In September, Windham resident Jennifer Robinson crossed an item off her bucket list when she flew to California to appear on an episode of Jeopardy.
Robinson had auditioned for the show three times over the past several years. When the most recent opportunity to take the online test arose, she tried again, and made it to regional auditions once more. She was never called to appear the previous two times, but this time she didn’t have long to wait. Robinson attended the regional audition in Boston in June, and in August the call came in telling her she’d been selected as a contestant.
“I was stunned,” she said. She was on vacation at the time, in a hotel room in Presque Isle with her two sons. Seeing that the call originated in Culver City, CA, she knew it was the studio calling. Mindful of other hotel guests, she tried to keep her excitement in check, but after getting the details she said, “I got off the phone and started jumping up and down – I’m not too old to be doing that.”
In September, Robinson flew to California for the taping. She said she was more nervous about flying than anything else initially. She didn’t get nervous about the game until the actual taping began. “My knees started shaking and they really didn’t stop shaking until about halfway through double Jeopardy,” she said. Despite her nerves, she is pleased with her performance.
“It was a very great competitive game,” she said, with just a couple thousand dollars separating the contestants.
During her contestant interview, host Alex Trebek chose to ask her about her interest in the Civil War. Coincidentally, when the final Jeopardy category appeared, it was The Civil War.
“My first thought was I better get this right,” said Robinson who was in second place going into Final Jeopardy. She did, in fact, answer the question correctly. The other two contestants also came up with the correct answer, leaving Robinson in the second place position at the end of the game.
Robinson’s episode was scheduled to air on October 22, 2015. A viewing party was scheduled at Easy Day in South Portland, where Robinson bowls with group from Texas Instruments where she works. Four days before the party, Robinson’s mother passed away, and the event was cancelled.
Due to a glitch somewhere, the episode actually aired on Wednesday, October 21st. The family was at dinner when Robinson’s husband got an alert on his phone that the episode was on. Robinson said that since then, she’s learned that friends and family who happened upon the show tried to alert others. “There were some who missed it, and were very disappointed about missing it, unfortunately,” she said.
Robinson said the experience was amazing. Everyone connected to the show was friendly, helpful and genuinely interested in how the contestants did, she said. She’s glad she had the opportunity to step outside her comfort zone and appear on national television. “It was all the way around a fantastic experience,” she said.