My family hates watching Jeopardy! with me because of my tendency to blurt out the answers before Alex Trebek finished reading what was on the board. My mother would remind me that Alex would chastise me for this; but I was in the comfort of home and not in the Jeopardy! studio, so I could do what I wanted. Still, I always felt like I was somehow disappointing Alex when I’d prematurely yell out things like “What is South Pacific?” or if I flubbed a pronunciation or, god forbid, got a daily double wrong. The goal was always to please Alex, even if he was 3,000 miles away in a studio with three people a lot smarter than me.
7pm weeknights were always earmarked for Jeopardy! Even on nights when there was a Yankees or Islanders game scheduled for the same time, we’d miss the first half hour so we could watch our favorite game show, with our all time favorite host.
Life is full of inconsistencies. Things go off the rails. Plans get scuttled or go awry. Shit happens at work, you and your partner aren’t speaking, dinner is burned. You just never know what’s going to happen, what disappointments and surprises will throw you off track. But you always knew that at the same time, same channel, every weeknight, Alex Trebek would be there for you. Jeopardy! is a comfort, a joy, a warm blanket on a cold night. Listening to Alex’s assured cadence, his sometimes smarmy remarks (see clip below), his brilliant accent, it all felt like home. For a half hour every evening I knew where my place was, and that place was with Alex Trebek.
From the early days of his Jeopardy! career when I would watch with my parents, to the later years, when I would watch with my husband, Jeopardy! never failed to make me feel stupid as hell, and I love that about it. I loved learning little factoids from the show, I loved learning how to pronounce things from Alex, and I loved when I guessed the same wrong answer as a contestant. I enjoyed Alex’s banter with those constenstants, even if — or especially — sometimes he was slightly sarcastic with them.
The past eight months have been hard and trying, and having Jeopardy! there every night sometimes felt like the only normal thing in life. Alex’s presence was a balm, it soothed my soul when I needed it most. Just his voice, the assured way he read the board, the slight disappointment in his voice when no one got the question right, it was all so familiar, so…