I’ve always wanted to compete on a game show for cash and fabulous prizes; in the end, the top two options have always been Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. And while I consider Wheel of Fortune to be the one I could get the most money and prizes from since you get to keep everything you win, Jeopardy would be the one to allow me to showcase my typically useless knowledge of random trivia facts.
Of course, one of the most important aspects of any good game show is the host and for me, Alex Trebek was always number one. The man with all the answers and some witty retorts. You knew the Canadian was a part of the cultural iconography when he was spoofed on Saturday Night Live.
The announcement of Trebek’s death on Sunday was unexpected in a way, though we all knew the day would come, especially after his March 2019 announcement of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Unlike any other TV personality, Trebek had been a staple for many of us, a presence on weeknights for 37 years.
While I know Trebek didn’t write the questions or create the categories, he was the face of Jeopardy. When you received a correct answer, it was if Trebek was personally acknowledging your ability to recall random facts that resided in your brain.
Jeopardy is the type of game show where everyone can find categories they excel in, when your knowledge of obscure subjects could pay out big bucks or bragging rights. It’s also a game show that makes you go, “Huh, I didn’t know that.” While I may have limited knowledge in European history or scientific discoveries, I’m pretty good in categories related to books, movies and music ranging from classical to modern. Then there are the categories such as words beginning and ending in vowels or some type of word play.
If you’re like me, you played some version of Jeopardy in elementary through high school when a teacher would let “players” select a category and point total to help the class review for an upcoming test.
Jeopardy has become more than a game show – you only need to Google some of the iconic moments when people talk about how their family members who immigrated to the United States learned to speak English from the show.
How can we forget one contestant’s response that might have been incorrect, but certainly wasn’t wrong when his answer for final jeopardy was “We love you, Alex.”
And the stories of how contestants grew up watching the TV trivia show with the hope of one day getting to stand at a podium and buzz in with the correct answer.
Would Jeopardy have been the same without the friendly Canadian? Could someone else have hosted the TV equivalent of Trivial Pursuit?
It appears we’ll have Trebek episodes through the end of the 2020 but in 2021, there will be someone else reading off the answers. No one knows who will replace the mainstay host, but honestly, Trebek cannot be replaced; they will merely be the new host of the show. Because just like the jingle played during final jeopardy, so too will Trebek always be associated with Jeopardy.