A contestant on Jeopardy chose one of the oddest places to propose to his girlfriend – in the middle of an episode. The contestant, Michael Pascuzzi, got to pop the question alongside longtime Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.
Way back in 1964, Merv Griffin created the quiz competition show that tested contestants' general knowledge. The original version debuted on NBC, hosted by Art Fleming and with Don Pardo (Saturday Night Live) announcing. The modern, daily syndicated version of the show has been hosted by Alex Trebek with announcer Johnny Gilbert since September 10, 1984. Jeopardy has won over 30 Daytime Emmy Awards, aired over 7,000 episodes, and is – as of September of this year – headed into its 35th season. Needless to say, Merv Griffin's creation has left an indelible mark on American pop culture.
On Thursday, Jeopardy's official Twitter account tweeted a video of contestant Mark Pascuzzi proposing to his long-time girlfriend Maria Shafer. Trebek set Mark up, foregoing his general introductory remarks in lieu of the proposal. Maria responded emphatically from the audience, in the form of a question, no less. One half of the happy couple, Mark, went on to place second in the episode, though a fiancé doesn't seem too tragic a consolation prize. Mark tweeted a response to Jeopardy's tweet, requesting Trebek officiate the couple's wedding, while also including a link to a GoFundMe page. As an employee for Habitat For Humanity (Greater Orlando and Osceola County, Florida), Mark planned to donate 10 percent of his Jeopardy prize to the foundation, but is now accepting donations to reach a loftier goal: 10 percent of his final score of 19,980.
She even responded in the form of a question. They truly are a match made in heaven! 💍💕 pic.twitter.com/se12NVG4m8— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) September 27, 2018
Thirty-five years into its existence, Jeopardy is remaining relevant by heading into the streaming world on Hulu. Going the extra step to relate to a younger audience, an episode last year contained categories based solely on Rick and Morty jokes. Contestants faced the categories: "Show Me What You Got", "Keep Summer Safe", "My Man!'" and "& That's The Way The News Goes" because of a Jeopardy staff writer with a slight Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland obsession. Determined to remain popular, the quiz show is finding alternative ways to remain part of mainstream culture, and this public marriage proposal is no exception.
From being parodied on SNL to being recreated in other countries, Jeopardy has become an American staple that's impact resonates in more ways than one. Though the formula has remained the same, Trebek and his writers know how to remain fresh and exciting, and those are the true signs of a long-lasting series.