The Hardest Part Of Jeopardy Is Something We'd Never Consider Sitting At Home


The Hardest Part Of Jeopardy Is Something We'd Never Consider Sitting At Home

"I'll take "stressful game show appliances" for $600, Alex!"

Jeopardy has been a long-standing staple on weeknight television, with everyone always playing along to see how well they could do. Of course, if you get a question wrong you're always worried Alex Trebek will somehow personally scold YOU.

Most people assume that the most stressful part of Jeopardy would be answering the questions, but it sounds like even just ringing with your buzzer could cause anxiety.

The Jeopardy website wrote a blog post, explaining how the buzzers work, and the formula behind it that we don't see on TV.

Are you ready to learn more about the magic of the buzzers?

Before the buzzers can be buzzed, they need to be activated.

"The first thing to know is that Alex Trebek must finish reading the clue before the signaling devices are activated," the post writes. "In the early days of the show, contestants could ring in at any time and that led to a lot of quick guesses, negative scores and general confusion. Now, as soon as Alex has finished reading the last syllable in the last word, a staff member sitting offstage presses a button that serves two functions."

Small strips of lights turn on next to the categories, letting contestants know they can start ringing in now. For home viewers, the clue is still up on the screen so we don't see the lights flashing.

So why not just keep hitting your buzzer so you can be first in line?

"If a contestant attempts to ring in before the gameboard lights activate, the system locks out their signal for a quarter of a second," the post indicates. "This quarter-second lockout works like a "digital policeman" that keeps the game flowing."

If you ring in first, a small strip of lights shows up on your podium, and it counts down your time.

"If a contestant responds correctly, the stage tech resets the system for the next clue. If a response is ruled incorrect by Alex, then the system is re-armed," the post continues. "The other two contestants' signaling devices are then reset and the game-board lights up to let them know that they may now respond."

"With such critical timing and so much at stake, there's always a chance that all three contestants may attempt to ring in before the system is armed. That's why we instruct contestants to keep hitting the buzzer until they see the confirmation light on their podium or until Alex calls on one of them."

In any case, it sounds like buzzer politics are more stressful than actually answering the questions!

How do you think you would do on Jeopardy?

Meagan has an intense love for Netflix, napping, and carbs.