The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items will vary, as will the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday and we are here to have some fun.
ITEM NUMBER ONE — Come on, Bran
Look at me, Bran. Look at me. Hey. Hey. No, don’t do that thing with your eyes, where they cloud over and your travel into the past or future or into the body of some animal. I need you to focus. I need you here with me. This is important.
You better not screw this up for me, buddy. Do you hear me? Do not screw this up. Do you realize how few characters there are in wheelchairs on television? And none of them are on a show as big as Game of Thrones. Even if we expand it to movies, it’s like, who, you and Charles Xavier in the last 20 years? And why do you both have brain powers? Why, it’s almost like Hollywood has a formula, like they say “Ahhh, but if we take away his physical abilities, we can balance it out with SUPER BRAINS!” Super brains and billionaires. Those are just about the only people in wheelchairs you see out there. What I wouldn’t give for just, like, two regular dudes in wheelchairs. Name one of them Randy. That’s a good normal name. This is another issue for another day, though. I just yelled at you to focus. I can’t be a hypocrite on this one.
God, I’m going to be so mad at you if you screw this up somehow. If you, like, turn out to be The Night King or just bungle an important prophecy. If something you do or do not do causes people to get all angry about this show. That’s the last thing I need, people on the street seeing me zoom by in my chair and spitting on me because you messed up Game of Thrones and ruined it for the rest of us. I don’t have brain powers, Bran! I can’t just warg away into a hawk and fly away or peck their eyes out. I can’t see into the future to avoid the situation in the first place. I’m just a regular, very handsome, charming man who uses a wheelchair.
Don’t you ruin this for me. Don’t you mess up Game of Thrones, Bran. Let someone else do that. Jon is dumb as hell. He’ll screw it up on his own if you give him enough time. Just chill out. And try to stop being so weird all the time. I get it. I do. You’ve had a weird life and you’re currently possessed by sorcery that altered your entire mind. That’s some tough sledding. Which you should know about because you were literally dragged around on a sled until someone got you that wheelchair. But, I mean, come on, man. Work with me here. At least try to be cool.
You’re representing all of us out here, buddy. No pressure.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — The Barry Bonds of Jeopardy
We should talk about the Jeopardy guy. Are you guys watching this? If not, you’re missing out on history happening in real time. James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler, is putting up numbers unlike anyone in the show’s run. Through his 11 victories so far, including the one from Thursday night, he’s earned $771,920 That works out to about $70,000 per episode. To put that in perspective, before his run started, the all-time single episode record was $77,000, set by Roger Craig. The important phrases in that sentence in “before his run started,” because James has already beaten that number four times. He holds the top four spots in the single-episode record book. He’s won over $100,000 twice. Twice! In two weeks!
And that’s not all. He’s already in second place in all-time career earnings, with his total putting him only behind Ken Jennings and his $2.5 million. At his current pace, James would catch him in about 25 more episodes. Ken Jennings won 74 times in a row over many months to reach that figure. James would do it in under 40 if he keeps it up. This isn’t so much an impressive performance as it as an evolutionary leap.
Yes, sure, he’s doing it in a way that irks some Jeopardy purists. He’s starting with the big money clues to build a war chest and he’s hunting for Daily Doubles and then he’s pushing all or most of his money in each time. There’s a little part of it that’s maybe too analytical and inevitable to be as fun as it should. And it’s not a strategy that can last forever. Someday he’s going to run into a buzzsaw of a Daily Double late in an episode and wipe himself out. He’s on a high wire here. But it is thrilling to watch. And as far as those complaints go, my theory on Jeopardy remains the same: If Trebek says it’s okay, it’s fine with me.
From an interview with Vulture:
My favorite thing that happened with Alex occurred during the post-game interview after my record-setting game. He pointed to the audience, where the next two contestants were sitting. We were going to tape the next show in about 15 minutes. And he just looks over at me and whispers, “Look at them, they’re thinking, Oh shit. We have to face James next.” [Laughs.] There was something about hearing your elderly uncle on television whip out this curse word that was very entertaining.
- Do not call Trebek elderly. He’s a virile as a Bengal tiger. Although now that I think about it, I don’t actually know if Bengal tigers are virile. It sounds goods, though. Let’s all agree to not Google it.
- I must have more stories about Alex Trebek cussing, at once.
Not joking about that second thing.