Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jeopardy! is really, really stupid

Unlike Americans who have more or less grown up with Jeopardy!, Australians weren't too familiar with it until it made an appearance there in the mid to late 90s. Of course, given the Jeopardy! was such a staple in the American game show diet, we were certainly aware of the show seeing it referenced in various sitcoms and such.

Finally, as is usually the case with game show emerging in another country, the locals need to feel as though they have a chance to compete, so an Australian version was born with beloved game show host, Tony Barber at the helm, a legend after his work on Sale of the Century. I recall being keen to see what Jeopardy! was all about, given my longstanding awareness of show coupled with my love of trivia. It wasn't long before this game show, while certainly containing interesting questions, came to irritate me beyond belief. The gimmick of "answer in the form of a question" is hands down one of the weakest and most idiotic game show devices known to man. I daresay many Australians felt the same way as even with that dynamo Tony Barber, the show was short lived there.

Tony Barber and Alyse Platt in the glory days of Australian game shows.

Do many of you think very deeply about important issues such as these? Have you ever really evaluated the "answer in the form of a question" format? Or did you allow this flawed, yet revered show to slip past your other wise keen sense of reasoning?

If only Alex Trebek would only chill out on his stupid show as much as he does in this picture.

Allow me explain. By simply turning it the other way around, putting the "question" first and following it with the supposed answer, you'll see the inadequacies are glaring. Let me assume the character of an alien who has some sincere questions about our planet and its culture and let's see how well we can educate him with the Jeopardy! answers.

Hi, Mr Trebek! I'm from former planet Pluto, and while I have a great command of the structure of your language and am equipped with an extensive dictionary, parts of the definition module has been corrupted. Please allow me to ask a few questions to rebuild my database.

Q. What is mustard?
A. Brands of this condiment include Colman's, Gulden's and Plochman's.

A condiment, I see. What is the success rate for avoiding pregnancy with this prophylactic?

Q. What is 'Frasier'?
A. David Hyde Pierce on this sitcom: "Her lips were saying 'no', but her eyes were saying 'read my lips'

I see, it's a situation comedy about....I'm sorry, never mind.

Q. What is 'Seinfeld'?
A. Kramer, on this show, "I'm taping Canadian Parliament, you know, on C-SPAN."

I heard this was one of the most popular shows of all time. I am impressed your people embraced politics so warmly.

Q. What is the cabinet?
A. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin is about Lincoln's bringing political foes into this advisory body.

Thanks for that thorough explanation on an element of your government, though I was asking about furniture.

Q. Who is Alice In Wonderland?
A. When the Mad Hatter says, "No room!", you retort "There's plenty of room!" as you're playing this little girl.

Why, I might be interested in taking this role, though before I just start rattling off lines, I'd really like to know something about the character. Who is she and why is she mixed up with this hatter?

Q. Who is Joan Crawford?
A. She was not portrayed for being the dearest of moms in the 1978 memoir Mommie Dearest.

So....she's a famous mother?

Q. What is a pea?
A. Gregor Mendel famously found a mathematical basis for inheritance by studying this legume, without the princess.

Royal legumes are the only kind I'll eat. Thanks for the tip.

Q. What is salmon?
A. If you're having 'gravlax', the last three letters should tell you that you're eating this 6-letter fish.

Sorry manners function is malfunctioning...What the FUCK kind of answer is that?

Those Jeopardy! "answers" do NOT answer the questions. Those "answers" are so stupid, I can't even stand it. I have no problem with the trivia itself, but the insistence of the crutch of the "What is?" and "Who is?" etc. Just let them say "mustard" and be done for chrissake! Oddly enough, even after attempting a private protest, when I do catch the show, I seem unable to shake the format and say my "What is?" anyway. Hmmmm.
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