what is the rhone?

Before I get into today’s thing, I must say that it was worth a shot. But, my mention of this blog on the film’s Wikipedia page has been removed—my blog, when it must be its own citation, is trivial and irrelevant. Gotta work on that.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me that I need to compile a list of the goofs I have discovered in the movie to add to the IMDb page once it updates with the changes I made yesterday.

But, neither of those things are what I want to talk about today. Nor do I want to talk about how The Groundhog Day Project’s Twitter got a retweet from a guy with nearly 10,000 followers last night and today The Groundhog Day Project has gotten more pageviews in a single day than ever before. No, today I want to talk about Jeopardy!

In the middle of Phil’s depression, he plays along with the show. It’s a part of the movie that should be memorable. Phil Connors hanging out with the mostly old crowd at the Cherry Street Inn.

The episode of Jeopardy! that we see is actually from 1991, Monday, 11 November to be specific. Show #1656 to be moreso. And, it was the first semifinal game of the Tournament of Champions. A nice website called J! Archive has that episode and many others logged in detail.

By the time we see it, the episode is just getting into the Double Jeopardy round. Leslie Frates is in the lead with $4300, Mark Pestronk is in second with $1900, and Jim Scott is in last with $1200. SPOILER ALERT: Jim goes on to win, but with only $1750 on the scoreboard… doesn’t seem like it would be a very exciting game.

The category is “Lakes & Rivers” and Jim, in last place, would have just called for the $200 clue.

Phil answers first with “What is Mexico?” He pronounces it Meh-hee-co, just like Leslie is about to.

Then, she asks for the $400 clue.

Phil answers “What are the Finger Lakes?” then so does Jim. We barely hear the next clue (and don’t see it) because of the awe of Phil’s audience. The clue:

This South American lake
drains into the smaller
Lake Poopo in Bolivia

Phil answers (followed by Jim), “What is Titicaca?

Here, the movie skips a clue, the fourth in the “Lakes & Rivers” category:

It's been estimated that
this lake in Siberia
contains as much water
as the Baltic Sea

So, Phil doesn’t get to answer, “What is Baikal?” In reality, Jim answered it, continuing his streak.

Then, he calls for the last clue in the category, which we hear but don’t see:

Milky-colored from glacial
clay when entering Lake
Geneva, this river is clear
blue upon exiting

Phil, of course, answers, “What is the Rhone?” And, he answers before the clue has even been finished, plus he’s not looking at the screen.

Florence Lancaster is, needless to say, a little freaked out. Then Phil has himself a drink.

A note before some brief commentary: in earlier versions of the script, the Jeopardy! bit was already a thing. Different questions, of course. Interestingly, one of the clues in Rubin’s original script was this:

“Jeopardy!” Home games are
made in New Brunswick on an
avenue named for this “trees”
poet born in New Brunswick

The answer Phil gives: “Joyce Kilmer.” Author and poem get namechecked in the final film as well, as I covered extensively a while ago. Phil doesn’t answer anything creepily ahead like he does in the film, though he does answer the last clue before it’s even asked (the same answer in Rubin’s and Ramis’ version—Count Basie—don’t know what the clue would be). Plus, he’s watching the show on a store-display TV in Rubin’s version, and “sitting in his bathrobe in a big lounge chair in the parlor of his hotel” (note yet the Cherry Street Inn) in Ramis’. In voiceover, he tells us, “Clearly, life had lost for me its sense of wonder.”

The use of a game show to demonstrate Phil’s knowledge (and the implicit time in the loop) is obvious but it works. And, given the presumably limited amount of television available (relative to today), game shows would be good to watch… I wonder if he could learn Spanish from some telenovelas every day. I imagine a time loop today with all the cable channels, and one could sit and watch a different station all day and not repeat material for months. And that’s just with normal cable packages. Back in 1993, though, stations were fewer. But, you supplement that with a good video rental place and you could avoid the cold weather for a long time.

Today’s reason to repeat a day forever: to avoid the cold for like a year, just to see if I can.


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