‘Celebrity Jeopardy!’: Love It or Hate It?

Mayim Bialik

Celebrity Jeopardy! premiered back on September 25 on ABC and so far has seen several famous faces step up to the podium to test their trivia skills (or lack thereof). But the fan reaction has been divided.

Hosted by Mayim Bialik (Call Me Kat), the celebrity spin-off series of the long-running game show airs on Sunday nights and sees three famous stars battling it out to move on in the tournament. So far, contestants have included The Afterparty star Ike Barinholtz, Fresh Off the Boat actress Constance Wu, comedian Reggie Watts, and ESPN sports analyst Jalen Rose.

The show has a more lighthearted approach than the fiercely competitive syndicated edition, and that’s an issue for some viewers.

“I love Jeopardy. I’ve watched it for decades religiously. Celebrity Jeopardy just annoys me to no end,” wrote one fan on the Jeopardy! Reddit forum. “I realize due to the fact that they are popular celebrities it’s going to be a more “casual” vibe. But I find it borderline unwatchable.”

“First the announcement of the categories and the gasps and comments made after each one. Like, shut up!” they continued. “And the faces they make. And commentary all throughout the game which isn’t even that funny or entertaining. They seem to all be trying to outdo each other.”

Others shared similar sentiments, with one Reddit user writing, “Agree – I don’t care for it, and also not a big fan of most “tournaments” (teen, college, teachers, etc). I like my J! in its purest form, along with TOC.”

Another viewer was more open to the celebrity edition but wasn’t happy with the difficulty of the questions. “I like CJ, but I don’t like that the questions are baby-level questions,” they wrote. “It shouldn’t be TOC level, but just like.. daily syndicated level questions, you know?”

“I agree with you. The only Celebrity Jeopardy I enjoyed was on SNL,” wrote another fan, referring to the classic Saturday Night Live parody.

“The clues are written for simpletons and the “celebrities” destroy any rhythm to the game,” added another. “I’ve abandoned Celebrity Jeopardy…it’s too harmful to my blood pressure.”

However, not everyone agreed, with many pointing out how Celebrity Jeopardy! appeals to a more casual audience.

“The diehards get their half hour every night. Those that want something slightly different get their Celebrity Jeopardy once every couple of years,” said one fan. “It’s not pre-empting daytime Jeopardy, so if traditional viewers don’t like it, they’re not being put out.”

Another commenter added, “That’s kind of the point. To have an easier vibe where the players can relax and enjoy themselves. I don’t watch unless someone I know is on it and I really enjoy seeing them in a more unscripted setting than a movie or tv show.”

Celebrity Jeopardy! Is a light-hearted charity event. It’s just celebrities having fun bringing awareness to and raising funds for their charity,” added another fan. “If you watch it with that mindset maybe it won’t annoy you as much.”

“I actually love Celebrity Jeopardy, my biggest complaint is that I wish they were slightly more famous,” said another.

“I think it’s helpful to keep in mind that the hardcore daily Jeopardy watcher is not the target market for this incarnation of Celebrity Jeopardy.…” explained one user. “The target market is the average network tv viewer who wants to see celebrities play a game show. So if you, a hardcore Jeopardy fan, doesn’t love it, that’s not surprising. It’s also not necessarily a bad thing. This may serve as a gateway drug to create some new hardcore Jeopardy fans.”

Another commenter wrote, “I just look at it as two different games. Syndicated Jeopardy is serious business. Celebrity Jeopardy is fun. Yes, it runs off the rails at times. Yes, the questions are easier. I’ve been impressed with a couple of the celebrities, it’s a fun hour, and Mayim has found her niche to be herself”

Do you enjoy Celebrity Jeopardy? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Celebrity Jeopardy!, Sundays, 8/7c, ABC