‘Jeopardy!’ Fans Rip Show for Accepting Answer With Obvious Spelling Error

by Caitlin Berard

The long-running game show Jeopardy! stands as one of the most popular series on television, with millions of viewers tuning in each night to catch the newest episode. That doesn’t mean, however, that it isn’t without its fair share of faults.

Like any show with an extremely dedicated fanbase, the game show routinely enrages its fans with missteps. The only difference is in the stakes. When a mistake is made on Jeopardy!, it can cost a contestant thousands and even change the outcome of a game.

One such mistake occurred on Friday night’s episode. As always, three contestants battled for the chance to take home an enviable amount in winnings. These three contestants were Eleanor Dixon (game-winner), a freelance technical editor from Florida, Shayan Sadegh, a medical scribe from Maryland, and Dave Bzdak, a professor from New York.

As the game drew to a close, host Mayim Bialik read out the Final Jeopardy clue: “Mont Bellevue De L’inini is in the highest point in this European possession largely covered by the Amazon rainforest.”

All three contestants hurriedly wrote their responses, after which David was first to reveal his answer. Next to a scratched-out response, he wrote, “French Guyana.” David clearly knew what he was trying to say but spelled it incorrectly. To fans’ astonishment, Mayim Bialik immediately declared it correct.

Fans Respond to Acceptance of Incorrect Answer in Final Jeopardy

This time around, Jeopardy!‘s seemingly inconsistent rules didn’t make much difference. David’s fellow contestants gave correct responses as well, and he was unable to beat Eleanor Dixon.

For fans, however, the outcome of the game was irrelevant to the issue. And that issue is Jeopardy! often appears to play fast and loose with their rule book.

“David misspelled ‘Guiana’ in French Guiana, by replacing the ‘I’ with a ‘Y,'” one fan pointed out. “Guyana is a separate South American country located due west of Suriname which is located due west of French Guiana,” another explained.

To make matters worse, to find a contradicting conclusion, one only has to look back a few weeks. Last month, contestant Sadie Goldberger wrote “Harriet Tubma” rather than “Harriet Tubman” in her response.

“It looks like you were going for ‘Harriet Tubman’ but you did not finish, so, unfortunately, that is not going to be acceptable,” host Mayim Bialik said. Like David, Sadie obviously knew the correct answer. And one could argue that an incomplete response, especially one as close as Sadie’s, isn’t any different from a misspelling. How is Sadie’s one incorrect letter different from David’s?

Fans expressed exactly that following Sadie’s crushing defeat. “Sadie was flat-out robbed out of a win. I read it right away on the reveal as Harriet Tubman,” one fan wrote. “They’ve given credit for worse handwriting than that…I don’t see how they can judge that as incorrect so quickly,” another said.