Last Night's Episode of Jeopardy! Made a Hot and Confused Man Named Tom a Star

Monday night’s episode of Jeopardy! was one for the books, a modern day proof of “age before beauty,” in which middle-aged nice-looking man named Sean went head-to-head with a younger hottie named Tom. Sean may have won the prize, but Tom—well, Tom won America’s hearts.


As The Cut points out, bartender/film production freelancer (“I want to direct eventually”) Tom Flynn is very handsome, but not very bright—at least, not compared to law professor Sean Anderson, who won $19,199 the previous day. As host Alex Trebek shared at the beginning of the episode, the show’s annual Tournament of Champions is forthcoming, and he went as far as to suggest that Tom and fellow contestant Beth Horn could also potentially join their ranks.

Alas, it was not to be. Before the first commercial break, Tom was in third, with only $400 to Sean’s $5,800. By the second commercial break, he was in second place, with $4,000, but visibly stressed. By the third, he’d mastered his patented squirm with the buzzer, and had earned double what Beth had, but was still thousands behind Sean, who had $23,000, which Trebek called “an unsurmountable lead.”


It was then that Tom made his real stamp on Jeopardy!. Unable to correctly identify the 1984 blockbuster that was the first music CD ever mass-produced in the United States (the answer is Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA), he wrote simply “What.” Not “?” or even “IDK” just “What.”

The audience really took to Tom’s honesty/face.


Enjoy your moment, Tom. And Sean, enjoy that money.

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Amy from Jeopardy

Fun fact: before Final Jeopardy, the producers make you write the first word of the question (always either who or what). No verb, because you don’t know if it’ll be singular or plural. The fact that Tom only had “what” written down means that he didn’t even bother with the verb—but he couldn’t have written absolutely nothing, because they check that you have your question word.

Also, Beth is my husband’s cousin, and I’m quite proud that she ended up in second place! (Now neither of us have to be jealous of the other for “doing better on Jeopardy.”)