Growing up in my family whenever we all happened to be in the house when it came on we all liked to watch “Jeopardy” together. Actually, I should rephrase that. We all liked to compete against each other. When it came to us kids more than once fights broke out about who answered the clue first, who had answered the most clues correctly, and what penalty should be levied for blurting out wrong answers. We went as far as to participate in Final Jeopardy by writing our answers on computer paper and to reveal them as the actual contestants did. Shoot, our parents even bought us a Jeopardy computer game one Christmas. After a couple months it was pretty much useless because we had played it so much that we had all memorized every single answer in the game.
When I went home for Christmas this past December my brother, dad, and I got to reignite our game show rivalry by watching a couple episodes of Jeopardy. With my brother and I now more caught up to my dad’s knowledge it became a contest of out of the three of us who could read the clue at warp speed and spit out the answer before Alex Trebeck could even get out the first couple words. It got intense.
I bring all of this up to illustrate that I am a Jeopardy fan. I mean come on, if you take the time to read Ken Jenning’s book it pretty much goes without saying, right? Well anyway I want to use my Jeopardy loyalty status to serve as my right to weigh in on the newest Jeopardy champion. His name is Arthur Chu and to put it nicely, he is kind of a tool.
Chu is currently a four day champion with over $100k in winnings. After a special “Battle of the Decades” tournament that started this week he will return on February 24 in an attempt to win his fifth straight game and qualify for the champions tournament. As he has dominated the competition over the course of four nights he has gained haters mostly because of his unorthodox play and arrogance.
Chu’s strategy centers on him jumping all over the board selecting random categories and dollar amounts. This gives him a better chance to find the crucial daily doubles while also preventing his opponents from getting into any sort of a rhythm. Chu’s arrogance hinges on him showing apathy on the set and cockiness off it. In the interviews he has given over the past few days he seems about as likeable as Jim Harbaugh.
I don’t like the guy’s style of play for the exact same reason his opponents, Alex Trebek, the producers, and Jeopardy purists don’t like it: unpredictability. His opponents have no idea what clue is coming next, Alex has to search frantically for the note card he must pull, the producers know more editing will need to be done, and Jeopardy purists have a heart attack when the $200 clue in “American Potpourri” is not followed by the $400 clue in “American Potpourri”. Personally it messes with my Jeopardy Mojo when I am playing along as well. I feel smarter when I can answer three or four consecutive clues from a category that I know rather than get iced while Chu takes a tour around the board. I also just hate the sight of a Jeopardy board that has blank clues in the most random spots rather than orderly blanked out columns.
But make no mistake about It, the guy has a sound strategy and it has won him $102,000. I don’t blame him one bit for utilizing a smart and legitimate game plan to win a lot of money. Well done.
But what I can’t tolerate is the less than respectful way he conducts himself on stage. I don’t have as much of an issue with his comments he makes to the media outside of the studio as I do with what he does on set. You can win a lot of money and stand leaps and bounds above the competition while doing so with class. Ken Jennings did it for 74 nights. Arthur Chu couldn’t even do it through the first segment of the first show he appeared on. He acts disinterested and aloof. He has little concern for his opponents. But what I can’t stand the most is his disrespect for the God of game shows, Mr. Alex Trebek. While Chu calls Alex a “national treasure” you would never know it by watching him during the episodes. Besides speaking over Trebek when giving answers he also had a very bush league moment during a daily double clue that he didn’t know. When Trebek asked Chu how much he wanted to wager on a daily double based on a sports category the four time champ responded with $5. Jeopardy purist or not, that is a very disrespectful bet and should anger even the casual Jeopardy viewer. Then, to make matters worse, Chu responded “I don’t know” before Alex could even finish reading the clue. Pure classlessness.
While I don’t like Arthur Chu’s playing style I respect it. However, no one on this planet has the right to disrespect Alex Trebek. On February 24 I hope Chu loses. In fact I hope he suffers a humiliating defeat. For all I care he can end Double Jeopardy with an incorrect answer that will leave him with a negative amount thus disqualifying him from even participating in Final Jeopardy. No one crosses Trebek. Don’t Blink.