Observe: Jeopardy – Pre-NDA

Welp it’s the night before I film for Jeopardy, so I just want to write up my thoughts before I get bound up with a NDA. I’ll be publishing an Observe post after my episodes air, but if you can’t wait, it’ll probably be similar to this MIT Admissions blog report.

Please don’t tempt me with messages asking me what happened – if you know me, I’ll already be really OMG HYPE HYPE if anything happens or OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I MISSED X if anything doesn’t happen, so it’s already going to be very hard for me to not freak out to anyone and I’d like to keep the money that I earn ^_^””

First off, the logistics. I’ll be filming on Jan 10th and 11th. The episodes will play on Feb. 13th – 24th. I’ll definitely be on one episode the first week (don’t know when) and maybe on some more episodes the second week (can’t tell you if I make it).

The format goes like this:

  • Quarter-finals. 15 people gets turned to 5 winners. They also pick the highest 4 scores of the non-winners as “wild cards”.  Everyone gets at least $5k. This is all done in the first day of shooting.
  • Semi-finals. 9 people get turned to 3 winners. Everyone gets at least $10k. This is done on the second day of shooting.
  • Two-day finals. 3 people play against each other for “2 days”. Summing up the points total, the third place person gets $25k, the second place person gets $50k, and the first place person gets $100k and an invitation to the Tournament of Champions. This is also all done on the second day of shooting.

My goal is to get to the semifinals and I’m not going to think about anything beyond that. If I don’t make it, I’m going to Universal Studio for my extra day in LA and prepare for MYSTERY HUNT, so it’s all good, y’know.

Although I’ll be kind of disappointed if I don’t get past the first round because goddangit, I spent a lot of time on this and not on HKN, student government, family responsibilities, etc. which are pestering me right now. At least I understand the College Football Playoff system now, just in time for Clemson’s win over Alabama.

(do you hear me already justifying my loss to myself)
(holy crap, I’m so nervous)

Some Observes about the studying routine:

  • I’ve never studied for anything trivia related in the past. The biggest was probably playing FreeRice art edition, which is how I got most of my fine arts knowledge down. I asked jrowan about it and he thinks that reading and retention is actually a harder skill than we usually give it credit for and that might explain how some people get this “trivial knowledge” tucked away.
  • It was actually kind of nice to be studying about things because it kind of forced me to be curious and inquire about things I would normally have no interest in. Who are these celebrities singing on New Year’s Eve? What is a bowl game and how is it different from normal games? What kind of column is that?
  • There is a very interesting multimedia experience that you have to do when playing Jeopardy. When you get into the swing of things, you enter this weird “dual mind” setup where you’re reading fast, trying to pick out the key words from the clue while ignoring Alex yet tuning in him just at the right time to hit the buzzer. That’s a visual-audio-kinesthetic thing right there. Normal quizbowl just requires you to listen well – buzzer dynamics definitely are not in play.

Finally here’s a normal Observe.

  • DFW airport was weirdly empty coming in, but had an extremely long security line
  • I saw the USF basketball team in the airport! They were very tall and I felt very short. Their logo is really weird – I’m not sure why a Florida team chose bulls as their mascots. Also, I heard them talking with the stewardess, saying that they could probably switch with someone else on the plane itself for an aisle seat “after they saw that [he] would be too big to fit”
  • America Airlines has very good in flight entertainment. Full version of Plants vs. Zombies, and I had a very good time ranking up in Bookworm.
  • I saw Mulholland Drive on the way to the hotel!
  • I was not expecting Jeopardy to put us up in such a ritzy hotel. It’s literally the adjoining Hilton for Universal Studios. My aunts are crashing with me as a result because it doesn’t make sense for them to drive back and forth between the Sony Studios and the Hilton and their house. I keep flip-flopping between “darn I don’t get a room to myself” and “darn I was super out of it in China and also sharing a double to yourself is really lonely”
  • We went to CityWalk and I suddenly realized that maybe hanging out with the anarcho-punk MIT East Side made me really really not like excessive consumer culture. Given how much I didn’t like Las Vegas and how much I didn’t like the same in-your-face BUY BUY BUY of here, I think I need to adjust my priors on how left-leaning I am.  (That being said, I saw a bunch of signs for nightclubs and really wanted to go and dance so…. :V )At least we were severely off-season and it was not filled with people, although we walked past at least an acre of parking lots to get there.
  • There is a “What is Love” pop remix. It’s not very good. It reminds me of when I was an insufferable high schooler and corrected this girl in my grade by telling her that Rihanna / TI’s remix of Numa Numa was not legit.
  • The Bubba Gump restaurant out here was really overselling the Forrest Gump theme – a lot more than other franchises I’ve been to. In general, there are a lot of movie advertisements out here (because duh Hollywood), but it feels really weird for me to get swept up into this as well. Like, I guess just in general, the number of people who have been like “Oh, I watch Jeopardy every day!” and stuff is like “holy crap, I am really out of mainstream media consumption aren’t I”
  • There was a man with straps around his neck to hold a MacBook in front of him like a portable desk – very strange
  • There was a meeting going on at 11 AM when we went for lunch, was still going when we came back at 1 PM, was still going on when we left at 8 PM for a walk and was still going on when we came back at 10 PM :V

Infinite thanks to Pranjal for all of his advice and putting up with my dumb zephyring.

Stay quizzical, my friends!


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