Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Was on Jeopardy, Part III: The Road Trip and Inside the Green Room

R o a d T r i p !

My Jeopardy episode taped on a Tuesday so Mark and I drove down to L.A. late Monday morning and drove back as soon as taping finished on Tuesday. (It should be noted that Jeopardy does not pay for your transportation or accommodations unless you are the returning champion at week's end and have to return to L.A. for another taping.) It was both sad and liberating saying goodbye to the babies, since of course I hadn't spent a day without them since they were born. Our friends Lila and Brendan came with us, and it was our first road trip together since the 1998 Summer of Chev when we drove to Tahoe and ate at 10 Chevys in 4 days.

The 1998 Summer of Chev

The 2010 Jeopardy victory tour

A Jeopardy road trip was Lila's idea - she said they could quiz me during the drive. What actually ended up happening was I studied the trivia spreadsheets I had created with the idea that I'd give them to my friends to quiz me, but then I got really sleepy and tried to nap the last half of the trip. The highlight of the road trip was stopping at Casa de Fruita for the first time (there's a Casa de Choo Choo that goes through a Casa de Haunted Tunnel) and getting gas in Lost Hills. I'm pretty sure Lost Hills is the most isolated of the Interstate 5 towns, since when you leave it in either direction there are signs telling you how far away the nearest gas station is. Lost Hills is awesome because of the two big "travel centers," a.k.a. trucker stores, which feature both trucker showers and - wait for it - an ENTIRE AISLE OF BEEF JERKY.

Oh no. The Casa de Corrugated Iron Semi-Circle is Casa de Haunted.

I was most disturbed by the existence of jerky chew.

Sasquatch Jerky!

The spokesperson of the "travel centers" is John Ratzenberger which tells me that B.J. from B.J. and the Bear must have been busy. B.J. and the Bear combined two great trends of the late 70s: trucking and monkeys. Since the show aired in 1980 I'll just assume Bear was also unavailable due to having been stuffed. (Please tell me the hat is still on him.)

G r e e n R o o m !

I always imagined the night before I'd appear on Jeopardy I'd be a nervous wreck and get no sleep, but I was so sleepy I think I went to bed at 9 p.m. and slept like a baby. That was good since I had to be at the Sony studios at 8 a.m. The first episode began taping at 11:30.

The Jeopardy green room is a pretty basic little room, actually painted green, with pictures from Celebrity Jeopardy adorning the walls. I immediately realized that David Duchovny, Neil Patrick Harris, and Wolf Blitzer must have used the same two toilets I did! I will never wash this wiping hand again!

Wolf. Our butts have two degrees of separation. (One being a toilet.)

Inside the Jeopardy green room. (Not my group. This is College Jeopardy.) One of the bathrooms with an Ed Asner backside-touched toilet is behind that closed door.

Since I was still feeding my little ones breastmilk, I pumped in the green room (under the watchful, but not too watchful, eye of a wrangler) during the Tuesday game. It's too bad I missed it because that game turned out to be the funniest one of the week.

"McLovin" from the Tuesday episode was declared The Most Entertaining Jeopardy Contestant Ever (here's video proof) by

So what goes on during those three and a half hours?
1) Go to make-up (but you do your own hair)
2) Review your anecdotes with the Jeopardy wranglers
3) Go around the room and show the wranglers your excited face if you win (really)
4) Learn obscure Jeopardy rules (and some Celebrity Jeopardy anecdotes) from wrangler Maggie

Some interesting ones:

If you add an article to the title of something that doesn't have an article you normally won't be penalized. However, if you add an article to something like the movie Unforgiven, you would not be given credit since there is already a different movie called The Unforgiven.

If you get a question right and Alex asks someone else to choose a category, do not stop the game.

Regis Philbin does not wash his hands after pooping. (Okay, that one I made up.)

5) Creating and rehearsing a "Hometown Howdy"

A Hometown Howdy is a ten second shout-out that your local affiliate might air to encourage people to watch; you say your name, where you're from and to watch you on Jeopardy. And you have to have something else specific to your city in there, too. Did I mention they only told us we needed to come up with one that morning? I spent a couple hours not having a clue what I was going to do. But then I thought up one, possibly inspired by the move to our first house two days later:

Also, here:

In my second "Hometown Howdy," recorded just before the second game, I didn't have anything planned so I just told viewers to see if I "keep the streak alive." Yes, my streak of ONE. I never did see my Hometown Howdies air (thanks a lot, local affiliate!), but at least the first one was available on the Jeopardy website.

Ironically, in Ken Jennings' first Hometown Howdy he told his fellow Provo-dians to watch his 15 minutes of fame.

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