BOB’S BLOG Jeopardy, MFP and dreams of scandals past
A long-running scandal in Toronto municipal politics had my attention around 2002. A little while later, Ken Jennings was in the midst of his incredible 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy. Jennings returned to Jeopardy this year for the Battle of The Decades. He has won over $3-million on the popular game show.
Somehow the MFP Inquiry and Jeopardy merged in my mind and the result was this flight of the imagination.
Worried Sudbury native Alex Trebek presides over the long-running quiz show Jeopardy.
Contestant Ken Jennings, computer programmer, has 53 consecutive wins. Will he ever lose? The TV ratings are OK but Alex, once the star, now plays second banana to Ken. Something has to be done.
Monday’s show is unusual, to say the least.
First of all, Ken’s opponents look vaguely familiar. Like celebrities – minor ones, anyway. Tie is introduced as a right wing enforcer from Toronto, Canada. Next to Tie is Tom, hometown the Beach Ontario, once an alderman and a former budget chief. Tom possesses an IQ of 140 and an excellent memory.
The categories are odd, reflecting a certain geographic imbalance not often seem on American television.
Ken Jennings is winning, but he is struggling.
He correctly identifies the three Canadian Prime Ministers who served during an 18-month period in 1891-92 (MacDonald, Abbott and Thompson); knows Toronto was once called Hogtown; lacrosse is Canada’s national sport; and cashes a $2,640 daily double identifying Gideon Sundback of St. Catharines, Ont. as the man who patented the zipper.
This guy is amazing. But the questions are puzzling.
Advancing through Double Jeopardy, Ken stumbles when he names Princess Anne as the most popular Canadian royal. (The correct question: “Who is Adrienne Clarkson?”)
Ken: Great North American Events for $400, Alex.
Alex: New Orleans in February.
Ken: What is Mardi Gras?
Ken: Great North American Events for $800.
Alex: Millions turn out for these traditional events celebrating the end of Canadian winter. Tie?
Tie: What is a sugaring off party?”
Alex: That is correct. We would have also accepted Taffy Pull. Tie, select please.
Tie: The White Stuff for $1,200.
Alex: A whirling column of snow sucked up in the vortex by the wind. Tie?
Tie: What is a snow angel?
Alex. No, Tie. Tom?
Tom: What is a snow devil?
Alex: That’s right. Go ahead Tom.
Tom: I’ll stick with The White Stuff for $1,600, Alex.
Alex: A Chinook or warm wind that rapidly melts the snow. Tom?
Tom: That would be a snow eater …or what is a snow eater?
Ken looks bothered.
Alex: Select again, Tom.
Tom: Just to be sly Alex, I’ll change categories to Northern Inquiries for $2,000.
Alex: The MFP Inquiry hears that this former hairdresser gives his hockey-playing brother a birthday card full of thousand dollar bills – or maybe he didn’t.
Tom: I don’t know Dash Domi. Well I hardly know him.
Alex: Question please.
Tom: Who is that good-for-nothing salesman Dash Domi?
Tie: Hey watch it …
Alex: Gentlemen, please. Tom is in the lead. I think it is important for the audience to know that the reason Ken is looking so glum, so terribly glum, is that this is the first time in 42 matches that he has not been in the lead.”
Tom: Interesting Sports Terminology for $400.
Alex: A Rouge.
Tie: What is a single point in Canadian football?
Alex: Correct. Go ahead Tie.”
Tie: Interesting Sports Terms for $800.
Alex: Hurry Hard.
Tom: What is a strategy used in the sport of curling, urging them to sweep, communicated to one’s teammates (better known as a rink) while screaming at the top of one’s lungs as the rock approaches the house?
Alex: That’s correct Tom. Please remember, though, there are no extra dollars given for lengthy answers.
Tom: All right then Alex. I’ll take Things Politicians Say for $2,000.
Alex: Over the years politicians have used this line as a way to duck responsibility.
Tom: I’m sorry Alex that was over five years ago, I don’t recall.
Alex: In the form of a question, Tom.
Tom: What don’t you get about my answer Alex, I don’t recall?
Alex: That’s right Tom. That’s it.
We move to Final Jeopardy. Tom is in the lead, followed closely by Tie with Ken a rather poor third. The category for Final Jeopardy is the Gretzky Family.”
(Noise is heard backstage, some sort of scuffle, voices raised. The monitors flicker, stage lights go out. Minutes pass.)
The lights come back on. Now standing in Alex’s spot is a familiar face.
Jay: Hi. I’m Jay Leno. Alex is ill. I’ll be replacing him today and perhaps forever. Now to Final Jeopardy. The category is American Presidents…
Bob Wood is a housing and poverty advocate and former two-term Burlington City Councillor who has built a bed-and-breakfast with his wife on Lake Erie.