YMMV / Jeopardy!


  • Adaptation Displacement: The current version has far outlasted the Art Fleming era, but the show clearly hasn't forgotten its roots; clues about the Art Fleming era appear now and then, and some contestants have appeared on both versions.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Unlike most other game shows of American origin, Jeopardy! has mostly failed to catch on in other countries, with few foreign adaptations lasting more than a couple years. A notable exception is Своя игра, the Russian adaptation, which has run since 1994. It also does reasonably well in Denmark.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Every Theme Tune from the Trebek era qualifies.
      • The original theme had a dramatic buildup to the four-way Truck Driver's Gear Change accompanied by synthesizers and saxophones. In 1992, the theme was remixed to include a bongo track, but the tournament and celebrity games would use a combined version of both.
      • The 1997 arrangement was smooth and jazzy with guitar and sax solos near the end. The 2001 update also deserves a mention, with its quicker tempo. It helps that the latter version brought back the second half of the "globe swoosh" used to introduce the show.
      • Finally, the current version which debuted on the first show of Trebek's 25th season in September 2008. It's nice and relaxing, plus the eleven-note ending is styled after the iconic Daily Double sound effect.
    • The think music is iconic in itself, but the current version with a small orchestra taking over the second half of the song from the pianos is awesome, particularly when it cues up and the made-for-HD backdrop turns from blue to red.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • The Clue Crew.
    • Ken Jennings (2004). Some see him as The Ace or a Badass Normal, who knows a lot about many things (even drinks, despite being a teetotaler). Others see him as a Boring Invincible Hero, who proved what a bad idea it was to have unlimited wins.
    • Colby Burnett, winner of the November 2012 Teachers Tournament and 2013 Tournament of Champions. On one hand, he was quite good at the game and quite savvy with his wagering in early games. On the other hand, he got increasingly cocky with each win. By the finals of the ToC, he was about on par with Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery on Saturday Night Live's Celebrity Jeopardy! skits.
    • Arthur Chu (2014). His nontraditional, game logic driven method of playing and winning Jeopardy! by choosing questions out of order to fish out Daily Doubles is either a refreshing change of pace in a stale formula, or ruins everything that made Jeopardy! great. About 95% of the people commenting about Arthur Chu on Facebook express outrage and hatred of him. On the other hand, a good chunk of the fanbase on Reddit loves his strategy. And for those who don't mind his strategy (it's also used by savvy players who are facing equally capable foes and especially by some during the Tournament of Champions note ), Chu also grated due to his lack of contestant courtesy, often speaking over Trebek. Defenders of him often justify this as a way of speeding up gameplay, as many viewers dislike it when clues are left on the board due to time running out (for which slow and/or overly verbose clue-calling is often a culprit).
      • Chu's strategy isn't anything new. The strategy is referred to as the "Forrest Bounce", named after one of the show's early dominant players, Chuck Forrest. However, even Alex himself has said that he doesn't think highly of the "Forrest Bounce".
    • 2015: 13-day champion Matt Jackson proved to be a base breaker for many of the same reasons as Arthur Chu (ultra-serious demeanor, Forrest bouncing, cutting off Alex), and also attracted negative attention for what some perceived as a creepy smile during introductions (even being parodied on The Soup). Conversely, many fans were impressed with his intelligence and strategy (especially given that he was only 23 years old during his appearances), and noted that during interviews and when the game wasn't in progress, he was very kind and respectful. Notably, on one of his episodes, he informed the judges that they had accidentally ruled an incorrect response from him as correct, and so his score was deducted accordingly.
    • 2016: 9-day champion Buzzy Cohen turned into this during his last five games. Some fans found him smug and cocky for running his hands through his hair and gesturing during introductions, and for distracting the game when referencing the SNL Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches in Final during his runaway wins (i.e. "What is See you tomorrow, Trebek!"), but others liked that he showed his personality and injected levity into the show.
    • Austin Rogers, a 2017 champion, is loved by some for his personality and big bets, while others find him annoying and distracting
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: After an inflatable shark was used in a video clue, said shark made an out-of-nowhere appear aance going into commercial.
  • Creator's Pet: The Clue Crew.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • June 11, 2012: Final Jeopardy! asked "Acts 1:13 says this event occurred in 'an upper room'." They were looking for "The Last Supper", and initially ruled the champion's response of "Pentecost" wrong, but Alex later acknowledged the latter as right in a dubbed-in clip and mentioned that, starting with the next game, his score would be adjusted accordingly. The truth is, there is no right answer Acts 1:13 makes no mention of any "act" besides the disciples meeting there, and Pentecost doesn't show up until Acts 2. Furthermore, the exact location of the Last Supper is unknown; it is believed to have happened in an upper room simply because that was tradition. Fortunately, this did not affect the outcome, since only two players were present at Final Jeopardy! and the champion, who answered "Pentecost", had a "lock" game.
    • April 3rd, 2015: One clue asked for the Catholic sacrament that allows a person to take Communion. They were looking for the response "What is Confirmation?" Actually Confirmation has nothing to do with Communion, and often takes place after a person starts taking Communion. Communion is a sacrament in and of itself, and the initiation of it is just called "First Communion". At the end of the show, Alex took a moment to acknowledge the mistake and promise they would be more careful in the future.
  • Dork Age:
    • Jeopardy! started falling into this near the start of 1997-98 season. It was at this point when the producers began videotaping celebrities, public figures (scientists, politicians, etc.), journalists, and prolific writers to deliver individual clues and, in less frequent cases, full categories. Not only do their clues tend to break the show's pacing, often taking up to 20 seconds to deliver, their utilization has become much more common in recent years—even going so far as to feature soap opera actors awkwardly delivering clues in character.
    • However, it's more strongly arguable that Jeopardy! went full steam ahead into Dork Age territory with the Clue Crew, a regular "feature" born in 2001. It's bad enough that the clues presented by these young assistants tend to eat up as much time as their celebrity counterparts. It gets even worse upon realizing that, if any member of the Clue Crew introduces a category, there's hardly any effort to speed the game up until after the crew's entire column has been cleared out.
  • Ear Worm: The "Think!" theme is an example of Tropes Are Not Bad. Many contestants claim the music serves its purpose by helping them think of the correct response.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The show has frequently used categories with Punny Names or Theme Naming, but since the 1997-98 season, almost every category has some sort of pun or theme, almost to the level of Win Ben Stein's Money.
  • Game-Breaker: Until 2003, Jeopardy! champions could win up to five games before being retired. Starting in the 2003-04 season, the producers instituted a "sky's the limit" rule, where champions could go on and on winning until being defeated. Towards the season's end, Ken Jennings came along and went on a 74-game winning streak that lasted into the next season.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The first episode of Trebek's Jeopardy! on September 10, 1984, had these two back-to-back questions "Two Saturday Night alumni who tried Trading Places", the answer being "Who are Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy?", and "He may Never Say Never Again when asked to be Bond", with the answer obviously being "Who is Sean Connery?" That's right Sean Connery and SNL have been part of Trebek's Jeopardy! since the beginning.
    • On June 22, 1999, with a very close game for Final Jeopardy!, Alex tells the players "Someone asked me the other day if we've ever had a three-way tie...", to which he said no. On March 16, 2007, the first-evernote  nonzero three-way tie happened in Final Jeopardy.
    • The July 23, 2009, Final Jeopardy! was notorious for its obscure response of Liederkranz cheese, which has gained Memetic Mutation in the fandom as a benchmark for clue obscurity (partially because a prominent member of the fandom happened to have a Curb-Stomp Battle going on that day). It turns out that at least one prior episode had a nearly-verbatim clue about the cheese, which also stumped all three players even then.
    • In the July 29, 2015, show, A question in the category of "Teams That Haven't Won a World Series", mentioned Troy Tulowitzki, a player for the Colorado Rockies, trying to lead his team to a championship. While true at the time of tapingnote , by the time the episode aired on TV, Tulowitzki had been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays note .
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • The Skyler Homback Kids' Week Curb-Stomp Battle on July 31, 2013. Thomas Hurley, a 12-year-old contestant, was in a distant second place behind Skylernote  upon entering a Final Jeopardy! on The American Civil War. Unfortunately, Thomas added an extra letter to the phrase "Emancipationnote  Proclamation", and wound up getting penalized for it. Many who saw the show believed that, even though Thomas would have finished second even if ruled as correct, should have been given some slack for the misspell.
    • On October 14, 2013, the defending champion was penalized for misspelling Kazakhstan for his Final Jeopardy! response (he misspelled it as Kazkhistan). There were many angry posts that flooded the Facebook page, from people who thought that the judges should have been more lenient, given that Alex said, "we don't normally penalize for a misspelled word" but that in Final Jeopardy!, the misspelling changed the phonetic pronunciation.
    • On February 24, 2015, a number of people in the Washington State area took major offense at a question that referenced the Oso mudslide tragedy. These people were angry that Jeopardy! essentially "trivialized" a state tragedy, especially one so recent. However, others feel that these people are just way too sensitive.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: This can occur when a superchampion goes on a lengthy run, as many casual viewers who don't regularly (or ever) watch Jeopardy! tune in to see the dominant champion everyone's talking about. Best exemplified by Ken Jennings' 74-day run in 2004 (to the point where Jeopardy! started overtaking Wheel of Fortune in the Nielsen ratings), while any 10+ day champion has had this happen to an extent. As well, it came out late in Matt Jackson's 13 day run in 2015 that advertisers were inquiring about how long he'd win for, so they could buy commercial time during his more-watched games (producers obviously declined, not wanting to leak episode results.)
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The "answering with a question" format had so wormed its way into the brain of American audiences, as far back as the Fleming era, that practically any other game show that asks trivia will see multiple contestants answer with a question; that show's host may then remind them "this isn't Jeopardy!" with varying degrees of humor or irritation (most notably Win Ben Stein's Money, where offending contestants were forced to wear a Dunce Cap). This happens even in high school academic quiz bowls, especially since, like Jeopardy!, contestants have to buzz in.
    • Just about any news article about Jeopardy! is bound to include "What is _____?" and/or "I'll take ______ for $[X]00." They also appears frequently in situations that have nothing to do with Jeopardy!, especially the latter.
    • In the Cheers episode "What Is... Cliff Clavin?", Cliff appears on the show and, despite getting a runaway lead, wagers everything and gets Final Jeopardy! wrong. This episode has been referenced regularly on Jeopardy! at least two contestants have copied his Final Jeopardy! response of "Who are three people that have never been in my kitchen?", and Trebek sometimes warns contestants with runaway leads not to "pull a Cliff Clavin" (i.e., wager everything—or even enough to let a player who's behind to catch up—and then get it wrong).
    • There have been countless references to Saturday Night Live's "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketches, which almost always featured Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond) as a contestant. Both the show itself and many of its contestants have made constant references to these sketches the writers through category names ("Months That Begin with 'Feb'"), and the contestants through Sean Connery impersonations.
    • "Who is Kebert Xela?" was used by a contestant in Final Jeopardy!
    • The Jeopardy! fanbase has made a meme out of Liederkranz cheese, the answer to a notoriously difficult Final Jeopardy! question on the July 23, 2009 show; often considered the most obscure clue the show has ever had. Its notoriety was probably exacerbated by the fact that the champion a.) had an absolutely monstrous lead going into Final Jeopardy! (the scores were $22,800/$200/$200), and b.) is a prominent member of the fanbase.
    • "Stay clam" [sic] is both this and helpful advice for Jeopardy! contestants. The meme originated from a misspelled forum post from 2002 Back to School Week player Gracie Studdard, who was giving advice on how to handle one's self on a game show. Since its introduction, watchers and players alike will say if they clam on giving the question to an answer if they are uncertain.
    • "Who is Dankey Kang?", as seen on Pop-Culture Isolation, originated from a humorous hoax concerning a photoshopped contestant allegedly giving that answer to something hinting toward Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The board fill sound at the beginning of the round (retired in July 2008 and, after a season wherein the board did not make a noise, replaced with a relaxing six-tone chime that Trebek has said that he likes).
    • The Daily Double trill.
    • The simple one-note chime when the Final Jeopardy! category and clue are revealed.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The format of contestants being supplied the answers and having to come up with the questions was the basis for the first regularly scheduled quiz show CBS Television Quiz.
    • J! Archive was not the first fansite to archive the clues. Before them, a prior Jeopardy! archive existed on an AOL site known as the Jeoparchive. This site archived clues for Jeopardy! for season 20, but it was taken down in 2004 when founder Ronnie O'Rourke (a former Jeopardy! champion) grew disillusioned with the show once Ken Jennings started winning game after game. However, a mirror of the site has since been revived, and most of its games are in J! Archive now anyway.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy:
    • On July 31, 2013, a player on Kids' Week absolutely owned the game to the tune of $66,600. What do people best remember about this episode? One of his opponents was penalized for misspelling Emancipation Proclamation for his Final Jeopardy! response. In the days that followed, angry posts flooded the show's Facebook page, claiming that since children were playing the game, the judges should have been more lenient. Journalists and news websites also chimed in on the issue with the contestant claiming he was robbed because of his spelling error. Never mind that he would've gotten only second place regardless and the controversy over the misspelling completely overshadowed the winner's huge haul. This mess had an impact on the final fate of the Kids' Week games; the next one in December, 2014, that got caught up in the Sony hack and exposed a Stage Mom incident, which upset Trebek, led to the Kids' Week games going the way of the Seniors Tournament, as none have been held since, and the series has all but distanced itself from them.
    • The October 12, 2009, game was the third game for 5-time champion Terry Linwood. However, one of his opponents was Jeff Kirby, who'd previously played on Jeopardy in 1999, even though Trebek-era contestants are not allowed to appear again. The producers hadn't realized this until someone on the show's message board pointed out that he was wearing the same tie he had worn in his 1999 appearance. Because of him, this game's been barred from reruns (As for Kirby, he finished in last place after failing Final Jeopardy!, just like his 1999 appearance, and was denied the $1,000 third place prize because of his ineligibility).
  • Replacement Scrappy: Alex was initially perceived as this by fans of the Fleming version due to his stricter hosting style, but over time, fans began to warm up to him more, especially as he toned down his style a bit.
  • The Scrappy:
    • The Clue Crew, first introduced in 2001. Many dislike the fact that their video clues tend to be overlong and distracting, causing them to become so long-winded that the contestants and viewers both lose track of the clue, or simply because they chew up so much airtime, leaving more potential for clues going unrevealed at the end of the round.
    • Since the 1997-98 season, any clue or whole categories of clues read by a celebrity—or worse, given by casts of TV shows where the clues are given in-character. Almost all of them tend to involve very long clues read very slowly which gets worse when a Daily Double is hidden there. Many contestants have caught onto these which is why they almost always get picked last. These are similarly hated for dragging down the game and creating a greater risk of leaving clues on the board.
    • Kids or Back to School Week games, which not only make the Teen Tournament feel redundant, but include questions that are too easy, even for that demographic, or too focused on child-appropriate topics (such as contemporary cartoons, children's literature, tweenage pop music, etc.) to allow older generations to play along. They stopped doing them in Season 31, likely due to the Sony hacks.
    • The Teachers Tournament has been seen as this. It has supporters who like tournament play and the respect and praise shown to teachers with the event, but others see the competition as being weaker in general than regular games (even though players are picked from regular play applications), and it takes away a TOC spot from a regular contestant, especially considering that teachers are historically not dominant in regular games or in tournaments. Only Colby Burnett has ever made the semifinals of a TOC (let alone win it, or qualify for the Battle of the Decades), and only one Teachers Tournament player (2011 semifinalist Charley Tinkham) has ever had a Coryat score of at least $25,000 in that event.
    • Similar opinions followed the former Seniors Tournament to some viewers, as contestants over 50 years of age have never been barred from regular play, the competition could be slower-paced, and of the 10 winners of that event, none ever won a TOC quarterfinal game (though two did advance to the finals, and another three advanced as wildcards.) Its 1995 demotion from July to December (outside of a sweeps period) seems to have been a move to ultimately kill it off.
    • Celebrity games usually have this reputation too— stereotypically, the celebrity games are constantly dragged down by the players not taking the game seriously, thus leading to constant smartass remarks, ringing in with an "Ooh, I know this, what is it?"-type quip, ego-stroking categories/clues, elongated introductions and interviews to promote the charities being played for, and general buffoonery. The 2006 episodes from Radio City Music Hall made this even worse by having singers perform during Daily Doubles, thus eating up even more time to the point that as many as fifteen clues were unplayed in each round.
      • Jeopardy!'s four Power Players Weeks are maligned by some fans even more than regular Celebrity Jeopardy! games, due to what some perceive as generally weaker competition and a relative lack of "star power" (as contestants are usually journalists, pundits, news anchors, and politicians). There are also fans who dislike Power Players games due to the inclusion of left-leaning and/or right-leaning political figures, on what is otherwise a bipartisan/nonpartisan series.
  • Scrub: Many fans complain that Arthur Chu's strategy of fishing for Daily Doubles to deny them from his opponents is cheating, when in fact, though widely not utilized, there's no rule against it, and show staff make it clear to contestants that such a strategy is perfectly legal. Chu isn't even the first contestant to do so. It's been done by several players in regular play and the Tournament of Champions, and even Watson did this during the IBM Challenge. The main reason why it isn't common is because it's high risk to choose the lower row questions early, the wordplay in the clues sometimes build top to bottom (which makes the lower row questions easier in context), and because most players would much rather use the Daily Double than waste it.
    • When he recaps pre-2003 shows when the 5-win limit was in effect, Keith Williams from The Final Wager sometimes frowns upon the 5-time champions who wagered an extra dollar to cover their opponents rather than simply tying with them and letting them become a champion, since they're not facing them again.
  • Seasonal Rot / They Changed It, Now It Sucks: As with nearly any Long Runner Game Show, fan opinion is sharply divided:
    • The 1997-98 season not only abandoned the legendary "Jeopardy!" Thinking Music used since 1964 and the synthesizer theme used since 1991, but saw the first use of clues read by celebrities, as well as even more punny categories and travel shows than ever before. There was also the removal of podium microphones.
      • Signs of Seasonal Rot set in the previous season with the infamous "Sushi Bar" set replacing the previous 1984 and 1991 sets which used a "Jeopardy!" logo with flashing lights.
      • Prior to this season, the Tournament of Champions (and Celebrity Jeopardy!), Teen Tournament, College Championship, and Seniors Tournament were respectively held in the sweeps periods of November, February, May, and July. note 
    • Starting in the 2000-01 season, players no longer walked onstage in their introductions (partly due to blind 5-day champion Eddie Timanus' run), and the Teen Tournament winner was no longer invited to the Tournament of Champions.
    • The 2001-02 season introduced the "Clue Crew", a group of Lovely Assistants who present even more video clues, and also the doubling of clue values, which some believe is unfair in regards to ranking all of the show's top money winners, and Alex Trebek shaves off his iconic mustache.
    • The 2003-04 season removed the 5-game limit for winners, which led to Ken Jennings' 74-game winning streak lasting into the next season.
    • The 2008-09 season removed the classic "clue pop-in" sound, and after a season without any popping-in effect, was replaced by another sound effect in the 2009-10 season.
    • Some also complain that the show has gotten easier over time, thus overlapping with It's Easy, So It Sucks. To be fair, this one is very much a Justified Trope; anyone who's watched the show for a long period of time is pretty much guaranteed to find it gradually easier to play along, because they'll constantly be learning from it.
    • Another major complaint is that the writing has gotten too convoluted and "cutesy", with clues often trying way too hard to "tease out" the right answer by way of wordplay. Other clues seem to be written too vaguely, leading viewers to question whether or not another answer might be acceptable. The decline in clue quality is often thought to have started when longtime clue writer Steven Dorfman died in 2004.
    • The 2014-15 season removed the co-champion rule, where players tied for first place could each return the next day to play. All ties are now decided by tie-breaker questions, though none have occurred yet.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Some fans have this attitude towards contestants who write down cutesy things during Final Jeopardy! This most often occurs with the leader in a lock situation although many contestants can't resist the opportunity to give shout-outs to their families or their hometown.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The current version was a major leap from Art Fleming's three versions, which used a much simpler set and pull-cards for the clues instead of the large, electronic set and wall of monitors.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The show's "think" music ends with a coda that matches perfectly with the end of the children's song "I'm a Little Teapot" leading many people to sing "tip me over / and pour me out" at the end.
  • That One Level:
    • Opera, ballet, or spelling categories, which are almost always saved for last. The dislike for opera as a category gets Lampshaded several times with opera themed categories called "The Dreaded Opera Category", "Oh No, It's Opera" or "Uh Oh, Opera".
    • "Before, During, And After" in the Tournaments of Champions. It's similar to the standard "Before And After" from Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, but there are three parts with two links rather than two parts with one link, and everything has to be provided to be correct.
    • In recent seasons, categories about Broadway musicals have been given this treatment. The most egregious example was on the January 2, 2013 episode where the category "Broadway Lyrics" not only had each clue go without a correct response, no one even rang in to guess!
    • Jep! as a whole may qualify despite the subject matter, contestant ages, and format changes, its policy on phrasing responses was the strictest of all seven versions!
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: From 1992-1996, the categories were displayed on monitors with a broken/shattered glass effect which would be undone when Alex announced their names. Many fans are in agreement that this was the best way to introduce their categories as it was advanced for its time and still looks cool even 20 years they stopped doing it.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Ofter occurring in in recent years, such as a 2013 game in which the Jeopardy round category names were derived from Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
  • What an Idiot: Has its own page.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/JEOPARDY