Troublesome Final Jeopardy Round Highlights: The Show’s Most Necessary Change


There are many technicalities which can make it difficult to understand. Jeopardy! contestant’s correct answer, or even their big win. One of those was shown on a recent episode. It prompted discussion about the possibility of changing how contestants submit answers for Final Jeopardy. 

Contestant loses with final answer

Final Jeopardy allows contestants to write down their answers, rather than just buzzing in and uttering them out loud. Scott Gabrysiak, a contestant on a recent episode of Final Jeopardy, found this difficult when he was required to type in a complete sentence from Robert Frost. Ken Jennings, the host, read his incomplete answer and said, “He wrote down, ‘Good fences make good nei—’ and then it’s kind of a scribble after the ‘b,’ unfortunately.”

“We can’t give you credit for that,” Jennings explained. “You wagered $4,400. It’ll knock you down to zero.” Gabrysiak’s messy handwriting cost him a win, and some Jeopardy! Some observers believe it is time to switch to keyboards. 

‘Jeopardy!’Has provided keyboards before

It is not unusual to use a keyboard while playing the game. Eddie Timanus, Jeopardy!’s first blind contestant, appeared on the show in 1999. Timanus wrote his Final Jeopardy answers on a Braille keyboard. Other than that, Timanus’ time on the show was much like any other contestants. He refused any kind of assistance except for Braille Braille cards. 

Timanus was a great competitor and fans applauded him. Jeopardy! Thank you for making this game available to all participants. “This is a testament to how accessible this game is for blind/visually impaired contestants,” one fan commented on a video of Timanus’ time on the show. It’s an easy example of how little it takes to make things more accessible for more people, especially given that it’s been two decades since Timanus competed.

Scott Gabrysiak’s failure to write his answer neat is just the latest evidence that transition from written answers to typed answers would level the playing field for a number of potential competitors. There’s no word yet on whether the show is seriously considering the change, but any hopeful contestants with messy handwriting, hand tremors, or any other conditions that make writing with a stylus a challenge definitely have their fingers crossed! 

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