Jeopardy! has been around since 1984, with 25 million regular viewers who try their best to shout out their own responses to the clues before the contestants. We marvel at Jeopardy! superstars like Ken Jennings, who held the champion spot for an incredible 74 games in a row.
Jeopardy! also hosts a variety of special tournaments, like the Teen and the Teacher's Tournaments. We can all applaud the eleven-year-old, during Kid's Week, who knows the capitol of some obscure Pacific island that most of us never new existed. And even though the game show has to simplify the clues for the contestants during Celebrity Week, viewers don't mind because the prize monies go to charity, right?
But the latest iteration of Jeopardy had some problems. The Political Tournament was to feature rising and prominent politicians in an altruistic effort by the producers to expand the political consciousness of their TV audience and, hopefully, to encourage more to the public to vote in national elections.
The first three contestants were presidential candidate and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The genial and always immaculately attired host, Alex Trebec, introduced the contestants and was clearly excited to begin this new segment.
Mr. Trebec never falters and is never at a loss for words, but when Dr. Carson responded to a clue by saying that "...people go into prison straight - and when they come out, they're gay", Mr. Trebec seemed to wilt. He gaped, open-mouthed, for ten seconds before regaining his inimitable sense of composure and introducing the next clue. Then, responding to the next clue concerning President Obama's life history, Governor Huckabee said that Obama grew up "in Kenya". Mr. Trebec blinked, ran his fingers through his hair (upsetting his perfect coif), and loosened the knot of his tie (which was matched perfectly with his shirt and jacket, as per usual).
The third clue to be offered up related to recent congressional history. Senator Cruz rang in first and informed us all that Obama and Harry Reid were responsible for the disastrous government shut-down in 2013. At this, Alex Trebec put his head down on the podium and wept.
Mr. Trebec was unable to continue the program and had to be led off the stage. The contestants attempted to continue the show by themselves, but persistent booing by the studio audience caused the producers to pull the plug.
The producers cancelled the special tournament without comment and announced that Jeopardy! would resume its usual schedule as soon as Mr. Trebec has recovered his equanimity, which is expected to take no longer than 6 or 7 weeks.