So this is done.
On one hand I am happy I got to see some of my friends play again.
However I think ultimately this was a very unsatisfying experience.
One issue I have mentioned. I felt the questions were not obviously more difficult. For those of you who question that, just stroll through the UTOC questions one day.
This was especially true with FJ, and in that case it took some of the drama and variance out of the last two matches. No questions on “Crete” Garfield here!
I actually felt like some of the middle row questions were as difficult as the bottom row. So, with most players bouncing around, it took away any risk to that. Hop to the bottom all you want - you won’t be punished for it.
And then what winds up happening is that it becomes a race to find the daily doubles. The wild card and the finals in particular were deternined by the DDs.
That’s a crapshoot. Great for Brad, who only adds to his legacy, but Ken actually got more bottom row clues - but he didn’t get the DDs, and that was that.
Other issues I would note. I think some of the contestants looked less sharp early on and that’s because they did not have buzzer practice the day of.
It’s also tough to get a rhythm when you get tossed out there and have to play Ken, who remains preternatural at buzzing, and you don’t get another round to show that the light bulb has come on. And then people (like me) go online and say you did bad.
The format was also wordy to explain. It just felt a little odd and erratic at times, especially with the heavy amounts of filler up front. I felt they could have had MORE games, not less. So, not only was the food not great, but the portions were too small.
And it really teased you with some contestants. I would have liked to have seen Larissa more. Great that she did well, but we got just over an episode of her to see her do her thing. That’s unsatisfying, too.
I also felt the show was hamstrung by the need to highlight recent champs who are good, not great. Personally I would rather see a Jerome Vered or Leslie Shannon up there, and not Austin Rogers’ armpit fart routine. I know these folks still know their stuff - they showed it this weekend in Vegas, for example - and I feel that some of these champs might have put up a bit more of a fight. It’s weird to have a team tournament and you are wondering how some teams are specifically going to try to hide the deficiencies of some of the less strong players by sticking them in SJ or hoping they can pull off the FJ. A tournament of great players shouldn’t have to do that, right?
I’ve moaned for years, while waving folks off my lawn, that back in the day the champs were, more often than not, better. Certainly what we saw here did nothing to change that perception, as the more recent you were on the show, generally the less impressive you were. The ancients like Ken, Brad and Pam generally did quite well, and Larissa and Dave were also great. Matt Jackson was terrific, as was Alex, but neither of these great players were captains, which helped facilitate a draft process that led to the lopsided results seen over the past two weeks.
So, this was ok. Glad to see Brad and Ken still have it. But I feel this won’t and shouldn’t happen again.