Idiotic answers aren't all that rare on game shows. Wheel of Fortune has aired five days a week since January 6, 1975 (as two different versions from 1983-91 and 1997-98), so it has amassed quite a few. When you're on, you may have a lot of money on the line already, and you may also feel destined to make it to the end for the grand prize. An incomplete puzzle stands in your way, or you rely on a lucky spin of the Wheel itself...possibly both. Somebody is bound to reach their limit and wind up right here.
Note: As with the other Game Show pages in What an Idiot, please follow No Real Life Examples, Please! and include only instances where either the host reacts in What an Idiot form or the contestantlampshades the mistake.
June 7, 1976: The puzzle board is showing K_LL THE _MP_RE, and Chuck has informed the contestants that only vowels remain.
You'd Expect: The contestant in control to solve KILL THE UMPIRE, or buy the U or I's if he's not certain.
Instead: He says KILL THE VAMPIRE. The next player, Linda, solves immediately for $925. Chuck then comments that this isn't the first time she made money off another's mistakes.
December 1981: During Pat Sajak's first week as host, A_RAHAM _INCO_N is revealed.
You'd Expect: ABRAHAM LINCOLN, maybe a spin for the L's.
Instead: ABRAHAM BINCOLN. Pat joked that Bincoln would be the guy who delivered the Bettysburg address, although he admitted years later that making the joke probably didn't help the poor contestant.
You'd Expect: That even three military servicemen, who maybe don't get to watch TV that much while on active duty, would still recognize two people who have long since become household names.
With REG_S P__L__N & _ELL_ R_P_ revealed, the yellow player says REGIS PHILBRIN & KELLY RIPA. Pat says they can't accept it.
Blue player calls the Y, then hits Bankrupt.
Red player buys the I and A, then guesses REGIS PHILMIN & KELLY RIPA, pronouncing "Ripa" as "Ree-pa". It's also ruled incorrect.
Yellow player gets a chance to redeem himself, but also says REGIS PHILMIN & KELLY RIPA.
Blue player calls H, B, and K to fill in the puzzle entirely...but still manages to screw up the completely-revealed puzzle by pronouncing "Ripa" with a long I sound.
Back to the red player again, who finally says their names properly. Cue Pat snarking that the clip of this round will get played a lot, then jokingly suggesting that Regis should step down.
February 14, 2011: On a Teen Best Friends Week episode, a Speed-Up with consonants worth $6,000 each has an Occupation of A_ATE_R ASTR____ER. With $18,000, a member of the yellow team starts to say the correct answer of AMATEUR ASTRONOMER just before the buzzer.
You'd Expect: That she seamlessly finishes her answer, as answers finished after the buzzer do count as long as they are started before it, a rule that Pat has stated on-camera many times before.
Instead: She stops speaking upon hearing the buzzer. Pat makes an expression as if to say "You completely blew it" as the team whines "But...but...". The blue team calls the M's and solves.
What Makes It Worse: Before this round, the final totals were $6,000/$17,150/$2,000. The yellow team was still well-ahead and the blue team was dead last...until they solve for $18,000 after the above blunder, overtaking the yellow team by less than $3,000.
January 10, 2013: A contestant has the Song/Artist puzzle I _A__ THE _INE BY J_HNNY _A_H and has just landed on the Jackpot wedge.
You'd Expect: The contestant to recognize the iconic song I WALK THE LINE BY JOHNNY CASH
Furthermore: Jeopardy! would reference this just over a year later with "I Have The Wine" and "By Johnny Cash" categories.
January 25, 2013: A contestant has landed on the Jackpot wedge with GO TO THE F_O_T OF THE ___E revealed under the category of Phrase.
You'd Expect: Solving GO TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE right away.
Instead: GO TO THE FRONT OF THE CAVE. Pat doesn't let the opportunity slip to throw in a jab: "Well, you don't want to be in the back of the cave, I'll tell you that."
January 27, 2014: The category is What Are You Doing? and _OR_ING HAR_ TO _INI_H THE _O_ is showing.
You'd Expect: WORKING HARD TO FINISH THE JOB.
Instead: He says FORCING HARD TO THE FINISH LINE, then inflicts What an Idiot on himself by admitting he read the lines on the puzzle board wrong.
November 9, 1983 (daytime): During a Couples Week episode, the winning pair has T__ SE_RET showing.
You'd Expect: At least one of the two to recognize the common phrase TOP SECRET.
Instead: Neither of them gets the puzzle, after which the husband lampshades it by saying, "Oh, that was so easy!"
Fall 2001: __MIDIT_ is revealed.
You'd Expect: At least 10 seconds of trying to solve, maybe the right answer of HUMIDITY.
Instead: 10 seconds of non-word guesses like HUMDITTY and other gibberish words ending in -DITTY. After time runs out, the correct answer of HUMIDITY is revealed and the contestant asks "Didn't I say 'HUMDITTY'?"...to which Pat replies "Yes, but the answer was 'HUMIDITY'."
September 24, 2003: Another Phrase, with I'M B_S_ filled in.
You'd Expect: I'M BUSY.
Instead: The contestant has no guess except I'M BUSH at the last second, resulting in wild laughter from the audience.
May 15, 2012: The contestant enters the Bonus Round with the Wild Card, allowing him to choose a fourth consonant. After receiving the given N, he gives D-C-M-A-G, revealing MAG_C _AND. Pat and the audience expect an easy solve.
You'd Expect: MAGIC WAND.
Instead: The contestant guesses MAGIC HAND, MAGIC BAND, and even MAGIC YAND. In the waning seconds, he starts on a random guessing spree through the alphabet which unfortunately causes him to back into WAND just after the buzzer. He comments afterwards: "That 'and' looks so...'and-y'."