Last night was the fourth installment of the first round of this year's Jeopardy! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational. Let me tell you folks, they're going all out. Here's who's been on it so far (and the hilarious charity he or she played for):
Wolf Blitzer (American Cancer Society)
Dana Delany (Scleroderma Research Foundation)
Andy Richter (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
KAREEM ABDUL-JABAR (The Skyhook Foundation) - missed a clue whose response was "Kareem Abdul-Jabar."
Soledad O'Brien (Her own charitable fund)
Michael McKean (Intl Myeloma Foundation)
Julie Bowen (The Michael J. Fox Foundation(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!))
Jane Kaczmarek (Clothes Off Our Back)
Robin Quivers (complete loser)
Chris Meloni (Smile Train)
Harry Shearer (Common Ground Relief)
Joshua Malina (Archer School for Girls?)
So last night I got to watch Det. Stabler and Handsome Dan battle it out as Joshua Malina from who-knows-what just sat on the wall and did nothing. It was great! Obviously, Shearer pulled it out at the very end. That could be taken in two ways that are both apropos, but what I mean to say is that, despite Meloni's excellent game, Shearer will always win these games of wit. And by the way, with Shearer and McKean as winners, WE'RE HEADED STRAIGHT FOR A SPINAL TAP EPISODE. THIS IS NUTS!
Here's a reason to watch Jeopardy! these days: Alex Trebek is such a jerk. He overarticulates everything (as some Canadians are wont to do, I guess), then uses a mixture of condescendingly complete sentences and one-word variations on "no" to make contestants feel ashamed of getting a question wrong, or worse, not getting the question at all. I'll make a note to transcribe some of the things he says, but for now, I'll leave you with this close approximation:
Alex: This six-letter word for a literary pooch rhymes with a bird who ought to join Hair Club for Birds.
Contestant 1: (buzzes in) What is buzzar-
Alex: THAT is ab...solutely, pos...itively in...correct. Jason? Linda?
Contestant 2 (Jason): (buzzes in) Lark? What is lark?
Alex: Nuh-uh. No. Nada.
Contestant 3 does not buzz in.
Alex: Linda? Linda? Going to buzz in? Looks like a ...no... from Linda. The response, of course, was...beagle. Beagle was the correct question for this clue.
All 3 Contestants fall over their podia. In full-body war paint, Harry Shearer dances around the studio, doing somersaults. Trebek stands in the background, arms akimbo.