Jeopardy! fans have been known to take the quiz show pretty seriously. It’s a good thing, too, because there’s no way the nearly 60-year-old game would still be as respected as it is today without meeting a certain high standard. Its viewers are more than happy to hold the powers that be accountable, as they’ve called out the show in the past for using outdated language and even had host Ken Jennings playing defense over a couple of possible gaffes. The latest issue irking the collective Jeopardy! fandom concerns the wording of a recent Final Jeopardy! clue, and I’ve got to admit, they’ve got a point.
On the February 14 episode of Jeopardy!, the final category was Arts & Science, and Ken Jennings read the following clue to the three contestants:
I’m sorry, what? The correct response was “Halley’s Comet,” which only one of the three players was able to come up with. Judging from the comments on Jeopardy!’s tweet about it, it looks like I wasn’t the only one who had to re-read the clue a few times. One commenter tweeted:
I’m not sure more words in the clue would have helped. Others in the comments called it a “word salad” and said the clue was misleading, as there was never intention to land on Halley’s Comet. Another called it a “nightmare of confusion.” Plenty of Jeopardy! fans got snarky, and YOU KNOW they remembered to respond in the form of a question:
- What is a horribly worded clue? – @JackieFox1976
- What is “the steady decline of Jeopardy as an intellectual and dignified game?” – @YMidtownL
- “What is a clause?” Jeopardy staff writers – @hdhdnxh627w7w
- What is proofreading? – @linguistatIarge
- What is I’ve read this clue four times and still have no idea how to answer? – @DaphneHarridge
One Twitter user certainly helped to relieve my headache by providing an alternate wording of the clue, in a way that — if this was the intent of the writers — definitely would have been more understandable. The fan wrote:
Jeopardy! presumably isn’t wrong very often, but the game show has come into question a few times recently. Senior researcher Michael Harris was forced to explain the show’s reasoning behind one Final Jeopardy! clue in the most recent Tournament of Champions, after theologians said they got it wrong. The family of Brian Laundrie also spoke out after a “distasteful” clue referenced the man who reportedly died by suicide after apparently killing his fiancée Gabby Petito.
Jeopardy!’s relevance has been called into question recently as well, from one of its repeat champions, and it seems like one way to ensure it maintains the respect the fans demand is to avoid grammatical anomalies like that Arts & Science clue! Check your local listings to see when Jeopardy! plays in your area, and also take a look at our 2023 TV schedule to stay updated on all the upcoming premieres.