Friday, October 9, 2015

Creepy good

Matt Jackson crushed two badly outclassed opponents today - one of them didn't even make it to Final Jeopardy - to win his 11th straight on Alex's venerable quizzer. Matt has drawn a lot of media hype, partly because he's so freakin' good and partly because of his creepy intros. The slow smile, the hand-counting of the wins, the eerie cool. It adds up to a genuine media shtick.

Matt also does the Forrest Bounce around the board, endlessly hunting the Daily Doubles. That habit got on viewers' nerves with Arthur Chu, the lovable (sarcasm alert) Jeopardy champ whose winning streak he tied today. But Matt doesn't seem to provoke the kind of vitriolic reaction Arthur inspired. Maybe it's because he appears almost otherworldly in his nerdy excellence, compared to Chu's kickass aggression.

I sort of figured that if anybody ever challenged Ken Jennings' record, the gifted contestant might come off as almost robotic. (I'm sticking to carbon-based life forms here. Sorry, IBM.) Matt may come closest to such a human Watson, with the macabre smile adding the final touch to his air of cybernetic supremacy. If HAL ever smiled, he would look like Matt.

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