Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jeopardy format

Doesn't the answer-question format of Jeopardy seem like a pointless gimmick?
For one thing, anything which can be stated as answer-question can also be stated as question-answer.
For another thing, the "answers" are usually nothing like anything anybody would give as an actual answer to the "question". For example, when asked:

"Who is Madonna?"
Would you answer:
"Dad refuses to see a Guy Ritchie film because he's always had a secret crush on this 'Like A Virgin' singer."

Or when asked:
"Who is Shamu?"
Would you answer:
"Ice cream bars shaped like this celebrity cetacean are a special treat at Sea World."

I guess the format is there to trip up contestants. It still seems silly and gimmicky to me.


Anonymous said...

This is kind of a weird post. It's the kind of thing I'd have expected someone to say however many years ago it was that Jeopardy started. It's written like you've just discovered this show and did not know of its existence until recently! ;-)

Of course it's a gimmick! They needed something to distinguish it from the other game/quiz shows of the time. To make it a bit different from, say, 21. The standard format.

I agree that it is a gimmick and that the answers are not like real answers anyone would give.

My problem with the show is just the easiness of it. At least it moves along at a faster clip than Millionaire or Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

There are occasional humorous bits, like when that pompous blowhard Alex Trebeck corrects someone's pronunciation of a word. Recently he tried that with "homage" and said it the way Americans think it's pronounced but isn't really.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

It's sort of new to me, I haven't really watched TV for years, and I never cared for game shows.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

There seems to be division of opinion about how it's supposed to be pronounced. I'd think it's a French word so obviously in French. But if you go to, you get both French and English pronunciations.

Anonymous said...

It's a gimmick, to distinguish the show from other game shows, and to obscure the fact that this show rewards knowledge, something that is generally frowned upon in U.S. popular culture.

Anonymous said...

Americans, though, usually in trying to pronounce it as the French do, put way too much emphasis on the "o".

I too am not much into game shows, but I did watch Jeopardy occasionally when Ken Jennings was on his streak.

Sometimes I wonder if you've got the right idea about only watching shows on DVD, but I think something is missed that way. The torture of a season-ending cliffhanger, for example. Lots of other stuff. I've been downloading episodes of Quantum Leap lately. I was aware of the show in the 80s and 90s but didn't watch it more than once or twice. (I hardly watched anything in those days.) I think something is missed by not seeing them back then, of not having to wait till the next week to see how the next leap plays out.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Mmm, I actually never did watch any shows in that way.

Michael, it seems to me that the "trivia" kind of knowledge is quite popular in the US. Sports trivia, for example.

Anonymous said...

and to obscure the fact that this show rewards knowledge

I'm not so sure. There's a reason people usually only mention a last name for a lot of questions. They cram like Woody's wife in White Men Can't Jump.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, I actually never did watch any shows in that way.

That's a shame.

Johnnie Walker said...

That is too bad. Must've been a weird kid.

Alex said...

Hmm, We seems to watch only DVD's at the moment, since the only stations we watch are KTEH (PBS), KQED (PBS) KCSM(PBS) and erm, that's it. Since we watch so few stations, we never really bothered upgrading our cable above the $12 pcm package. The $40 we save by not going to the next level gets turned into DVD rentals and boxed sets.

However, we don't shoot our wad and binge on a show in one weekend. We kinda make our own TV schedule, of late ping-ponging between The Sweeney, Robin Hood, Dr Who, Torchwood and The Avengers. The anachronistic shows are not leaving us thinking "wish we were watching them back in the day", maybe coz they are pertinent to us.

Still, the serialization and eagerness to see the follow up is quite the same as with broadcast TV. We do sometimes see a show three nights in a row, but we like to mix it up.

I guess the only shows which benefit from being seen originally are shows like "Drop the Dead Donkey" which was up to the minute - the final 5 minutes being written on the day of broadcast.

As for Jeopardy, the only games shows with their salt are "The Great Egg Race" and "And Now Get Out of That". I don't even rate "University Challenge" or "Mastermind" anymore.