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Friday, May 3, 2019

Four for Four

Four for Four

Do you watch Jeopardy? It is a daily TV quiz show that has been on for a zillion years.  Winning takes trivia knowledge, quick reflexes to buzz in on an answer, and guts as there are opportunities to wage different amounts of money on a question.

It is unusual for a contestant to win more than four or five times.  The all-time champ won 74 times and earned 2.5 million dollars.

The current champ is on a roll.  He has won 1.6 million dollars in 21 matches.  He is basically unbeatable.  I saw this guy recently on reruns of another quiz show, “The Chase” where contestants battle against a trivia genius and expert.  The guy did not just beat the expert, he embarrassed him.  Now he is killing it on Jeopardy.

He is fun to watch, as he is destined to beat the old record, but after that, what?  He is unbeatable, how much fun is it to watch someone that cannot be beat?

It brings to mind a short story I read years ago in Sports Illustrated.  “Four for Four George” (I don’t remember the real title.)  It was about a MLB rookie who went four for four in his first game.  (Four base hits in four at bats for you non baseball people.)  

The fans loved George.

The next game George went four for four again…and the next game, and the next.  The fans loved George.  He was all over the TV news and every sports magazine.  He was loved, he was cheered.  He was a phenomenon.

Until, after about a month, George still had not made an out.  Every game he came up four times and he got four hits.  At some point the fans wanted George to make an out.  Still every game he went four for four.  Before the season was over George was hated.  He was booed every at bat. 

I do not remember how the story ended, but it did not end well for George.  People love excellence, but perfection gets boring.  Perfection takes the thrill out of spectating.  Perfection is great for building bridges, but no fun to watch.

I think this will be a problem for the Jeopardy champ.  Eventually he will surpass the record and at that point no one will want to watch.  I suspect the show will invent a rule to make him leave.

No one wants to watch someone go four for four every single day. 


  1. He's easily the best I've seen and I've watched Jeopardy consistently for decades.

  2. Its almost like Jeopardy needs to change their rules. Kinda of like after 2 terms the president can't run again. After so many times of winning, the champion is retired. I catch Jeopardy here or there. I'm just hoping Alex makes a reasonable recovery from his cancer, but that type of cancer.....I'm just not sure.


  3. There was a rule when it first came on, you could only win five times and then you were off. Also, if you won a total of more than $75,000, anything above that went to the charity of your choice.

    Maybe this guy will break the record, get bored and move on.

  4. We do have The Chase in the UK; but I have never seen Jeopardy over here. It's amazing how much information these people can remember and recall so quickly. As you say, after a while it becomes boring to watch.

    God bless.

  5. I don't watch Jeopardy, I don't think it is on here now, but we do have The Chase and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, both of which are on right before the news, on different channels. I see a bit of either one and prefer Who Wants to be a Millionaire as I seem to be able to answer more of the questions. it's mostly just background noise while I'm cooking dinner.

  6. I don't watch because it's boring to me no matter what. Maybe people are jealous of his trivia knowledge, though I can't imagine why.

  7. He is interesting to watch, but you are correct, after a while, we will want him to lose.

    He is married and I wonder what it is like to live with someone who knows it all. Well, I bet a few of us can answer that.

  8. I used to watch Jeopardy! religiously. Then, back in the 90s, I actually went to a contestant search and made it into the contestant pool (you stay in the pool for a year, or until they call you).

    It was kinda like watching sausage being made - when you see how it works 'on the inside', it kinda takes some of the magic away. . .

    This guy is good, tho. . .

  9. I don't watch quiz shows but I think the guy will be happy as long as he keeps winning, no matter what others think.

  10. I haven't watched Jeopardy in a while, but I assure you that I have a TV, and that game shows are not beneath me! Yes, I imagine the fans will turn on a champion. They love to root for the underdog.

  11. UK version of The Chase. The Chase is on.... not my words, of course, but those of the game master which irritates beyond words. The contestants hardly ever win the big prize.

  12. I haven't watched Jeopardy in a long time. I feel bad for Alex Trebek. If that contestant who's so smart could come up with a cure for pancreatic that would be a winner in my book.

  13. Well, by now we know that he lost before surpassing Ken Jennings. We hadn't watched Jeopardy in a while until we heard the buzz about James Holzhauer. It was fun to watch him - we recorded the show every day.


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