Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Episode 422

Last night, the final Jeopardy question, under the category, "New Sports," was as follows:

"In 2008, Middlebury College in Vermont won its 2nd straight championship in this sport introduced in a 1997 novel."

Perhaps not as exciting as the Middlebury shout-outs on 30 Rock, but we'll take it. However, I do want to lodge one complaint: Middlebury has so much more going for it than its damn Quidditch team. If I remember correctly, though I'm not sure I want to, one of our own actually won the College Tournament of Champions on Jeopardy not so long ago.

In any case, two people got the answer right, and one person missed it. But I would like to argue here that the person who missed it, choosing "snowboarding" as her answer, is perhaps the smarter Jeopardy player. Here's why: The only way you would know that Quidditch was the answer is if 1) You followed New England liberal arts schools' club sports or 2) You had read Harry Potter (which the Jeopardy demographic is not guaranteed to have done, unfortunately).

At first, I scoffed at "snowboarding" as an answer, but then I realized it was pretty intuitive. This woman thought, okay, what sports are played in Vermont? Something with snow. Well it's not skiing, obviously, so what could be new enough that it was created in 1997? Snowboarding! Although 1997 seems too recent to have been the birth date of this now Olympic level sport, that was, remember, thirteen years ago (scary). For all I know, snowboarding didn't exist when I was 12 years old. And for all someone this Jeopardy woman's age knows, it didn't exist until last year.

So in the end, it turns out that the people who knew the answer just had some dumb luck, while snowboarding woman was using her smarts. (And she actually wasn't that far off.)

The point of this story is for me to reiterate how obnoxious Jeopardy can be. It's like Trivial Pursuit -- half of the questions have the answer right there in them, and it has nothing to do with actual knowledge. I without fail guess more answers correctly on that show than I actually know. Last night's stupid-question winner? The category was "Bad break-up lines" and the question: (this is from memory -- I didn't take the time to pause the DVR on this one because of how livid I was) "It's not me...it's this homophone for a female sheep."

You know what, Alex? It's not me. It's YOU.