Silly as it might be, winning on Jeopardy! has become a shorthand in our cultural lexicon for proving oneself as an intelligent and knowledgeable citizen.
I am now, for instance, allowed to claim that I am smarter than anyone else in the world besides Ken Jennings, David Madden and maybe Brad Rutter because I’ve won more Jeopardy! episodes than they have. I take immense pleasure in this. Other people in my life take immense pleasure in pointing out Jeopardy! questions they knew the answer to that I didn’t, like the fact that Julia Louis-Dreyfus won an Emmy last year or anything about sports.
Thus, in Hollywood, pitting a stuck-up brainy hero—a much-loved character type—against that nightmare scenario, a Jeopardy! answer whose question just won’t come to mind, is a favorite way to take a nerd down a peg.