[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the September 11 episode of Jeopardy!]
Jeopardy! returned for its 40th season with a Second Chance Tournament of Season 37 players — accountant Derek Allen, scriptwriter Gabriel Ostler, and operations manager Jill Tucker in the premiere — and with recycled clues and material written prior to the writers’ strike in May.
Host Ken Jennings, in his opening, did not directly acknowledge the strike, state of the clues right now, or the reasoning behind bringing back former players that showrunner Michael Davies shared on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast in August. (“I believe, principally that it would not be fair to have new contestants, making their first appearance on the Alex Trebek stage, doing it with non-original material or as we’ll talk about a combination of non-original material and material that was written pre-strike,” he said.)
There was a “World of Barbie” category, followed by “Kin,” after which Jennings quipped, “He’s just Kin,” a take on the tagline for the 2023 Barbie film. In fact, that movie was part of one of the clues in the former category, for $200: “In 2023 she & Ryan Gosling were the leads for a big screen live-action ‘Barbie’ adventure.” (The answer was Margot Robbie.)
After watching the episode, Jeopardy! viewers went on Reddit to discuss the possibility of reused clues in the Season 40 premiere. “Was clue recycling supposed to be started in this game, or some time later? I checked some clues, but didn’t find them in j-archive,” one user noted.
The consensus, after checking multiple clues, seems to be that the clues were ones written before the strike but not used already, especially the Barbie one and a video clue with Jenna Bush Hager (for $1000 in the Kin category), the latter being attributed to it possibly not being “uncovered when she did a category last season.”
One fan noted, “Some of the questions have been asked in the past in differently phrased ways, but that is like 50 questions per game under normal circumstances,” while a couple people wondered if the show is using questions written before the strike but never used before turning to recycling ones from previous games.
“I know the entirety of Celeb this year was written in advance, so I’m curious just how far the writers got ahead of the strike before any old clues need to be introduced,” another fan wrote.
Did you notice any recycled clues in the Season 40 premiere? Let us know in the comments below.
Jeopardy!, Weekdays, check local listings