Published July 25, 2006
In a snarky "Dear Jeopardy!" letter posted on his Web site, ken-jennings.com, the winningest contestant ever needles the game show for being out of step and out of date.
He calls the show's categories "effete, left-coast c—- nobody's heard of" and even snipes at show host Alex Trebek.
"I know, I know, the old folks love him," Jennings writes about Trebek. "Nobody knows he died in that fiery truck crash a few years back and was immediately replaced with the Trebektron 4000.
"You know how Trebek likes to read foreign words in these thick, strained accents, thinking he's being muy autentico?
"He should continue to do this, but instead of delivering them himself, he needs to have a little ventriloquist's dummy with a sombrero to pipe in with those words."
Jennings spends most of his "letter" talking about the show's over-the-hill feel. He also proves that he can use the word "polyethylene" in a sentence — twice.
"You're like the Dorian Gray of syndication. You seem to think 'change' means replacing a blue polyethylene backdrop with a slightly different shade of blue polyethylene backdrop every presidential election or so."
Jennings, a software engineer from Salt Lake City, made headlines in 2004 when he reeled off 74 consecutive "Jeopardy!" victories while amassing $2.5 million — both show records.
That doesn't stop him, however, from bashing the show.
"I mean, wake me up when you come up with something that middle America actually cares about," he says of the show's question categories.
Jennings goes on to scold the show's décor — "damn electric blue everywhere ... Was that hip in 1984?" — and needles the show's viewers — "median age of 'Jeopardy's' viewership: 91."
He closes with a conciliatory signoff: "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!
"I hope you take this advice in the spirit in which it was offered."