The ways in which people make fun of contestants on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are very different. The twin behemoths of game-show syndication are very different in format, and the expectations for those appearing on their respective soundstages are unique.
Jeopardy! is a game of facts, recalling immense trivia knowledge a neuron away, a contestant pressing the buzzing device before they may even have the answer fully formed in their head. The opportunity to laugh comes when fairly commonplace knowledge — pop culture, music or sports — eludes the grasp of these titans of trivia. It usually involves extremely easy football questions.
Wheel of Fortune, meanwhile, is a game of puzzles, filling in the blanks as you go. The puzzle may be the same for a long time, but the data is always changing, and sometimes the information a contestant is given gets lost in the blinding lights and the pressure that comes with competing on television in front of a studio audience. When people panic, it gets embarrassingly ugly.
That was the case on Friday night’s episode, when poor Reggie, sandwiched between two contestants in front of the proverbial Wheel, made a catastrophic error of comprehension. The night’s final puzzle was upon them, meaning the contestants guessed a letter and then get an opportunity to solve it if the letter comes up.
Here’s what the contestants saw in Friday night’s final puzzle.
Maybe you don’t see it just yet. Maybe you do! But one key fact was given to the contestants as Reggie had $6,000 on the board. A previous contestant guessed “Treasure Ghost,” which is uniquely funny in and of itself. But Reggie had extra information at this point: The sound went off that signaled only vowels were left on the board. Pat reiterated that, which means poor Reggie had two reminder that the blanks could only be an E, I, O, U and (sometimes!) Y.
But Reggie, unfortunately, did not heed these warnings, and he paid the price.
That’s right: with only vowels left on the board, Reggie guessed a W. The studio audience seemed kind of stunned that Reggie borked it that badly, and Pat gave a pretty hilarious response to the guess. People at home kinda freaked out, too.
As noted by a few people on Twitter, a contestant immediately guessed “TREASURE CHEST” correctly and gained a cool $24,000 for her very brief effort. And Reggie joins the large group of contestants who will live on in Wheel of Fortune internet infamy.