Has anyone been watching Jeopardy for the last three weeks? As I am writing this, a contestant named James Holzhauer just finished his 22nd straight victory, with an accumulated winning of $1,691,008. In addition to the long run on the show, he’s broken several records previously held by other “Jeopardy!” champions. His total winnings make him the third-highest earner in the history of the game, after Brad Rutter’s $4.6 million and Ken Jennings’ $3.2 million. Rutter and Jennings, though, both played in tournaments and special matches outside of regular season play.
As great as this winning streak is for TV ratings, I have to admit that I’ve had enough of James. For the past week I have been actively rooting against him. Earlier this week I thought he had met his match, but he managed to pull out victory by $18.00. Every other night his conquests have been runaways. Nobody should be that smart. The guy knows everything about everything and rarely misses an answer. And he’s become annoyingly cocky. (Of course I suppose I might be somewhat cocky, too, if I had accomplished what he has). Nevertheless, I’m ready for him to lose. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so. According to the internet, despite seeing historic, record-breaking scores, Jeopardy fans are getting bored with its newest star. Here are some of their comments:
“I’m starting to think #Jeopardy is rigged. Day 15 of the James Show. 😐 #boring.”
“I refuse to watch #jeopardy. There’s no competition.”
“Jeopardy needs to bring back the 5 game limit for champions! This is boring.”
“This is boring #Jeopardy #jeopardyjames.”
“This guy on #Jeopardy makes the show boring to watch. No personality whatsoever.”
On CNN, former Jeopardy champion Tom Nichols says James Holzhauer’s mastery of controlling the buzzer is making the game unfair for his competitors and unenjoyable to watch for viewers.
Opinion writer for The Washington Post, Charles Lane, says “James Holzhauer is a menace to Jeopardy. Holzhauer’s streak reflects the same grim, data-driven approach to competition that has spoiled (among other sports) baseball. He does not so much play the game as beat the system. What’s entertaining about that? And beyond a certain point, what’s admirable?”
(Wow, although I think he’s cocky, I’d not call him a menace).
Stephanie Stein, who competed against Holzhauer says, “ Most of James’s strategies aren’t new to the show — starting from the high-value clues at the bottom of the board, jumping from category to category, hunting for Daily Doubles. What makes him a “Jeopardy!” machine is all of that and his impeccable timing on the buzzer. It’s unreal.”
I don’t know why, but it seems like the contestants whom I dislike always do the best. But at least on Wheel of Fortune, I only have to endure an obnoxious contestant for one show. Who knows how long we’ll have to put up with James? But I can’t not watch Jeopardy on the chance that he’ll finally be defeated. This stress may just push me over the edge to the point of binge watching The Gong Show.