Jan 26, 2009

On Jeopardy! and Inevitabilities

I have watched the television program Jeopardy! for the entirety of my years on the planet, as the show began the same year I was born and has been a sort of near-constant droning in the background in almost every phase of my life. Moreover, I tend to perform well during the episodes, as my well-rounded education in business and academia keeps me competitive in almost every category.

For many years people have encouraged me to go on the show, but I always found excuses to put off submitting a letter of interest. Yet I always joked that my real ambition in life is to get on the show and pocket as much cash as I could stuff in a couple of duffel bags.

I finally decided to fill out an online application, and tomorrow night I will join unknown hundreds - if not thousands - of online competitors in taking the Jeopardy! Adult Online Test tomorrow night. This is the first step in the weeding-out process of potential contestants, and it is my hope that I will move on to loftier Jeopardial heights, perhaps even joining such luminaries as Ken Jennings.

So I will clear my laptop's cache, boot all other users from my wireless signal, and make sure that I am properly caffeinated for my initial date with game show destiny. It is probably inevitable that I try to get on the show, given the fact that I have been prodded to try out since I was about 12, though I suspect my real purpose in applying now is that if I wait any longer, my memory might not keep pace with those sharp-minded 20-somethings.

Of course, I could always try out for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? I trust that my still-sharp sensibilities could handle that program, though I suspect the stigma associated with failure on this show would be much more difficult to handle.


Anonymous said...

Oh, it is thousands of test-takers. Of those who pass, they select a random sample for interviews/tryouts. Of those, a few may make it to the show if they fit the demographic needs of the show (hint, women are in demand). Of those selected, some may make it on the air if needed when they are in LA. Most contestants are those who show up at the studio in LA for testing and tryouts, and if there is a Ken Jennings on for a while, fewer and fewer will be chosen.

The show does not pay your way to LA or your expenses while there, but the winner each day gets their winnings, the second place person gets $2000 and third $1000.

I got a perfect score on the test three years ago and went to one of the tryouts. I will be taking it again tomorrow.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Best of luck to you Mike, and may the Jeopardy gods take a fancy to your well rounded knowledge.

As for,"Of course, I could always try out for Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? I trust that my still-sharp sensibilities could handle that program, though I suspect the stigma associated with failure on this show would be much more difficult to handle.", don't kid yourself; a fifth grader, using his/her 5th grade experiences need not fear any competition from you. It's been too long since you've been in 5th grade.

You may know more, but the subtleties of the current generation would be your undoing.

Mad Jack said...

Good luck to you, Mike. I hope you get on the show and blog about your experience.

I've always had sudden flights of dark fantasy, and as I read your comment about Are you smarter than a fifth grader I suddenly envisioned a large motorcycle outlaw, a real one-percenter, responding to a question with "F***, I don't know... What the F***?" losing his temper and trashing the set, beating the tar out of the security goons and ruining the carefully reconstructed nose of the game show host before rhetorically asking the TV camera, "You wanna f***ing tell me how f***in' smart you are, m*****f***er?"

Just a thought.

Barga said...

fyi, the stupid college test was so easy, got 45 out of 50 right, and yet got no offer

Anonymous said...

As an industry insider, I can tell you that my brother Anonymous got it right...you do not fit the demographic needs of the show. To put it bluntly, you are a middle-aged, middlebrow from the Midwest rustbelt with a middling career. Your score, which will be fine, will not influence the judges once they are aware of your gender, geographic origins, occupation, and basic family structure.

Good luck in breaking the mould...just don't those smucks break your heart.

Joe Hollywood

historymike said...

Yikes. I never knew how much effort the Jeopardy producers put into contestant selection. I will still go through the process and cross my fingers. I figure I have better odds of becoming a Jeopardy! contestant than hitting the lottery, since brains at least get you in the door.

Anyways, I appreciate the insider comments, as my television experience is limited to local stations and the occasional guest "expert" (cough cough) appearance on national and international news.

Carol said...

Mike - Congratulations on the 'audition' and your willingness to undergo a grueling set of questions.

I'll be pulling for you! I always wanted to say I knew someone that had 1)tried out for Jeopardy or 2) actually been on the show!

Best of luck, my friend! Go get 'em!