So because I’m chronically behind when it comes to watching TV, I just finished watching the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time special tonight. If you haven’t seen it yet (even though it aired in January), I won’t spoil it for you, except to say that I was pleased with who won.
But watching this particular special just days after hearing of Alex Trebek’s passing was particularly bittersweet for me. I grew up watching Jeopardy!, and Alex Trebek is synonymous with it for me (and millions of others, I’m sure). While I’m sure his replacement, whoever that may be, will do a fine job, it just won’t be the same.
Of the three participants in the Greatest of All Time challenge, Brad Rutter’s Final Jeopardy answers got me the most. So often, they were about Alex Trebek, and how he was awesome, and watching that this week made me tear up a little. During my tumultuous teens, his was a calming voice, a comforting voice, and if DVRs had been a thing back then, mine would probably have been filled up with Star Trek and Jeopardy!.
Let’s be real here – I had a VCR, which I could have set to record both of those things (and I did record a lot of Star Trek), but blank videotapes and the money to buy them were precious commodities in short supply.
One of my friends posted that in response to the news that he’d passed away. It made me smile, even as it made me sniffle. And then on the final episode, one of the Double Jeopardy categories was “Surprise me, Trebek!” When Brad Rutter asked for that category in his best Sean Connery voice, I couldn’t help chuckling, even as I sniffled. And when Ken Jennings kept talking about the reassurance he often found in his voice, I couldn’t help nodding in agreement.
I know that the sense of loss I’m feeling doesn’t compare to what his family is going through, but we’ve all lost so much this year that even the statistically insignificant losses feel monumental. And while it’s tempting to look up old SNL “Celebrity Jeopardy!” skits on YouTube, it would probably only make me feel worse.
Oh, who am I kidding? I’m totally going to go look them up.
And I’m going to miss his presence on Jeopardy!.
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