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July 23, 2004 4:36 PM   Subscribe

The Day is Mine, Trebek. Who wants to punch Ken Jennings in the face?
posted by Stan Chin (56 comments total)

 
As an aside, it is my hope that these recent events have green lighted "White Men Can't Jump Part Deux," where Rosie Perez loses to Ken Jennings, and Woody Harrelson (in Natural Born Killers state) and Wesley Snipes (in Blade gear) go all kinds of medieval.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:47 PM on July 23, 2004


I'm just jealous, because I didn't have anywhere near a 38 day winning streak.


OK, so I came in third...
posted by jpburns at 4:47 PM on July 23, 2004


blah, that just spoiled final jeopardy for me;P
posted by jbrjake at 4:52 PM on July 23, 2004


Sorry, I forgot about time zones. But if you were in the middle of watching, it was pretty obvious after the first 10 questions what was coming.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:55 PM on July 23, 2004


Stan, that feeling you have inside is love, baby. Not hate. Don't hurt the Ken. You know you love the Ken, don't fight it.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 5:00 PM on July 23, 2004


... by "face", you mean "cock", right?
posted by elphTeq at 5:17 PM on July 23, 2004


Stan, is the lead for this post from Saturday Night Live?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:20 PM on July 23, 2004


I'd rather seem him and Trebek bare-knuckle it. You know Trebek wants to.
posted by Pockets at 5:20 PM on July 23, 2004


Paris, yes. That is Sean Connery's (Daryl Hammond) response to Alex Trebeck (Will Farrell) on Celebrity Jeopardy. Alex had just given Connery the chance to choose the category. I think thats the one where Connery selects the Penis Mightier.
posted by Seth at 5:29 PM on July 23, 2004


I was incorrect. After reviewing that episode, it seems that Connery subsequently asked for the category "Famous Titties."
posted by Seth at 5:35 PM on July 23, 2004


Excellent. Am I correct to understand that SNL currently blows (in a bad way)?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:39 PM on July 23, 2004


The contempt that Alex feels for Ken is so obvious that you can't, CAN'T hate him.

I mean, the guy has had 15 chances to break the One Day Record and he waited until today to do it. Most of the time, he could safely bet over twenty thousand dollars and still win, but he holds back every time. That shows a hell of a lot of restraint. I pretty sure he only does it to aggravate Alex.

Today, when he laughed at the title of a category (Dear Junta) and remarked, "That's pretty funny." Alex snapped at him and said something to the effect of "Uh, yeah. The writers KNOW it's funny. That's why they wrote it."

(Though I have to say that with yesterday's "Stupid Answers" category and today's where the answer was IN THE QUESTION, he's gotten some softballs lobbed at him.)
posted by ColdChef at 5:50 PM on July 23, 2004


The guy is just awesome.
posted by Quartermass at 5:55 PM on July 23, 2004


After reviewing that episode, it seems that Connery subsequently asked for the category "Famous Titties."

Not "Anal Bum Cover"?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:56 PM on July 23, 2004


You know, as we watched today, the wife suggested that the writers should make the questions harder to eliminate Ken, but I think that's probably a bad idea for three reasons:

1. He doesn't need harder questions, he needs stiffer competition. Harder questions would stymie his competition, too.

2. People like watching shows where they can guess along with the contestants. If the questions are too hard, people won't watch (this is entirely a guess).

3. Picture how funny it will be to see Ken a few years from now, still winning. Smoking at the stand, calling Alex "The Beckster", openly mocking the idiots that go against him, taking a nap during Double Jeopardy, guessing "What is...Alex Trebek is a fuckface?" during Final Jeopardy.

He's Jordan in his prime. You know...for dorks.
posted by ColdChef at 5:56 PM on July 23, 2004


I'm praying for a full out fistfight by the end.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:57 PM on July 23, 2004


After reviewing that episode, it seems that Connery subsequently asked for the category "Famous Titties."

or 'the rapists'?
posted by dolface at 5:59 PM on July 23, 2004


I had no idea he was still ongoing. It shows at some obscure time here and I never get to see it anymore. What happens since it's the end of the season? Does he come back next season?

On preview...I hope ColdChef is right. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 5:59 PM on July 23, 2004


The Penis Mightier. Tell me, man. Does it work?
posted by ColdChef at 5:59 PM on July 23, 2004


Ken gets to come back in six weeks when taping starts again.
posted by ColdChef at 6:00 PM on July 23, 2004


"You think you're pretty smart, don't you, Trebek, what with your Dago moustache and your greasy hair."
posted by keswick at 6:11 PM on July 23, 2004


That is six weeks for Alex and crew to find the best competition possible.
posted by caddis at 6:16 PM on July 23, 2004


Ooooo, I hope they create an evil Ken Jennings born from the sun and his stray hair like in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
posted by Stan Chin at 6:19 PM on July 23, 2004


SNL Celebrity Jeopardy Goodness.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:20 PM on July 23, 2004


If this goes on much longer, Jeopardy! will degenerate into a kill-or-be-killed free for all directly inspired by the Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Running Man.

Not that I'm complaining. That would make for some totally bitch' TV.
posted by mmcg at 6:24 PM on July 23, 2004


keswick, that sketch cracked me up! the genius of norm macdonald...
posted by jcruelty at 6:27 PM on July 23, 2004


I predict in the year 2042 he will be defeated by a man known only as Q.
posted by bargle at 6:29 PM on July 23, 2004


Best of the web, or inane chat site? You decide.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:33 PM on July 23, 2004


"You have a scroll button, yadda yadda yadda."
posted by keswick at 6:36 PM on July 23, 2004


I don't see why everybody has to hate on the guy. He doesn't drink alcohol, yet he TRAINED with his wife with flash cards to memorize the ingredients in cocktails JUST in the event that "Potent Potables" comes up.

That, my friend, earned my respect right there.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 6:37 PM on July 23, 2004


Not drinking is forgiveable. But the flash card thing just makes me want to kick him and stick a beer bong in his mouth.

White creme de menthe, my ass.
posted by scarabic at 7:31 PM on July 23, 2004


Who wants to punch Ken Jennings in the face?

Why do you hate America success so much?
posted by rushmc at 7:32 PM on July 23, 2004


I watch the show pretty regularly, and I'm not convinced Ken is that much smarter than the people he's up against -- though he is terribly good.

Rather, at this stage I think it's reached the point where he has a significant advantage because of experience. He's got the timing of the show down, which is huge: he knows *exactly* when he can buzz in. Also, he isn't intimidated by Alex, the audience, the lights, or anything else.

Remember, no one he faces has actually been on Jeopardy! before -- he has. Yes, he's very smart and his knowledge is very well-rounded, but really, at this point his biggest advantages aren't intellectual.
posted by drywall at 7:52 PM on July 23, 2004


I've heard that his biggest advantages are sexual, ifyouknowwhati'msaying.

I work during the show, is there somewhere online where I can download it? I want to see Trebek getting pissy!
posted by graventy at 8:43 PM on July 23, 2004


I watch the show pretty regularly, and I'm not convinced Ken is that much smarter than the people he's up against -- though he is terribly good.

Rather, at this stage I think it's reached the point where he has a significant advantage because of experience. He's got the timing of the show down, which is huge: he knows *exactly* when he can buzz in. Also, he isn't intimidated by Alex, the audience, the lights, or anything else.


Oh, come on. There's no question he's good at buzzing in, but he al rings in for 98% of the questions and gets them right 95% of the time. The guy has loads of knowledge, both trivial and meaningful, to suggest otherwise is silly. His greatest asset, however, is his ability to guess inteligently when he's not sure.

The contempt that Alex feels for Ken is so obvious that you can't, CAN'T hate him.

I mean, the guy has had 15 chances to break the One Day Record and he waited until today to do it. Most of the time, he could safely bet over twenty thousand dollars and still win, but he holds back every time. That shows a hell of a lot of restraint. I pretty sure he only does it to aggravate Alex.

Today, when he laughed at the title of a category (Dear Junta) and remarked, "That's pretty funny." Alex snapped at him and said something to the effect of "Uh, yeah. The writers KNOW it's funny. That's why they wrote it."


You're watching a different show or you're projecting. If you ask me, I think Alex really likes Ken; they seem to have a very natural report going on between them and I'm sure Trebek realizes how wonderful it is for the show: have people been talking about Jeopardy this much in years?

I hope Jennings beats the 46-day record for gameshow contestants. It will also be interesting to see if they let him come back for the tournament of champions, since he'll almost definitely clean up (if they even half enough champions to run one--it might be a single show with only three champs!).

The funniest thing about this whole run, however, is that I believe only once has he even had the possibility of losing in Final Jeopardy.
posted by The God Complex at 8:44 PM on July 23, 2004


Err, rapport, not report. That's what happens when you don't pay attention ;)
posted by The God Complex at 8:45 PM on July 23, 2004


I've only watched this past week (home on paternity leave), but it just seems to me like Alex wants to be the only one with the clever asides.

Did you see today when Ken named the category and the dollar amount twice and Alex was all "I heard you the first time."? That killed me.
posted by ColdChef at 8:49 PM on July 23, 2004


Ditto God Complex -- Trebek's in lurv with Ken.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:02 PM on July 23, 2004


I don't see why everybody has to hate on the guy. He doesn't drink alcohol, yet he TRAINED with his wife with flash cards to memorize the ingredients in cocktails JUST in the event that "Potent Potables" comes up.

Ken Jennings doesn't drink, because he's Mormon. I know him personally, because Ken used to play quiz bowl for Brigham Young University and I played on the Berkeley quiz bowl team against him a couple of times. His skill in knowing when to buzz in is almost definitely developed from his years in quiz bowl. Ken is notable not only for his winning streak, but because he's the first Quiz Bowl contestant I'm aware of to get on Jeopardy after they allowed you stay on for more than 5 days. I know some other quiz bowl players who've also auditioned to be on Jeopardy, but they can't get on the show, because they all know Ken and Jeopardy's own rules prohibit them from coming on the show while Ken is a contestant. If some other ex-quiz bowl player comes on the show after Ken leaves, you might see a similar winning streak.
posted by jonp72 at 11:24 PM on July 23, 2004


Goddamnit, he needs to get off so that my dad can get on and win!

(being that he auditioned and is just waiting for them to call back, because having a high-school-diploma boiler operator who knows practically everything without the use of flash cards? Television gold.)
posted by Katemonkey at 11:50 PM on July 23, 2004


But Katemonkey, it does lead to the question of why one would want to boil high school diplomas...
posted by dejah420 at 12:19 AM on July 24, 2004


but they can't get on the show, because they all know Ken and Jeopardy's own rules prohibit them from coming on the show while Ken is a contestant.

Do you mean there's a rule prohibiting more than one Quiz Bowl alumni from playing in the same game?
posted by jmd82 at 12:57 AM on July 24, 2004


But Katemonkey, it does lead to the question of why one would want to boil high school diplomas...

High School Diploma soup, of course. Duh!

Mmmm...educalicious...

Heh. Okay. Could've rephrased. Dad has a high school diploma, he's a boiler operator, and he knows bizarre amounts of trivia. He's gone through the selection process and now he's just waiting to be called. So c'mon, people! Get my dad on Jeopardy!
posted by Katemonkey at 1:44 AM on July 24, 2004


Category: World Wide Web.

Q. Best of the web, or inane chat site?
A. What is MetaFilter?
posted by page404 at 6:05 AM on July 24, 2004


I still don't see why this a big deal. The only reason this hasn't happened sooner was Jeopardy's rule of limiting the number of times someone could win before they had to leave the show.

He is just the first "champion" since the rule change.

What I suspect they will have to do is during some tournament of champions type mock event, get some games in without him (some sort of bracket system) so some former champions can get their timing down before they have to face him.
posted by szg8 at 7:01 AM on July 24, 2004


Anyone who wants to read more on Jennings, written by a buncha Jeopardy nerds, should check out the Jeopardy discussion board. There's a great mix of supporters and quite a bit of outright jealousy.

If I were to be honest, I guess I'm a little jealous, but deep down I really respect his run. I wish it didn't make for such boring television.

It's weird, though, this "boring television" has increased viewership by 34%, passing the inane "Wheel of Fortune" for the first time.

Go figure.
posted by jpburns at 7:02 AM on July 24, 2004


Jeopardy's casting system operates to exclude the smartest people in two ways. The first is that it is opaque, time consuming, and frustratingly capricious -- smart people are mostly busy people who value their time; an x% chance of getting on Jeopardy is just not worth it.

The second is that the casting process among those who make the first cut doesn't select the most intelligent people -- they want a "regular guy/gal" contingent with a moderate degree of telegenicity (a word?)

If they want to beat Ken, they've got to make the screening process more deliberately selective -- i.e., go on the website, enter your SAT scores, the college or university from which graduated, post-graduate degrees and credentials, and submit. Immediately discard all SATs under 1500 and those without a professional degree or doctorate. Invite the 30k or 40k people who are left to take a web-based screening test, choose the top 1k out of that. Then another, more difficult screening test and a video submission to assure that someone's not a blatant mutant. Choose your 100 best candidates, but don't further sort them, to keep the game interesting -- you've got 50 shows worth of opponents for Ken, but I'd bet he goes down within 5 or 10 shows.
posted by MattD at 7:17 AM on July 24, 2004


I don't think Ph.D. holders will make for better trivia contestants. Knowing everything about subjects that interest you isn't the same as knowing a lot about everything.
posted by Eamon at 8:11 AM on July 24, 2004


Do you mean there's a rule prohibiting more than one Quiz Bowl alumni from playing in the same game?

I believe he means you can't be on the show if you know one of the people you're playing against. Conflict of interest.
posted by dobbs at 10:25 AM on July 24, 2004


Katemonkey, sadly your dad might be waiting quite a while. Mine went through the qualifications at least three separate times, each several years apart, and never got that Come to LA call. I also think that with the new stay as long as you win scheme there will be even fewer contestants--Jennings alone has taken a minimum of seven extra slots compared to the old system, or about 10% of the availables in the time he's been winning.
posted by billsaysthis at 11:31 AM on July 24, 2004


Umpteen years ago, here in L.A., I tried out for Jeopardy, aced the written exam (six out of a hundred-plus potentials got called for the next step, and I was the third name called), and sucked dramatically on the 'mock quiz' (I hadn't even noticed that you could be 'locked-out' for buzzing in too early until I started playing... BIG D'oh.) Don't ask why I haven't been back there since.

Count me as a "KenJen" fan. I am nothing but delighted that there is finally one celebrity in the public eye who is there by being SMART. Jennings is the Michael Jordan/Wayne Gretsky/Tiger Woods of quiz shows. And that's good. Sooner or latter, there will be a backlash against him, and if he's REALLY lucky, he'll lose before it develops.

But if anything, the long break may equalize things slightly by getting KenJen out of buzzer-beating practice when he faces a new season of challenges (remeber, these latest shows were taped four months ago). And there is little doubt that if there ever was a rule keeping away Quiz Bowl veterans - or anybody else - it'll be dropped for the new season.

And if Trebek is pissed at Jennings, it just might be because his streak may motivate the producers to change the scheduling of show production, so there's less chance of leaked results, and Alex might have to go to work more than 10 weeks a year.
posted by wendell at 12:10 PM on July 24, 2004


The show's been ruined for me. I can get behind a streak, and it's nice to see someone do well and all, but the show is now just boring.

A big part of the fun was the sense of competition. Jennings so dominates each game, it's no longer interesting.

At least now they'll be summer reruns, so I can watch the show again.
posted by Ayn Marx at 4:29 PM on July 24, 2004


At least now they'll be summer reruns, so I can watch the show again.

[blink] [stunned silence]
posted by five fresh fish at 4:59 PM on July 24, 2004


Do you mean there's a rule prohibiting more than one Quiz Bowl alumni from playing in the same game?

There's no rule specifically about Quiz Bowl. There is a rule that you cannot play against somebody you know personally, because I suppose that would make the game look fixed. I know several people who could possibly beat Ken, but they either know Ken personally or they know somebody who knows Ken.
posted by jonp72 at 11:43 PM on July 24, 2004


I dont like his betting.
He bets very poorly.

Previous champions, if the 2nd place guy was close enough, would bet just enough so that if the 2nd place guy bet it ALL, then they would tie, and both of them would get to go on.
Ken though bets just enough so that he would win by 1 dollar no matter what. To me that makes me think that he is a jackass.
posted by Iax at 12:50 AM on July 25, 2004


Jennings has wee beady eyes. Like the Colonel. Except Jennings makes people crave jello fortnightly.

During the mock game I played at my tryout last month, the casting guys said that I was "smoking on the button." I have weird thumbs, crooked and shorter than normal peoples' thumbs. I've always felt odd because of my thumbs. (I can only wear those cheap stretchy gloves, because real gloves are 1/2" = 3/4" too big in the thumb.) But apparently, when it comes to the Jeopardy signaling button, I have the Thumb of Doom.

I'm thinking, and I'm just saying, but I'm thinking Jennings, with his lackluster Double Jeopardy performances and frequent wrong Final Jeopardy answers doesn't want the good Jeopardy people to call me during his reign. Thumb of Doom, people. I'm just saying.
posted by Dreama at 3:02 AM on July 25, 2004


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