home from the hospital with our baby boy, we’ve been alternating between several streaming shows to pass the hours that need passing. Current go-tos include The Office, The Great British Baking Show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Wire.

As much as I like all of them, none give me as much joy as watching Jeopardy! on Netflix. I literally gasped when I discovered it was on there. Finally I could finally skip the awkward contestant small talk and Medicare commercials and just engage in pure, uncut, nonstop trivia.

I found it just in time. The other day the Boy was getting fussy as I was starting an episode. As soon as Alex Trebek’s legendary voice started in on the clues, he calmed down. I’m gonna go ahead and assert that in this instance correlation did equal causation, because Jeopardy! fixes all.

Which makes the news about Trebek’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis that much sadder. The straight-laced optimism and sly humor in his video announcing the news is inspiring and very on-brand. It’s like he’s a Clue Crew member delivering a Video Daily Double:

(See also his interview on The Nerdist.)

Barry Petchesky from Deadspin gets it right:

This is exactly what you’d want and expect from the man who, for 35 years, has hosted the best and smartest game show in existence. Businesslike. Competence exuded through every pore. Cool, professional, authoritative. (It’s what makes his occasional jokes work so well. They’re gems because they’re so rare. They’re earned.) You are not there, in Trebek’s house, for chit-chat. You are there to answer some damn questions. And there is no one on earth better suited to oversee the merciless, no-frills format of Jeopardy! than him.

I’m so glad I got to see Trebek and the show in person. Long may he reign. And may we have mercy on whoever has to eventually replace him.

This! Is!…

Jeopardy!

Tim rocked my world and nabbed some killer free tickets to the final night of the Jeopardy taping at the Kohl Center in Madison. It was the final two tapings of the College Tournament of Champions, episodes that will air May 15 and 16. Here’s what I learned:

– Alex Trebek answers attendees’ questions during the commercial time. He has the same persona on screen and off.

– If Alex screws up reading an answer, like mispronouncing a name, they rerecord him reading it during the commercial and replace the flub with the rerecording. The answer that has Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is a rerecording.

– I know who wins the tournament but I won’t tell.

– The final Final Jeopardy we will see on TV was not the original. One of the contestants did something disruptive as Alex revealed the final money totals, so after they finished they rerecorded the revealing of the Final Jeopardy answers. It was madness.

– It was so weird to see Alex do the things I’ve seen him do on TV so many times.

– If what was shown on the big screen as they taped the show is the final product, I will be on TV twice; once each episode. On May 15, I’m in the bottom left corner of the screen for a few seconds. On May 16, I’m  on for much longer, making strange movements and cheering. We were right in front of the UW band, so look for them and you’ll see me. I’m in a gray t-shirt.

Jeopardy is awesome.