A recent final Jeopardy question asked contestants a question in the category of famous names, and the answer, Walt Disney, was dubbed by many as too easy.
“I’ll take questions that are too easy for $200, Alex.” “What is the Final Jeopardy! clue from the April 10 episode of Jeopardy!?” That’s a potential scenario after the famous game show just angered fans with a ridiculously easy Final Jeopardy! clue. As Parade reports, viewers of a recent episode of Jeopardy! were not happy with the lack of difficulty regarding the final question of the evening.
“In 1966, the year of his death, he shared plans for an experimental prototype community in Florida,” read the Final Jeopardy! clue. The category was famous names. Even host Ken Jennings seemed to be taken aback by the clue, remarking that the famous Disney acronym EPCOT stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. All the contestants guessed correctly that the answer was Walt Disney, including all the armchair contestants playing from home.
As expected, several irate fans of Jeopardy! took to social media to complain about the final question being too easy.
This wasn’t the first time Jeopardy! has chosen a less-than-challenging clue for Final Jeopardy!. In 2015 the game show used the question “As she arrived at the house of her new employer, “the wind seemed to catch her up into the air and fling her” at the door.” from the category Children’s Lit as Final Jeopardy!, an obvious reference to the famously gravity-defying Mary Poppins.
Other no-brainers have been “This character who has been on the air for more than 50 years is only 6½ years old.” (who is Big Bird) and “The only solo artist to have five Billboard No. 1 albums before the age of 19.” (who is Justin Bieber) just to name a few. The truth is, no matter how much people revere Jeopardy! as a “smart” show, it still has to be watchable by the average viewer.
It would be very easy for Jeopardy! to become very dry and academic–no pop culture questions and no celebrity guests–but then who would watch it? Believe it or not, Jeopardy!‘s target audience isn’t Mensa applicants. It’s middle America.
Jeopardy! simply wouldn’t continue to be one of the most popular game shows on television if it only catered to the top 1 percent of intellects. Rather, what the show does brilliantly is allow average people to feel smart by including easier questions phrased in a smart way. That’s not to say that every question on Jeopardy! is for babies, but if you take a handful of random clues and rearrange them so that the answer doesn’t take the form of a question, you’re likely to see that some of the questions aren’t as difficult as you initially thought.
Of course, that doesn’t keep fans from going online to express their disgust when a question is one they personally deem “too easy.” While the Walt Disney question wasn’t a NASA-grade stumper involving quantum mechanics, it wasn’t the easiest question in the world either. Jeopardy! always has and always will have a mixture of more difficult clues and fairly easy ones so that everyone can play along.
As one fan put it perfectly on Twitter, “All jeopardy questions are easy if you know the answer.”