I have written about my love of Jeopardy! on more than a few occasions. In the world of television game shows, there are none smarter and more enjoyable to watch with a group (mostly because it is fun to shout out correct answers like an insufferable dork and make your friends feel stupid). But every year the show holds a Teen Tournament, and it is a God-awful, youth-pandering mess. Case in point: This screencap of the categories from last night’s opening round, which spelled out the chorus of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous summer single, “Call Me Maybe.” They use puns and wordplay on Jeopardy! proper sometimes, and I know they tape well in advance, but this was just painful, and it needs to stop.
To clarify: My issue is not with having teenagers on the show. Most of the kids are smart as hell, which, yeah, fine, can be a little infuriating when they know the answers to questions that I don’t, but that’s not so much a critique of the show as it is me being a very small, jealous person who resents the success of others. My issue is the way the show dumbs itself down and tries to be cutesy-wutesy with the contestants in a manner that is insulting to everyone involved. Do you remember how awkward it felt back when you were a teenager and your aunt had a little too much to drink at Thanksgiving and tried to talk to you about AOL or texting, or tried to do “The Macarena” on the coffee table? It’s like that, but now Alex Trebek is your aunt, and he is doing it to you on television.
Don’t believe me? Think I’m overreacting? Allow me to present Exhibit B. After a Final Jeopardy question that referenced Korean rapper Psy (which means they didn’t film it that far in advance, and makes the “Call Me Maybe” board even more pathetic), Alex Trebek — Alex. Trebek. — did the “Gangnam Style” horsey dance. Please see below.
I repeat: Death to the Teen Tournament.