Living in Gwendom: Jeopardy! Etiquette

I grew up watching Jeopardy! as an aside, a sort of off-the-side-of-your-desk television show. We’d be finishing up the dishes or folding a load of laundry or doing all of the little things you did in our house before you could relax (altogether as a family, in the same room watching 30-60 minutes of appointment television; the Nielsens loved us, all of my friends rolled their eyes at us) when you’d hear, “And hereeeeeere’s your host” coming from both the television set and simultaneously booming across the house in my dad’s voice. He’d settle into the recliner-d’annee, cross his ankle atop his knee, and prepare to dominate the show.

He was great at Jeopardy! Like, the kind of great that makes you say, “You should audition,” and then a few years go by and you become a grownup and you realize, yeah, he really should audition. He reeled off answers like a Blackjack dealer at the $100 table at The Belllagio. He still does.

But know what he does when you get an answer right? He looks over and says, “Ve-ry good.” Or, “Nice one.” Or any of the literally millions of short phrases that make you feel good. It’s good Jeopardy! ettiquette. It’s good practice, probably, for life.

Jeopardy! is appointment television in Gwendom, also. Alas, the rules of engagement are very different here.

The rules are: Gwen watches, Gwen answers.

Today over Country Club Chili and baked potatoes, Gwen and I watched Jeopardy! I had a beer, she had water. I answered at least 21 questions correctly (why yes, I was keeping a rough accounting using my fingers beneath the table). By the 15th right answer, I pinched myself. Did I exist? Did I still have a voice? Was I making noise when I spoke? Because Gwen had not even once looked at me to stay anything congratulatory any of those 15 answers (most of which she had not gotten correct).

I knew I had a voice, because during commercials I asked questions and she answered them. But man.

Nearing 7:25, the true test: Final Jeopardy! Surely she’ll engage on this one.

No. I read the question aloud, because she’d been away from the table when Alex did. I thought it would be a nice entrée to discussing the question (because that’s what people do, during the doo doo doo doodoo doo doo doooooo, doo doo doo doo DOO doo….)

Silence.

The answer came and went. I was right. Gwen didn’t answer. I was invisible. No victory.

My next challenge: How many times can I congratulate Gwen before she reciprocates?

Stay tuned.

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Alicia Amling View All →

Recovering journalist who discovered a life outside of news leaves you time for things like getting angry, cooking and traveling. Plus, hopefully, writing. I’m a wife, dog mom and Washingtonian.

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