We'll take snarkiness for $1,000, Alex. Ooh, it's a daily double.
Could Ken Jennings have possibly meant it when, on his Website blog, he criticized Jeopardy! last week for everything from the irrelevance of host Alex Trebek to the electric-blue color scheme to the exclamation point in the title?
According to KenJen, who won more than $2.5 million during an unprecedented 74-game winning streak in 2004, the answer is obviously no.
Responding to an article in the New York Post Tuesday that claimed that Jennings had emerged from the shadows to "bite the hand that fed him," the trivia wiz questioned whether the author of the Post piece knew "how asinine this non-story is."
"He knows there's no way I was genuinely calling for angry bees and ventriloquist's dummies to be added to the Jeopardy! format," Jennings wrote on his site. "It's a humor piece, and one which gets its laughs from the outrageous non sequiturs it proposes, not the ripeness of its target for criticism."
Among the highlights of Jennings' "suggestions" for what Jeopardy! could do to improve its hipness quotient:
Employ categories that "middle America actually cares about," such as PlayStation, Arby's 5-for-$5.95 Value Menu, Reality TV, Men's Magazines, Skanks from Reality TV Who Got Naked in Men's Magazines, and Potpourri. (Ha ha, Jeopardy! already uses that last one. Zing!) Throw in a few physical challenges (hence the mention of angry bees). Face facts that the exclamation point is too kitschy. "It just seems like you're trying too hard. Face it, it's a '60s relic. Sure, all my parents' favorite movies end with an exclamation point: Oliver! Hatari! Support Your Local Sheriff! But this is a subtler time. Do you really think that, today, Best Picture Oscars would have gone to Million Dollar Baby! and Crash!? Certainly not."
For some reason Jennings picked now to exercise his funny bone, maybe to prove he had one alongside his uncanny knowledge of random facts, and the rest of his letter boasts a similar tone--playfully random.
And if he was really going to slam Alex Trebek, Jennings probably could have done much better than saying that the real Jeopardy! host was killed in a truck crash a few years ago and what you see today is the "Trebektron 4000."
Besides, he signed off with this disclaimer:
"You and I have a lot of history, Jeopardy! You know I think the world of you?you're putting my kids through college, for crying out loud! So I think I can be open with you in a way that others just can't."
Just to be safe, so as not to offend Cingular, Allstate or any of the other advertisers who have benefited from his nerdy appeal, Jennings had this to offer today:
"For the record: I've loved Jeopardy! since I was a kid, as anyone who talks to me for about five minutes knows. Making goofy jokes about TV shows isn't 'bashing.' I believe it's the whole reason Al Gore invented the Internet."