Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I know a little.

Ken Jenning's long run on Jeopardy is finally over. He lost on Final Jeopardy to Nancy Zerg. But boy what a run. 74 wins and 2.5 million in pre-tax earnings.

I know several people, myself included, who could crush him in a straight-up general trivia contest without a time element. But put him with a Jeopardy buzzer in his hand, and you're talking something else. Yes, he missed a lot of pretty easy Final Jeopardies, but that's the point. It seldom mattered as he usually had runaways of up to $30,000. No, he wasn't the smartest guy ever on Jeopardy; I vote Frank Spangenberg (the mustachioed NYC cop) but know some will pick others. What Jennings was was simply the greatest game show contestant of all time. He had three things going for him:

1) preternatural buzzer reaction speeds,
2) the ability to play the clock and grab answers late from his head, and
3) uncanny poaching ability on questions with several potential answers by letting others ring in first and eliminate options.

I'm not sorry to see him, his smirk, and his cutesy pie varying signatures go, but I do salute his majestic achievement.

Le Roi est mort. Vive La Reine!

1 comment:

G. E. Light said...

USA Today printed a box along with their Ken loses story showing his weakness at Final Jeopardy. He only got 68% of those questions right as compared to percentages into the 90s for Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy rounds.