I’ve been watching Wheel of Fortune this week. I’m not sure why. Probably because I’ve been watchin Jeopardy and just don’t move my ass for a the entire hour. This week has been college week on Wheel and the skills of the 20-something future Presidents of the United States is so depressing it’s not even funny.
On today’s show, a girl from the Airforce Academy had the following letters in the puzzle and approximately $12,000 to win. The clue is, “a place”.
Honestly, I would hope you would be able to solve this puzzle as-shown. The girl had a lot of money. The other contestants were hitting their head now because they didn’t see it earlier. She had the choice to spin or solve. She spins!?
With a look of complete bewilderment, Pat Sajak goes “Oh! She spins…OK” and she spins, thankfully she didn’t hit bankrupt. Now while it was a little, shall we say, “unsafe” to spin at that point with all that money on the line, I can go with a gambler’s spirit. If you know the letters – the consonants – you’re allowed to spin.
She spins. Gets $300 for the next letter she guesses correctly. And she picks the letter…K
And with yet another, even more-befuttled look on his face, Pat just shook his head and said, “sorry, there is no K”. Of course, it was hard to hear what he said over the groans from the audience, as absolutely no one – not even Vanna – can believe what they just heard. I won’t blame someone for being a bad speller, at least not for words like “acceptable” and “cemetery” – but really, “exclusive”, come on – I don’t believe anyone (well, so I thought) would try to spell it with a K.
As by the rules, she lost her turn and the next person solved for the win. In one single moment, what little faith I had in current sutdents and the future of our country went right out the window.
That particular puzzle of the show aside, watching a week’s worth of college kids trying to play Wheel has led us to come to the conclusion that people have forgotten how to play Wheel of Fortune.
Here’s a clue. The goal is to win money! Money, money, money!!
Buying vowels is not how you make money on Wheel. Why? Because you are buying vowels. It costs your possible winnings to buy a vowel. Consonants get you money.
The phrase “I’d like to buy a vowel” has become part of Americana and can be used in almost any situation if you’re witty enough or try too hard. Because of this, I think that when people get on the show they just want to say it and think it’s cool to say it, thus the point behind the concept has been lost. They forget that’s what you DON’T want to do on that game.
You don’t want to buy vowels! Buying a vowel, let alone multiple vowels, is what you do LAST when you have no clue what the answer is. No clue.
You also don’t buy any vowels if you know any consonant in the puzzle. For example
LEMON_ _E ST_N_
There is obviously an A missing from this puzzle. But it is also obviously missing D.
D is a consonant. A is a vowel. D is gets you money. A costs you money.
If this was your puzzle and you knew the answer, as you should, go ahead and spin, but for lord’s sake, you don’t buy a vowel. You pick a D and get your $400 dollars. Then you solve the puzzle, as at that point there would not be anymore consonants left.
Merv Griffin is a smart man. He made some of the best gameshows in the world (shy of TPIS, of course). They’re popular because they are simple and something everyone can play and win. But if you watched this week, you would have thought Wheel of Fortune was like taking the MCAT or something.
Honestly, are college kids really this stupid? I hate to rag on people, but good lord, I could have solved these puzzles in 4th grade. Afterall, Wheel is nothing more than Hangman with money.