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  • 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.
  • Awesome Music:
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    • Almost every Theme Tune from the current version 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 and shaker 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 and freestyle solos. It helps that the latter version brought back the second half of the "globe swoosh" used to introduce the show.
      • The 2008-2021 version. It's nice and relaxing, plus the eleven-note ending is styled after the iconic Daily Double sound effect.
      • Likewise The Greatest of All Time version has been the dubbed either as the movie version or more appropiately the Final Boss version bringing a cinematic sound and heavy percussion to add to the grandeur.
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    • 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:
    • Ken Jennings (2004). Either he's The Ace who knows a lot about many things (even drinks, despite being a teetotaler), or a Invincible Hero who proves why the "Unlimited win" rule is a bad idea. On the hosting side, either Jennings is one of the best guest hosts and a natural successor to Trebek, or his perceived arrogance and his high, nasal voice are a complete deal-breaker (not helped by being the first host since Trebek's passing).
    • 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.
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    • 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 viewers and Alex alike have often expressed disdain for games where clues are left unplayed due to time running out (which is often exacerbated by slow and/or overly-verbose contestants).
      • Chu's strategy is hardly new. The strategy is referred to as the "Forrest Bounce", named after Chuck Forrest, one of the show's early dominant players. 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. And his final response during the conclusion of the 2017 Tournament of Champions to Alex "What is LOVE YOU" redeemed him because that proved he was doing it all in good fun. Fittingly, he also won the tournament after clawing his way back from nothing on the first day, where the producers declared one of his earlier responses valid and bumped up his total winnings a little, and he then made a Herculean leap into the lead with a lucky Daily Double wager that gave him enough money to surpass his opponents even with their first day winning and second day winnings totaled together. Seeing his family cheer him on at the final day is also very uplifting because it all paid off in the end. Cohen's stint as guest host during the Tournament of Champions in Season 37 was also well-received.
    • Austin Rogers quickly became one of these due of his wacky behavior on the show proper, which departed from the cordial atmosphere expected on Jeopardy!. While some love his personality and big bets, others find him annoying and distracting or an Attention Whore. It didn't help that he managed to rack up $400,000+ final total over the course of two weeks. The show actually posted on their app a page about how he was miming drink mixing at the start of almost every episode (he's a bartender), and he appeared on The Tonight Show and became James Corden's "new bae" on The Late Late Show. His detractors have seen these as overexposure, even long after his run ended. However, his run wasn't over yet, so some would say that was just the beginning. He happened to be the last person to qualify for the 2017 Tournament of Champions, in which he became a wild card semi-finalist and made it as a finalist, then placed third and won $50,000, and somehow managed to infect the others and even Trebek with his antics, including Austin "Buzzy" Cohen, whose first name he shares. The fact that one of his responses was stricken along with Buzzy's for adding an "s" to the end of a phrase—done when the producers cut in to inform Alex about the penalization—also shows that the show is not playing favorites.
    • Emma Arnold, a finalist in the 2018 teen tournament. Proponents are won over by her cute, friendly demeanor and surprisingly high intelligence. Others hate her entirely for her high-pitched, childlike voice which draws similarities to Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory.
    • James Holzhauer proved to be this for some during his 32-day reign from April to June 2019. Some fans love him for his aggressive gameplay and ballsy wagers, and are impressed at his ability to keep setting new records. Others find him to be a Curb Stomping Invincible Hero not unlike Ken Jennings, which made some detractors stop watching the show entirely.
      • With the Greatest of All Time Tournament, James seems to have fully embraced the role of Jerkass Heel, complete with trash-talking his opponents on Twitter (with Ken Jennings a surprising Snark Knight foil on the platform). He even trolled Alex in one of the Final Jeopardy! responses, crossing out Pat Sajak's name as Greatest Host Of Syndicated TV before Alex caught on. note . A few of his taunts against Brad Rutter became particularly controversial after Brad's underperformance in the tournament, to the point where even Ken Jennings called him out on it. Some people thought he crossed the line into Kick the Dog territory while others said it was standard trash talk and that Brad being one of the best for 20 years makes him an Acceptable Target even if he's losing.
    • 2021: 7-time champ Brian Chang (the first superchamp in the post-Trebek era) quickly became this during his run for his smug demeanor and Forrest-bouncing. It didn't help that he won his fourth game by beating an opponent on a tiebreaker clue.
    • With Trebek's passing came the decision to have guest hosts for the remainder of Season 37. Aside from the fanbase universally disliking Dr. Mehmet Oz, the merits of each have varied. Much like the Power Players weeks mentioned further below, some fans aren't comfortable with certain hosts on a bipartisan/nonpartisan series. Those who don't mind it have ignored the criticism at best and resorted to infighting at worst.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: After an inflatable shark was used in a video clue, said shark made an out-of-nowhere appearance going into commercial.
  • Broken Base:
    • The removal of the five-game limit in 2003, which usually comes up when someone from Season 20 onward goes on a lengthy run. Fans who support this have speculated on how winners from before that era would have lasted had their streaks not been cut short. On the other hand, it turns super-champions into unstoppable machines with more games being put of reach for challengers.
    • When Alex shaved off his mustache in 2001 fans seemed to have been fairly split as to whether they preferred him with or without it. When he re-grew the mustache in 2014 and polled fans as to whether he should keep it or not, support for and and against it was reportedly about fifty-fifty. (However, when he grew a full beard in 2018 and polled people about it again, 73% voted in favor of it - though as his wife preferred Alex clean-shaven, the beard didn't last).
    • The topic of who should succeed Alex Trebek as host was always thorny, even before Trebek's passing in 2020. Brad Rutter, Buzzy Cohen, and Ken Jennings were among the most common picks, with Mayim Bialik being touted among the 2021 interim hosts.
  • "Common Knowledge": It was long believed that this composition of the think music was used on the Fleming era. It never was, having circulated only since 1986 (two years into the Trebek run) when it was featured on the Television's Greatest Hits, Volume II album. Further complicating matters, for a long time that version was the one most TV shows/movies used in "thinking" scenes (including The Santa Clause, among others), and was also used heavily in the Saturday Night Live Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches.
  • Creator's Pet: The Clue Crew. For a few years after their introduction, they appeared in clues almost weekly, and the ceremonial 4,000th episode dedicated its entire last segment to them.
  • 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?" Communion is a sacrament in and of itself, the initiation of it is just called "First Communion", and the "Confirmation before Communion" concept is generally found in Protestant churches. At the end of the show, Alex took a moment to acknowledge the mistake and promise they would be more careful in the future.
    • October 8, 2019: One clue asked for a video game whose rotatable blocks have names such as "Orange Ricky, Hero, and Smashboy". While a contestant does provide the correct reponse of Tetris, the names are actually incorrect, having originated from a Twitter meme post showing these names in a supposed copy of the NES version's manual. Even the game's official Twitter account called the show out on it.
    • November 30, 2021: The Daily Double clue in the Double Jeopardy! "Ends in 'Ex'" reads "In math, these 2 words are often used interchangeably for the top point of a figure, like a cone". The response they were looking for was "the apex and the vertex", even though mathematically, a vertex is not correct and an apex is not a mathematical term.
    • The NES game has a blatant one that the Game Grumps discovered. A clue asked for the Disney Princess cursed by "Queen Malificent" to which both Arin and Jon correctly claimed was Sleeping Beauty. They were surprised to discover the game was saying that was wrong, and they both gave a Big "WHAT?!" when the "correct" response was revealed to be Snow White.
  • Dork Age:
    • Jeopardy! started falling into this near the start of the 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.
    • The introduction of the Clue Crew, a regular "feature" born in 2001. It's bad enough that the clues presented by these 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. However, complaints have subsided in the years since as the crew settled into their roles, with both current members (Jimmy McGuire and Sarah Whitcomb-Foss) being brought up as potential replacements for Trebek after his death.
    • Many feel that the show entered a new one when Mike Richards took over as producer, given some rather contentious judgment calls, a perceived drop in clue quality, and the wildly varying reception to the guest hosts following Trebek's death. Then he took over as host full-time for the main show, and the revelation of his other actions forced him to step down as host and lose his job altogether.
  • Elimination Houdini:
    • Anurag Kashyap made it to the finals of the Season 25 Teen Tournament thanks to some close calls in Final Jeopardy! of his semi-final match. Both of his opponents finished Double Jeopardy! tied for the lead, and he was trailing by $1,200. He wagered everything and got the correct response of Anne Frank. One opponent also wrote the correct response but didn't wager enough to cover him. The other wrote "Who is Annie Frank?" which was ruled unacceptable after a stopdown. Anurag eventually won the tournament.
    • On February 8, 2013, during the Season 29 Teen Tournament, Leonard Cooper became the first and only wildcard finalist for having the highest non-winning semifinal score. This was necessitated due to a previous semifinal game where all three contestants wound up with $0 after Final Jeopardy! And guess what? Cooper won the tournament! The rules were changed immediately afterward so that semifinals that end with all three players at $0 are decided by a tiebreaker clue.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • One of the few big money winners from the 21st century is Brad Rutter. Despite never having lost an official match (save for the exhibition IBM Watson Challenge and the special Greatest of All Time tournament), Brad is well-liked for his Deadpan Snarker tendencies and has even had his name thrown out as a possible replacement for Alex Trebek even before Trebek's death.
    • Some of the guest hosts following Trebek's death have been warmly received despite their relative obscurity, most notably Buzzy Cohen and David Faber.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: It's common for casual fans and non-fans alike to assume that James Holzhauer threw his losing game due to his unusually small Final Jeopardy! wager of $1,399, but a minimal application of game theory is necessary to understand why he did this. The scores going into Final Jeopardy! were Emma at $26,600, James at $23,400, and Jay at $11,000. Emma made the ideal wager of $20,201, enough to put her $1 above double James' score on a correct response, therefore meaning that James could win only if Emma got it wrong or grossly under-wagered. His own wager of $1,399 would therefore leave him $1 above double Jay's score even on an incorrect response and still allow him to win if Emma had also gotten it wrong.
  • 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. It only worsened when longtime clue writer Stephen Dorfman died in 2004.
  • 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 win streak that lasted into the next season, earning well over $2 million.
    • James Holzhauer's 32-win streak in 2019 qualifies as well. Due to his frequent success rate on aggressive Daily Double wagers (including a series-high $25,000 wager on his fourth and tenth games), Holzhauer not only became the first contestant to top $100,000 in a single game (with a record $131,127 on April 17), he also topped $100,000 six different times during his reign and holds each and every one of the ten highest single-game scores in the show's history (10th place being a "paltry" $89,229).
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Своя играnote , a Russian adaptation, has run since 1994. Jeopardy! has also done reasonably well in Denmark, Estonia, Sweden and Turkey.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Alex telling a contestant in his final episode that he too owns more books than he could ever read in his life. Trebek would die two weeks after the episode was taped.
    • Richards using Alex's "kinder and gentler society" spiel from the beginning of his final week at the end of every episode from his guest-hosting stint becomes this after his actions were revealed in an incriminating exposé, costing Richards both his hosting and executive producing jobs.
  • 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. And in Finding Forrester, there's a scene where William Forrester (Connery) watches a game of Jeopardy.
    • The "Readings From Homer" category in a 1999 episode in which Dan Castellaneta reads the works of Homer as Homer Simpson is this for two reasons:
      • Three years after this episode, The Simpsons episode "Tales From the Public Domain" had a segment in which Homer and the rest of the men of Springfield acted out The Odyssey, with Homer as Odysseus.
      • Hercules: The Animated Series had an episode in which the historical Homer appeared, voiced by...you guessed it, Dan Castellaneta.
    • 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.
    • January 2004 champion Tom Walsh mentions his home city of Washington DC not having a baseball team. One year later, the Montreal Expos moved there and became the Washington Nationals.
    • 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 championshipnote , by the time the episode aired on TV, Tulowitzki had been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays note .
    • Mayim Bialik being invited to guest host Jeopardy! in 2021 fits considering that one of the last episodes of her 1990s sitcom Blossom had a Dream Sequence where Blossom Russo, the title character played by Bialik, competed on Jeopardy! alongside Albert Einstein and Blossom's brother Joey.
    • A darkly humorous example, but it's oddly fitting that Alex passed a week after Sean Connery's death, given the relationship between two (or at least the versions played by Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond) in Saturday Night Live's "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketches.
    • During a news segment about contestants showing up to audition and all aiming to beat then-Jeopardy champion James Holzhauer, sharp-eyed viewers can briefly spot Matt Amodio in the testing room (at :27 and :43). While Matt and James never faced off during regular season play, Matt went on to beat James in a manner of speaking about two years later when he won 38 games, surpassing him as the player with the second-most wins in regular play.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: This can occur when a champion goes on a lengthy run of 10+ days with many casual viewers who don't regularly (or ever) watch Jeopardy! tuning in to see the dominant champion everyone's talking about.
    • Best exemplified by Ken Jennings' 74-day run in 2004. At the midpoint of his run towards the end of Season 20, Jeopardy! overtook Wheel of Fortune in the Nielsen ratings for the first reported time ever.
    • 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).
    • James Holzhauer's 33-game run in 2019 saw viewership grow by 32% in his first four weeks. The final game of his run was Jeopardy!'s highest rated episode in 14 years, with numbers almost matching the NBA finals that were happening around the same time (although the viewership spike of that episode likely came from its result being leaked).
    • This is the concept of the Greatest of All Time Tournament. Three of the most dominant players in the game's history playing Tournament Final matches until one of them won three matchesnote .
  • 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, (Alex)." 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.
    • "SHIT TYRONE GET IT TOGETHER", an infamous viral image of a dreadlocked African-American contestant falling in the red who answered something wrong, which mutated into a phrase used to mock people's stupidity in general.
    • After James Holzhauer's run, other contestants have imitated his pantomime of pushing poker chips and saying "All in!" to announce a True Daily Double wager.
    • It's common to hum the "Think" music when someone is hesitating answering a question.
    • "What's a hoe?": Ken Jennings gave this answer to the clue "This long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker." The answer was "rake" and Trebek and the audience got a good laugh from Ken's answer. Several fans however have protested the answer saying that Ken technically wasn't wrong and/or they've never heard the term "rake" used in that context in their life.
    • August 2021 saw fans applying the "My fall plans/The Delta Variant" meme to Jeopardy! when Mike Richards was announced as the permanent host (at first) for Season 38. The first part had the memer's preferred choice of host, most commonly Ken Jennings, LeVar Burton or even Alex Trebek. The second universally had Richards' picture.
  • 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 from 2009 to 2016 that Trebek has said that he likes, and the current sound since 2016).
    • The Daily Double trill.
    • The simple one-note chime when the Final Jeopardy! category and clue are revealed.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Computer releases throughout the years have been praised for allowing responses to be typed as opposed to moving a cursor between letters. This allows for a much faster pace than video game releases in the same era, even if the time window for typing is generous.
    • The 2011 game from THQ was well-received, for its multiple options to answer questions to speed up gameplay (such as multiple choice) as well as being the only Jeopardy! game to feature full participation of Alex Trebek reading all the clues (prior games would have the clues either in silence or read by Johnny Gilbert while Alex would perform standard hosting lines in-between).
  • 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. For the record, Merv Griffin was likely unaware of that show since he was a teenager living in San Francisco when that show (which originated from WCBW in New York) was on the air, although his future wife Julann (who gave Merv the idea of switching the questions and answers around) probably was.
    • 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:
    • 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 (unless specifically invited due to a production error or to play in a Tournament of Champions). 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).
    • On July 31, 2013, a player on Kids' Week absolutely owned the game to the tune of $66,600, then the fifth-highest one-day total. What do people best remember about this episode? One of his opponents was penalized for misspelling "Emancipation Proclamation" (he spelled the first word "Emanciptation") 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 Mike Richards era started with two of these moments, both happening within one week of each other.
      • September 15, 2020: A contestant in Final Jeopardy!, Betsy Reisz, was penalized for misspelling the response "Berry Gordy" as "Barry Gordy". Fans were outraged, as traditionally judging only penalized the way the word was pronounced, and the words "Berry" and "Barry" were pronounced almost exactly the same way in most dialects, despite the fact that the winner would have won regardless.
      • September 22, 2020: A Final Jeopardy! clue read "The book 'The Eagle & the Elephant' is about the relationship between the U.S. & this Asian country beginning in 1833." The problem was there are two books with that title: one about diplomatic relations between the United States and Thailand (formerly Siam) and the other about the United States and India. Tyler Brill's response of "What is India?" was ruled incorrect, and he would have won the game if not for the poorly written clue.
    • April 27, 2021: Three-day champion Kelly Donohue's intros had him count the number of games won with his fingers throughout his run. On his fourth game, however, Donohue's hand gesture in the intro was accused of resembling an upside-down "ok" symbol used by white supremacy groups. Needless to say, the show's producers immediately caught flak for retaining this, despite the fact that Donohue was making a "three game" signal with his hand, which he confirmed.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • For many years the show suffered from inadequate home game adaptations. The box games produced by Milton Bradley recycled the board from their adaptation of Concentration, resulting in only five categories a game, with one of the spaces in Double Jeopardy having to be reserved for Final. The Pressman adaptations beginning in the mid 1980s inexplicably carried this forward (through as late as 2003!). Tyco/Mattel released a somewhat unusual version in the early 90s, which had all six categories, but were cards placed on stands so as many as six players could participate, each acting as host for their own category; Final Jeopardy was completely absent here. Not only that, Daily Doubles were randomly placed among the categories so you might have as many as six, or none at all. Parker Brothers released an adaptation in 1999 which many feel is the best, having a single gameboard with six categories and a reserved space below the board for Final. The 2016 version from Outset Media takes a cue from the Tyco version, having category cards placed into holders mounted to stands, but has the typical three-person play pattern akin to the other versions.
    • For video game adaptations that fall into this category, earlier releases are bogged down by sluggish game play caused by moving between characters when entering responses, especially if the letters, numbers and punctuation marks are all on one row. Later games alleviate this by offering an auto-complete feature that will give different options after entering a few letters. The GameTek ports have notorious Rubber-Band A.I. which will allow computer players to prevent you from running away with the game.
      • The 2017 Ubisoft version was maligned upon release. Instead of trying to replicate a Jeopardy broadcast, like the Wheel game it was bundled with, the game opts for a Flash-style text-and-graphics look that gave it a cheap and No Budget feel, while being so sloppily programmed that Daily Doubles could appear in the top, lowest-value clue, and even two Daily Doubles could appear in the same category, pitfalls even the 8- and 16-bit versions avoided.
  • 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.
    • Averted with Harry Friedman. Jeopardy!'s fans agree he did a better job as head honcho than on Wheel.
    • Mike Richards, who replaced the retiring Friedman starting with Season 37. While his tenure in the same position on The Price Is Right from 2009-2019 has been divisive, particularly among fans who prefer the Bob Barker years, his run on that series still has a lot of fans, and unlike Friedman, has been somewhat commended for his job on Wheel. On Jeopardy!, however, fans were quick to call him out for approving some of the most controversial Final Jeopardy! clues in the show's history so far, as well as other misleading clues. The report that he was in "advanced negotiations" to become the permanent host was met with near-universal backlash, especially given allegations of age and sex discrimination towards staffers on both Jeopardy! and Price. Worsening the backlash was that, according to two sources in an article on The Ringer, another guest host (later confirmed to be Ken Jennings by a former staffer on The Price Is Right) had a "minor scheduling conflict". While the staff was more than willing to work around it, Richards decided to step in himself, completely contradicting his claims about only being a substitute last-minute host and losing whatever goodwill he had gained from that. Once journalists unearthed a podcast Richards had hosted in 2013-14 where he commonly made off-color and even offensive comments, the situation became untenable and Richards announced on August 20th, 2021 that he would step down and allow someone else to become the permanent host (which delayed production of the 2021-22 season). He would lose his job as executive producer by month's end.
    • Some of the guest hosts also managed to become this to Trebek (depending on who is asked), but it's widely agreed that these two guest hosts were the worst:
      • Dr. Mehmet Oz was announced as one of the guest hosts after Trebek's passing. Due to his controversial reputation, many fans, some former champions, and even some contestants who played during his run were angered to the point of boycotting his shows and encouraging loyal viewers to do the same, while 32-game champion James Holzhauer issued a Take That! towards Oz in the form of a retweet. It didn't help that the announcement that he would host took place after his shows were taped. Even without all that, Oz's hosting has been divisive at best, and at least one contestant who played on an Oz episode even accused him of mocking her between tapings, as well as stumbling several clues by mispronouncing them. The backlash against Oz guest hosting was so extreme that his appearance on The $100,000 Pyramid later in 2021 went largely unnoticed.
      • Bill Whitaker has also received flak from fans due to his dull, monotone delivery. Not helping is that his first episode took two hours to tape according to the production staff and some contestants.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Clue Crew, first introduced in 2001. While generally averted as the years passed, many disliked the fact that their video clues tended to be overly long and distracting, causing them to become so long-winded that the contestants and viewers lose track of both the clue and the category. Also, since they chewed up so much airtime when they appear, there was greater 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. These are hated for dragging down the game and creating a greater risk of leaving clues on the board. Many contestants have caught onto these, which is why they almost always get picked last.
    • 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, due to the two aforementioned incidents.
    • 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 (done from 1992 to 2015) 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.
      • Done sporadically from 1998 until 2016, Jeopardy!'s four Power Players Weeks were 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.
    • Tiebreaker clues after Final Jeopardy! in non-tournament play, as the co-champion rule worked nicely for 50 years, and fans noticed it as a cheap way to save money after the 2014 Sony hacking incident.
  • Scrub: Many fans complain that champions who fish for Daily Doubles to deny them from their opponents is cheating. There's no rule against it, and show staff make it clear to contestants that such a strategy is perfectly legal. Arthur Chu is the first contestant to get this treatment, though several contestants have done so in regular play and the Tournament of Champions, and even Watson did this during the IBM Challenge. The main reason why hasn't become common until James Holzhauer's run 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.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Netflix currently has three collections available for viewing, two of which are named the "Seth Wilson Collection" and the "Cindy Stowell Tribute." The names of these collections and the format of the streaming service give away who will win the first episode of the respective collection, the fact that these two named players were long-running champions, and the fact that they will be defeated in the final episode of their collection.
  • 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.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The episode for November 9, 2020 began with a post-production bit in which then-executive producer Mike Richards tells viewers that Alex Trebek passed away over the weekend and comes close to crying doing so. He adds that the remaining 35 episodes Trebek had taped would air, ending with him saying "On behalf of everyone here at Jeopardy, thank you for everything, Alex." The video ends as the lights on the set go down.
    • The last episode hosted by Alex Trebek ended with a video tribute made up of clips of him hosting the show. It is heartbreaking to watch it and to realize that it's the last time he'll be seen on the show.
    • Alex's noticably hoarse sounding voice during his final episodes, as an indicator of his illness.
    • What goes on to be Alex's final sign off on his final episode.
      • Alex: "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for spending the time with us. We'll see you again, next week."
    • Likewise, Ken Jennings fights back tears on his first night as guest host. He says that being on the show with Alex was one of the greatest moments of his life and that the man always did his job perfectly for 37 years straight. No one can replace Alex, Ken asserts, but we can honor his memory by keeping the show going.
      Ken: "Thank you, Johnny Gilbert. Thank you everyone. Welcome to Jeopardy! Ya' know, sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life. Not many things in life are perfect, but, Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years, and it was even better up close. We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace, really there's no other word for it. Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex, very much, and I thank him for everything he did for all of us. Let's be totally clear, no one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek, but we can honor him by playing the game he loved. Jim, Tanay, Julianote , welcome to the show."
  • 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!
    • Sports-specific categories often befall this fate. One early example comes from a first-round Bowling category in 1986, from which only the $100 and $200 clues are played. Alex promptly assumes none of that episode's contestants have ever bowled and, in a sharp ad-lib, suggests simply chatting for what little time remained in the round.
    • More recently, "Video Games" or any variant of the category usually gets a wide berth from players. The same can be said of categories dedicated to anime and manga.
    • 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!
  • That One Rule: Spelling in Final Jeopardy! The general rule is that a response is considered correct as long as the spelling doesn't affect the pronunciation. Alex usually points this out when the judges rule in favor of a contestant, saying, "We don't penalize for spelling." Any moment where a contestant loses credit on even a slight pronunciation difference is bound to result in angry tweets or Facebook posts, even if it doesn't affect the outcome.
  • 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 1984 (which was updated with bongo and shaker tracks in 1992), 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 this set in the previous season with the infamous "Sushi Bar" set replacing the previous sets from 1984-1996 which used a "Jeopardy!" logo with flashing lights, and the removal of the "Reverse Shatter" clue transition (see Visual Effects of Awesome below).
      • 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, due to Teen Tournament winners having to deal with overly difficult material in the ToC compared to said tournament.
    • 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 shaved 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 justified; 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 clues, though the first instance didn't occur until March 1, 2018, somewhat negating the impact of the three-way nonzero tie from 2007 to many.
    • The 2020-21 season (the only full season with Mike Richards as executive producer) is widely considered the show's worst season in its entire history. Among other things, the clue writing and judging went downhill, and many of the guest hosts after Trebek's death were very lackluster (and the less said about Dr. Mehmet Oz, the better). Some people have even called for the show's cancellation after Trebek's death, despite his wishes for the show to continue.
    • The announcement that Richards himself would become the new permanent host for Season 38 was met with even more backlash than the Dr. Oz debacle. Especially since it was also announced that Mayim Bialik (herself a divisive host, but she at least had her fans) would host primetime specials and spin-offs. This decision angered fans who felt Ken Jenningsnote , Buzzy Cohennote , LeVar Burtonnote , David Fabernote , Brad Rutternote , Jimmy McGuire, Sarah Whitcomb-Fossnote , Alex Faust, Laura Coates, and Ben Mankiewicz note  got snubbed. The decision to use Bialik for primetime shows led to accusations that Sony only selected her as a secondary host to distract from Richards' sexual harassment allegations during his tenure on The Price is Right resurfacing. Them resurfacing along with an old Richards-hosted podcast where he commonly made off-color remarks created an untenable situation that not only forced Richards to relinquish hosting duties but cost him his role as executive producer as well.
    • The new Theme Tune from Season 38. While most agreed it was a good idea to change it (given the previous version had been in use for 13 years), it's generally agreed that it sounds more like a MIDI arrangement or a ringtone, while the opening part sounds too bombastic. The Final Jeopardy! music was unchanged.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Alex Trebek got this reaction when he started hosting the syndicated revival, after Art Fleming helmed two versions of the show for 11 years combined. As Trebek settled into the role, the comparisons died down.
    • This will most likely be the case for any prospective replacement host after Trebek’s death, having hosted the show for nearly four decades. Ken Jennings acknowledged this in his first show as guest host, saying that no one can replace Alex but he will honor him by continuing the game.
  • Uncanny Valley: The 1992 video game release on the Super Nintendo has a digitized Alex Trebek saying "The answer is..." to announce each clue. The way his eyes and mouth move are unsettling to say the least. The Deluxe and Sports Editions for the SNES use the stationary graphic of Trebek from the Genesis version.
  • 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 more than 20 years they stopped doing it.
  • Vindicated by History: The think theme introduced in 1997 immediately attained Replacement Scrappy status for swapping out an iconic tune that had been in use since the Fleming years. These days, fans appreciate it more for being a welcome rearrangement. Likewise the current think theme, introduced in 2008.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Often occurring since the 2010s, 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.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • The announcement that Dr. Mehmet Oz would be a guest host received near-universal backlash from fans and former contestants due to his controversial reputation.
    • Subverted with Joe Buck, the final guest host of Season 37. Despite his contentious history as a sportscaster, he was generally considered by the fandom to have done a good job as guest host.
    • Played straight with then-executive producer Mike Richards, whose selection resulted in the largest amount of backlash against the show to date.

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