Mayim Bialik has impossibly large shoes to fill. She and Ken Jennings are doing an admirable job filling in for Alex Trebek, but ferocious Jeopardy! fans are hard to please. Bialik is facing criticism for something Trebek never got called out on.
Life Will Change
In an interview with ET, Bialik opens up about what her life is like now that she’s world-famous. While her years on The Big Bang Theory brought her into millions of homes every week, the level of fame that comes with Jeopardy! is an entirely different animal.
“It’s changed my life in enormous ways,” Bialik says. “my recognizability and kind of familiarity that people feel with me is a lot more.” She recognizes just how invested fans of the trivia show are, and the pressure that comes with it. “Every detail, they’re very invested,” she adds.
Pressure As A Woman
Most of the iconic game shows in American history were (and still are) hosted by men. Meredith Viera is an exception after taking over Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but this just proves how uncommon it is to see a woman behind the lectern. Bialik is very aware of this: “I think it’s OK to say there aren’t a lot of females in this kind of position and so I think we’re all learning, you know, the different ways we look at women.”
Specifically, Bialik has to face a specific pressure that Trebek did not: what to wear. “It’s very interesting to me, you know, to say, ‘Well, gosh, what should I wear?’ Alex wore a different suit every single show but people didn’t think about it that much because it was navy, or it was gray,” she says.
Bialik gets to wear colors and switch them up. The show’s even allocating a budget for it. She now has to balance drawing attention with an outfit while keeping the focus on contestants. This brings to mind an aphorism: Ginger Rogers did everything that her partner Fred Astaire did, but backward and in high heels.”
Not The First Double Standard
Not only does Bialik have to worry about outfits, but she also catches flack for doing things Trebek did without consequence. A few months ago, she got raked over the coals for calling the opening round “single Jeopardy.” Trebek did the exact same thing on occasion, but it wasn’t a problem until Bialik said it. She and Jennings have a tough job, but they’re both doing well under the pressure.