BRISTOL -- Whatâ€™s it like to appear on â€śJeopardy!â€ť?
I always used to wonder that myself, but now that I got to be on the show people ask me that. The answer is: Nerve wracking. Everything moves pretty fast when youâ€™re on stage behind the podium. I used to watch the show and think â€śWhy did that person ring in when they obviously didnâ€™t know the answer?â€ť â€śWhy did they bet so much (or so little)?â€ť â€śWhy did they forget to phrase their response in the form of a question?â€ť
The answer to all of these questions basically comes down to this: youâ€™re up there in front of the hot lights, the cameras, and the studio audience, and things donâ€™t always go the way you imagined they would when youâ€™re sitting comfortably at home watching it on TV.
So here are the answers to some more of the questions I get asked now:
How do you prepare for the show? Do they tell you what to study?
The showâ€™s producers tell you where you can stay in the LA area, to bring a few changes of clothes in case you appear on multiple shows, what not to wear (white, busy patterns, jeans, sneakers), practical stuff like that.
They most definitely do not tell you what to study. Youâ€™re completely on your own with that. Geography is always a good topic. Alex Trebek says itâ€™s his favorite subject. And it came in handy for me with Final Jeopardy on my first show when I was able to come up with â€śLaplandersâ€ť as the nomadic people who follow reindeer but donâ€™t have their own country.
Competing on â€śJeopardy!â€ť is more than just knowing a lot of trivia. Everyone who makes it onto the show is good at that. Itâ€™s also a combination of luck (getting categories and questions you know and getting the Daily Doubles), timing (being able to buzz in before your opponents), and strategy (knowing how much to bet).
Whatâ€™s Alex Trebek like?
Friendly but formal. He spends more time talking with the audience, answering their questions, than he does with the contestants. Yes, he enjoyed Will Ferrellâ€™s impression of him on â€śSaturday Night Live,â€ť and, no, he doesnâ€™t give autographs.
The contestants really donâ€™t see him except when the game is actually going. I think he has to avoid the appearance of being too friendly or favoring a particular person.
What does it feel like to win?
Fantastic. Especially since I was trailing the returning champion all through the game. When we got to the end of â€śDouble Jeopardyâ€ť and Trebek said â€śitâ€™s not a runaway,â€ť I suddenly realized I had a chance to win. The contestants donâ€™t see their dollar amounts unless they look off to a display on the side of the stage, so you keep concentrating on the questions and try not to think about that.
When I realized I could win I bet almost everything I had. And it paid off.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.