Jane on Jeopardy


This article popped up in our Google Alerts and made us quite cross, for several reasons.

Jerry Slowik came in third place Thursday on “Jeopardy!”, but the 28-year-old from Arlington Heights still took home more than $122,000 from his five wins on the television game show.

Thursday’s show was rough for a number of reasons, Slowik said after the episode aired. He said a heavy lunch and difficult categories including “Jane Austen” and “Tunnels” were enough to put him off his game, leading to a finish in last place.

Sadly, that was the first episode of Jeopardy we had missed in a several days, so we had already seen several of Mr. Slowik’s wins. While he was knowledgeable, he was up against other knowledgeable people and won partly because of strategic betting (always important on Jeopardy) and also, seemingly, because he was one of those who was quick to hit the button and ring in first to answer. This is not to discount his wins at all–he did very well, obviously, taking home six figures. So needless to say, we were astonished to read a claim that he found Jane Austen soooo harrrrrrd. (Here are the questions from the game, courtesy of the fabulous J! Archive. At the time of the writing of this post, the Double Jeopardy questions, which apparently include the Jane Austen questions, were not yet posted.)

We were also bummed that we missed it because it is the only time within our memory that Jane Austen has had an entire category to herself on Jeopardy–we’ve seen individual questions before, even Final Jeopardy, but never a whole category, and we were all curiosity about the actual puzzles.

Then Alert Janeite Lisa sent us video of the clearly fabulous, one-of-us Sarah Olson running the category!

And then Alex Trebek had to go and ruin it with his crack about “aren’t you glad you read ALL THOSE JANE AUSTEN BOOKS when YOU WERE YOUNG*?” Wait a minute… she’s still young! So you mean when she was a schoolgirl, because who but a schoolgirl who was forced to by an evil English teacher would read Jane Austen? Do we have to pull out the SNL skit? (language and rudeness warning)

Don’t mess with the Janeites, Alex. Just don’t.

*or did he say “when you were a tot?” Which is worse. Geez, Alex.