Cheech Marin was the winner of the first Celebrity Jeopardy tournament, Mr. Trebek reminded us (twice). So it was surprising to me that he struggled to keep up with Michael McKean and Jane Curtin from the word "Select." Going into Double Jeopardy on Day One, Michael had 8800, Cheech had 3200, and Jane had 3800. Jane answered the first two clues of Double Jeopardy correct, in Americans in Paris, then nailed the Daily Double in that category: "In March 1971, this rocker closed the door on his band and moved to Paris to focus on his poetry."* She added 3000 to her 5000. Incidentally, I love Jane's enthusiasm and look of delight when she gets a tough clue or a Daily Double right, and rightfully so! I love, too, how on Day Two she said she has loved every minute of her experience. You go, girl. Jane then found the other Daily Double in the round, in I Could Use Some Self-Help. She picked up another 3000 on this clue: "'The Art of Happiness' was written by this Asian man who was picked out for his present job at the age of 2."
Going into Final Jeopardy on Day One, Cheech trailed with 11600. Michael and Jane were neck-and-neck with 21600 and 19000, respectively. The Final Jeopardy category was American Literature. The clue: "A contemporary review of this 1851 novel said, 'Who would have looked for...poetry in blubber?'" Cheech seemed to misunderstand the clue, as he responded with the author of the correct novel. He lost 5000 of his already-third-place total. Michael and Jane both responded correctly, and both added 10000 to their totals. Remember, their totals from Days One and Two are added together to determine the winner of the tournament. How do you think you'd have wagered in a situation like this? I wonder about that when I'm watching a two-day final. Should contestants be conservative? Should they take a risk? I don't know what I would do, but I hope to find myself in such a position one day (and have figured it out by then, of course!)
On Day Two, I was pleased when Cheech found the Daily Double with about a minute left in the Jeopardy round. At that time, he was leading with 4600, while Michael had 1600 and Jane had 2200. Unfortunately, Cheech lost 2000 on it in Brands That Sound Like Verbs: "This 6-letter telecom company sounds fleet of foot."
Cheech lost his slim lead in the Double Jeopardy round. At Final Jeopardy on Day Two, Michael had 12100, Cheech had 6000, and Jane had 10000. Their totals from Day One were 31600 (Michael), 6600 (Cheech), and 29000 (Jane). If I were Michael, I'd have wagered 5301. That is the minimum he would need to beat Jane if she did all she could and doubled her score to 20000 on Day Two. She would have 49000 for the two days. If Michael wagered 5301 and answered correctly, he would have 17401. Add that to 31600, and he'd have 49001. (Make sense?)
As it were, Michael wagered (and lost) 8000 on this clue in Middle East Countries: "In 1949, this kingdom dropped the word 'trans' from the beginning of its name." Jane, too, missed this one, and lost 9999. Cheech had the pleasure of being the only one to answer this one correctly, and he doubled his score that day to 12000. (Did you guys know this one?) That makes the totals of the two days...Michael 35700, Cheech 18600, and Jane 29001. Michael wins! And as predicted, screams rang out from the audience. And most importantly, he won 1 million dollars for his charity, the International Myeloma Foundation.
Next up, the Tournament of Champions. It merits bold-print! Is anyone else excited?
*Jim Morrison, the Dalai Lama, Moby Dick, Sprint, Jordan
Recaps and commentary on Jeopardy! episodes, from two devoted fans. Jeanie was on Jeopardy! March 28, 2012!