Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings are holding down the fort on Jeopardy!. While both hosts have their fans, Bialik has come under fire for a very small change she’s seemingly made to the fabric of the show. Fans are not happy.
From Nothing To Single
There are three rounds to Jeopardy!. Everyone agrees round two is called “Double Jeopardy,” and the ending is “Final Jeopardy.” The first round, where dollar values range from $200 to $1000, has typically been called the “Jeopardy Round.” At least that’s what Alex Trebek used to call it.
Enter Bialik. During her most recent taping, she opened the show with “Single Jeopardy.” It wasn’t a one-off fluke either; she used the term throughout the National College Championship as well. Fans of Jeopardy! are pretty hardcore, so the change did not go unnoticed. Bitter tweets poured in criticizing her for the use of the term.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Bialik behind the lectern. She’s faced criticism over supposed rotten behavior offset, although those stories lacked any real evidence. Any change to Jeopardy!, even one as innocuous as calling it “Single Jeopardy,” was going to ruffle feathers.
She’s Defending Herself
In an interview with Yahoo!, Bialik explains herself and frankly made an excellent point. There are more than four people on the set of Jeopardy!. She’s always got someone in her ear feeding her information and telling her when a second take is necessary. “People care a lot. I get it,” Bialik says, “and I’m sorry; I’m doing my best!”
She clarified that these were not gaffes or a case of her going off-script. “So it’s not like Mayim’s going rogue! Everything is very carefully monitored. There’s a thing in my ear, I promise.” This means calling it “Single Jeopardy” was not a gaffe, but words that came with at least a tacit endorsement from the powers that be.
Precedent and Penance
In her defense, Bialik cited Trebek himself. She says he was known to call it “Single Jeopardy” on occasion. “I know it may not be the norm, but … it was not out of the norm.” She makes a deliberate promise to Jeopardy! faithful: “I will never do it again! Even if it’s in this script, I will not say it.”
This whole brouhaha demonstrates that Bialik is learning on the job and isn’t afraid to admit a mistake. The mouthfeel of “Single Jeopardy” certainly feels a little strange, but it probably didn’t warrant the hatred online. Such is the internet.