For some reason this game wasn't as fun for me to write about.
The paperwork they sent us said to bring two changes of clothes. Now, they tape five shows a day, so conceivably you might need 5, but by the fourth show the viewers at home will have forgotten what you wore on the first. I wasn't going to tempt fate by bringing more clothes than they asked and losing my first game, then having to haul my sad unworn clothes back through the airport.
But I didn't want to rewear any of my clothes, so Rose literally gave me the shirt of her back the night before so I would be prepared. I got more compliments on that shirt than anything else I wore. I should have just raided her closet when I got to L.A.
I was going against Eric, the opera-loving pig farmer, and Julie, a managing editor of BlogHer.
That morning when we were rehearsing I was sitting next to contestant coordinator Robert and Julie. Robert asked me about my time on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
. I was telling him that I liked the format of the clues on Jeopardy!
more than on WWTBAM. On Millionaire
, they might ask "The American Visionary Art Museum, which only shows untrained artists, is located in which city?" and give you four choices. If you didn't already know it was in Baltimore, there would be no way to figure it out. While on Jeopardy, they would say "The American Visionary Art Museum is located in this largest city in Maryland." Much easier to figure out.
"Blah blah blah largest city in Maryland," Julie said. The way she phrased it immediately reminded me of Prisoner of Trebekistan
, which is a fantastic book to prepare for being on the show. I highly recommend, nay DEMAND you read it if you ever want to be on Jeopardy!
"You've read Bob Harris's book, haven't you?" I said, and she said yes. We had a nice chat about it, but I was mentally making a note that she would be tough. As she proved to be.
Watching the game now, it wasn't as bad as I remembered it. I was actually very close to Julie through most of the game, until she went on a tear through INDONESIA. I am in awe of her Indonesian knowledge. Then I made a guess on the 2k clue which turned out to be wrong. The big difference in this game from my others were my number of negs. I rang in and guessed wrong four times this game, equal to my number wrong in my first three games total. Julie's skill had me running scared, and I was flailing around up there.
Including the last clue of the game, the Daily Double. I looked up at the scores and saw I was ahead of Eric but behind Julie by quite a lot. I was having trouble doing the math. so I just bet 6,000 because I knew that would put me in the lead. I was so overwhelmed by by huge wager in a science category that I had trouble focusing on what Sarah was saying in the video. "Bleep bloop bloop particles in the sky," and she put her thumb up.
All I could focus on was "particles", so I guessed "dust".
"Ooh, sorry," Alex said, and I dropped down to $2800.
When they brought out the scrap paper for figuring our wagers, I realized I was screwed. Julie only had to wager $1801 to cover Eric, and I knew from talking to her before that she wouldn't be so foolish to give me a chance to gain on her. The only way I could even advance to 2nd place was for Eric to get it wrong, and since if he bet to get higher than Julie's pre-FJ score he would drop below my $2800, my best move was to risk nothing. I spent a lot of time playing around with J! Archive's wagering calculator
before I went on the show, and I remembered its advice that "you'll have better chances of advancing to second place if you have a larger sum left over on a Triple Stumper". But betting zero is so boring. I figured out the results would be the same if I bet my favorite number 16, so that's what I did.
For a while I felt like I was tricking Eric out of $1,000 by what I did, but as nice as he was, when's the last time I gave a grand to someone I just met?
The category was PHILANTHROPY, and the clue was "The Pink Pony Fund, for breast cancer care & prevention, is a philanthropic initiative of this fashion company." So what's the fashion line with the horses on their shirts? Hm, I just saw a perfume ad with horses, Polo by Ralph Lauren! Julie got it right too, so I don't have to kick myself about my DD wager too much. She was a fantastic competitor, and she invented a delicious Jeopardy pie.
Then it was over. Alex Trebek consoled me that I had qualified for the Tournament of Champions, but I waved that away as unlikely. They only drop down to the three-time champions if there's not enough four and five-plus champions. "I'll just have to root against everyone on my TV set from winning a fourth game now," I said. Alex chuckled. I made Alex Trebek laugh!
You know, this could have just as easily have been my first and only game, and I would probably still be kicking myself over my mistakes. It just goes to show you how much luck is a factor in Jeopardy
I signed my last two pink slips for my money (it won't come until 120 days after my shows aired), and went back to the Green Room to get my stuff. I had lost on Jeopardy, but I wasn't sad. I was a three-time champion! There will still three more shows to tape that day, so I asked if I could stay and watch in the audience. Its my favorite show, after all, and when will I have the chance to see it live again? It was much more relaxing watching the games after I played than before.
All in all, it was the thrill of a lifetime playing on America's favorite quiz show.J! Archive transcript