In case I've never mentioned it, my wife Christine is somewhat Catholic and I'm peripherally Jewish. This might be a cause for friction in some households, but not in ours. That's because my wife and I share the same faith. You see, we watch Jeopardy! Religiously. When we're home, we watch it over dinner. When we're out, we Tivo it and watch it when we get home. If we're out for some prolonged period of time, away at a convention, for example, we Tivo it, then prop our eyelids open with toothpicks when we get home, and watch an Alex Trebeck marathon.
We are so committed to the show that, a number of years ago, when I was stuck in an airport, waiting to board what becoming a long-delayed flight, and Christine was still living in Cleveland, attending law school, I called her at home when I knew the show was about to begin, and she relayed the entire episode to me, answers and all, over the phone. Hey, stop looking at me like that. I know what that sounds like. But it is, as I've said, our religion.
We each have our own strengths and weaknesses in the game, of course. I tend to excel in categories relating to the Arts and Media, anything involving TV, Film, Literature, Poetry, People and Places in the News, and any of the trick categories, things like Before & After, Rhyme Time, Stupid Answers and the like. My single worst category, bar none, is Colleges and Universities. For Christine, on the other hand, C&U is arguably her best category, and she's terrific at Geography, History, Math, and anything that requires an actual education.
For years, Chris has been pushing me to take the test and try out for the game. I decline vigorously, telling her that the night I actually got to be on the show, the categories would inevitably include things like Famous Left-handed Plumbers, The History of Lint, Nuns' Shoe Sizes, Native Cheeses of Saskatoon, Things Len Has Never Even Heard Of and, of course, Colleges and Universities. Never one to be put off by my cowardice, Chris tried out for the show and is now on a waiting list to actually appear on the air. And yet, she still keeps pushing me to try as well.
I thought the problem was solved for good and all last year when I was one of the recurring panelists on the Live On Stage revival of the classic TV game show What's My Line? I promise a discussion of that as a separate blog post real soon. Even on nights when I wasn't on the panel, I'd be in the audience of the show. On the evening in question, we had a quartet of contestants, three men and a woman, whose line turned out to be that they were the question writers for Jeopardy! After the show, our dear friend, the lovely and talented Lisa Jane Persky, of whom I've spoken here before, brought me over to meet one of the writers. The moment we were introduced, the guy freaked. He started shouting to his friends, "Quick. Come over here. You've got to meet this man. You'll never believe who he is." Turns out the three guys, at least, were all fans of mine. We shook hands, exchanged pleasantries, and I figured that was it. I was finally off the hook. There was no way they would ever let me be a contestant on the show if I personally knew the people who write the questions! I figured that was as involved as I would ever get with the show and I breathed a great sigh of relief.
Thus it is, with no small scintilla of pride but with an overwhelming amount of astonishment, that I'm here tonight to suggest you all Tivo, tape, or otherwise record this Wednesday's episode of Jeopardy! That's Wednesday, February 21st. Check your local listings for the correct time and channel. Why, you may ask? Lemme tell you.
According to a super-secret inside Hollywood source-type person, the names of all the categories for Double Jeopardy are the names of some of our favorite mutants. I know for certain that two of the categories are Wolverine and Storm. I can't wait to discover what the others are. "Night"Crawler, perhaps? At the end, after listing all the category but one, I expect Alex will say something along the lines of, "And what do all these categories have in common?" at which point, he'll reveal the final category: The X-Men.
Now keep in mind that none of the earlier categories will actually be about the X-Men. Storm, I expect, will be about hurricanes and typhoons and their ilk, Wolverine will probably be about the Mighigan sports team, and the same sort of thinking goes for the other categories. Only the X-Men category is likely to actually be about the X-Men. Still, I've somehow managed to avoid being a contestant on Jeopardy! and gone straight to being a topic. Frankly, I couldn't be more proud.
So tune in on Wednesday and let me know what you think of the show, okay? I promise to be sitting right there next to you in spirit.
And, hey, will you please stop hogging the remote?